I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Major League Baseball fans will be less than thrilled once they realize the most hated umpire ‘Joe West’ collected a handsome half a million pay-out from his defamation lawsuit this past April.
Curse him, shout profanities across the ballpark at him, disagree with his questionable decisions. Still, if you dare to discredit the long-standing umpire and question his credibility, you should be prepared to pay the price. Gladly, not all news around MLB related to Mr. West, you can stay updated for the upcoming events on MLB this season on Sportsbookreview and don’t miss over the latest picks. Of course, Joe loves the attention he is getting while sitting on a considerable sum of money he has walked away with.
West, a Major League Baseball senior umpire with a schedule this May that sees him surpass Hall of Famer Bill Klem for the most games umpired in history, was granted $500,000 with interest earlier in April by the New York Supreme Court in a defamation lawsuit filed against former MLB player Paul Lo Duca.
West sued Paul Lo Duca for defamation in 2019 when Lo Duca made an appearance on a podcast with his former New York Mets colleague reliever Billy Wagner, convinced West to allow him a larger strike zone letting him use his 1957 vintage Chevrolet car.
“We’re playing like a really tight game against the Phillies, and Billy Wagner comes in from the bullpen,” Lo Duca said on The Action Network in April 2019. “I used to go to the mound every time and like, ‘What is going on?’ and he’s like, ‘Hey, Joe’s behind the plate. Set up a couple more inches inside. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? Joe hates me. ‘He’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no. Joe loves me.’
“I go, ‘He hasn’t given us the corner all day.; He’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ He literally throws ten pitches and strikes out three guys. Joe rings up all three guys. Eight out of the nine pitchers were at least three to four inches inside, not even close. Guys were throwing bats and everything. Joe walks off the field…
“I get back into the clubhouse, and I’m like, ‘What the f*** just happened right now?’ And Wagner just winks at me. I’m like, ‘What’s the secret?’ He’s like, ‘Eh; Joe loves antique cars, so every time he comes into town, I lend him my ’57 Chevy so he can drive it around so then he opens up the strike zone for me.”
Joe West became infuriated at the comments, making it clear that the story was a complete fabrication of actual events, and then followed the lawsuit. West was backed up with records; he was the umpire on home-plate just one time when Wagner and Lo Duca played together in 2006/2007; besides, Wagner never pitched in the game.
West stated in the lawsuit that Lo Duca’s comments caused harm to his integrity and character, which could threaten his opportunity to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
As highlighted in the final decision, those lucky enough to enter the Hall of Fame can earn anywhere from $250,000 per year for purely speaking engagements and card shows alone.
West profoundly refused to give Wagner an enlarged strike zone and highlighted in court that he never gave a favourable decision to any player or MLB team. And despite West’s retractions on the situation, the Lo Duca story was promoted by several well-known publications.
“Given the widespread dissemination of the defamatory statement at issue here, the nature of the statement, and the legitimate anxiety that the plaintiff suffered in connection with the possibility that e will not be elected to the Hall of Fame because of the statement,” the judgement read, “the court concludes that the plaintiff Is entitled to an award of $250,000 for past mental anguish and emotional distress.”
To further line his pockets, the judge continued with West also being awarded another $250,00 to “compensate for expenses he will need to incur in retaining a public relations firm to formulate and operationalize a sufficient reputation remediation plan.”
Joe West did not comment on the trial, but West’s attorneys said he was delighted by the outcome and that Lo Duca was held accountable.
“As the most senior Major League umpire,” West’s attorney Kevin Murphy stated, “Mr West looks forward to focusing on the 2022 baseball season and breaking the record for the most games ever umpired by anyone in the history of Major League Baseball.”
If you are not familiar with the role of baseball umpires, it’s basically to call fair games and of course let the players do their part. Umpires are game-changers because they can influence games by ejecting relevant players or not paying attention to strikes. So, what about Joe?
Why is Joe so relevant in the MLB industry?
Joseph Henry West mostly known as “Cowboy Joe” or “Country Joe” comes from Asheville, North Carolina. He has been in this industry for more than 40 years and since his beginnings in the National League, he has always worn number 22. As the president of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association (MLBUA), he was one of the most important aspects in the negotiation of the largest umpiring contract in baseball history. Now as 66 years old in one of the major league’s senior umpire.
Just this season he started with 5,345 games umpired and it is now getting closer to his former colleague Bill Klem’s record. Now you can understand his legacy and the relevance of his trajectory.
As a funny note, that most people don’t know, he also describes himself as a songwriter and singer who has actually released country singles and albums and has been seen in comedy too.
So, what is coming up for this senior umpire? The future for him is still unknown, what we can confirm is that the judge said he is thinking of retiring the next season. Is it going to happen though, that is the main question but finally we will know soon?