Joe West, MLBs longest tenured umpire of all time, has been part of Major League Baseball for 4 decades.
West, however, claims he recently received “unspecified damages” as former Major League All-Star Paul Lo Duca went “The Favorites Podcast” in May and said that West received bribes from Hall of Fame candidate closer Billy Wagner during a Mets and Phillies game in 2006 or 2007 (the only 2 seasons he caught Wagner).
“We’re playing a really tight game against the Phillies and Billy Wagner comes in from the bullpen. I used to go to the mound every time and like, ‘what’s 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? Joe hates me.’ ‘ 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. Eight out of nine pitches were at least three to four inches inside and not even close. Guys were throwing bats and everything. Joe walks off the field. O get to the clubhouse and I’m like ‘what the — just happened just now?’ And Wagner just winks at me. I’m like ‘what’s the secret?’ He’s like ‘Joe loves antique cars so every time he comes into town I lend him my ’57 Chevy so he can drive it around and he opens up the strike zone for me.’
Lo Duca, a 4x All Star for the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets and Nationals, also claimed that Joe West “hates him” and ejected him “probably 8 or 9 times for no reason.”
As for West, obviously bribery allegations are a big deal that could get an umpire in trouble for messing with the integrity of the game. Allegations like this could tarnish an otherwise spotless reputation that West has spent 40 years building up.
Unfortunately for Lo Duca, the evidence isn’t just non existent, but completely points out his ignorance.
He specifically pointed out the Mets were playing Philly. During Lo Duca’s 2 year tenure in Queens (2006 and 2007), Joe West was the home plate umpire for one game between the two teams. Billy Wagner did not pitch in the game.
Not only this, Lo Duca was ejected a grand total of eight times over his 11 year run in the Show—and only one time by Joe West. This was in 2003, his final full season in Los Angeles. That ejection is pictured, with then-Dodgers manager Jim Tracy getting pretty colorful as only the old school managers could.
Joe West is now suing Lo Duca for trying to ruin his reputation and putting his livelihood in jeopardy.
Pro Sports Extra will keep you up to date on this rather hilarious saga.
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