Joe West Awarded Half a Million Dollars in Defamation Lawsuit About a Generous Strike Zone

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Joe West Awarded Half a Million Dollars in Defamation Lawsuit About a Generous Strike Zone

Chicago Cubs

You may want to call out infamous MLB umpire Joe West for his poor calls and his look-at-me approach to managing a game. But definitely don’t disparage his honesty or integrity in making his calls, because he takes that stuff seriously.

Like, half a million dollars seriously.

A couple years ago, former New York Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca told a story on a podcast that suggested West had effectively accepted a bribe from Billy Wagner to give him a bigger strike zone in a given game. Lo Duca might’ve been confused or was just puffing, but West took the claim very seriously and sued Lo Duca for defamation. The problem for Lo Duca? West was behind the plate only once in a Mets game when both Lo Duca and Wagner were on the team. And Wagner never pitched in that game.

Thus, West won his lawsuit (USA Today), and was awarded $500,000 as compensation. The court accepted West’s argument that if the wider public believed Lo Duca’s story, it would hurt West’s chances of, among other things, being elected to the Hall of Fame, which would cost him a whole lot of future dollars. I know we all have jokes we want to insert about West making the Hall of Fame, but his longevity could get him there: he’s going to break the MLB career record for most games umpired later this year.

So, like I said: grouse about West’s calls, his demeanor, and whatever that arm band thing was. But don’t say he doesn’t believe the calls he’s making or the ump show’ing he does. It’s all truly and honestly Joe West.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.