Joe West sets umpire record, is booed at Cardinals-White Sox game

CHICAGO – Ah, nothing like the life of an umpire.

Here is Joe West, on the greatest and emotional night of his career, breaking the all-time record with his 5,376th game as an umpire Tuesday, and the moment he steps onto the field before the St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago White Sox game, he’s lustily booed.

“Well, what did you expect?’’ says James Bond, his childhood friend from Greenville, North Carolina. “It’s emotional for all of us, but not for the fans or players.’’

The moment a video tribute ended at Guaranteed Rate Field, one teenager stood in the aisle and yelled: “Joe West! He’s the worst umpire I’ve ever seen.’’

Yep, just another testament to West’s longevity, and either his popularity or notoriety, depending on which way you choose to view it?

Umpire Joe West smiles before Tuesday's record-setting game.

LONESOME COWBOY:Joe West prepared to stand alone among umpires

“Can anyone else even name five umpires?’’ said Charlie Haje, West’s longtime friend who traveled from Destin, Florida. “How about three? Anyone besides Joe?

“He’s got to be the most famous umpire in history.”

Well, judging from the turnout for West, who can dare argue?

When you’ve got everyone from 14-time Grammy singer Emmylou Harris to Chicago Bears Super Bowl champion quarterback Jim McMahon to commissioner Rob Manfred and former commissioner Peter Ueberroth to the Famous San Diego Chicken on hand, you’ve been doing something right.

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