Report: Ump Joe West Sues Ex-Met Paul Lo Duca Over Bribery Claims

Former Catcher Made Allegations On Podcast

Rob Lep
October 23, 2019 - 12:23 pm

It turns out the New York Mets managerial search isn’t the only news surrounding the team this offseason.

Listen to your team news NOW.

Major League Baseball umpire Joe West is suing former Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca for comments he made on a podcast back in May, USA Today reported.

Lo Duca is a four-time All-Star and spent two seasons in Flushing (2006-07). He currently serves as a horse racing analyst for the TVG Network and New York Racing Association.

On "The Favorites Podcast," from The Action Network, Lo Duca recalls a story back from when he was catching for former Mets closer Billy Wagner.

“We’re playing like a really tight game against the Phillies and Billy Wagner comes in from the bullpen,” Lo Duca said. “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 me? Joe hates me.’ He’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no. Joe loves me.’

The story goes on.

“I go, ‘He hasn’t given us the corner all day,'" Lo Duca said. "He’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ He literally throws 10 pitches and strikes out three guys. Joe rings up all three guys. Eight out of the nine pitches were at least three to four inches inside, not even close. Guys were throwing bats and everything. Joe walks off the field.”

Jake Roth / USA Today Sports

After the game, Lo Duca was stunned. He went to Wagner to try to get some answers.

“I get back into the clubhouse and I’m like, ‘What the (expletive) just happened just right now?’" Lo Duca said. "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.'”

West filed a lawsuit Tueday and refuted Lo Duca’s claims, USA Today reported.

"In reality, during 2006 and 2007, the two years that Lo Duca played for the New York Mets with Billy Wagner, Joe West was the home plate umpire for a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Mets only once, Billy Wagner did not pitch at all, and the game ended on a home run, not on called strikes," the complaint reportedly said.

Also in the podcast,  Lo Duca said that he had been ejected 15 times during his career and "eight or nine" of those occasions were with West as the umpire. According to the complaint from West, that was not the case.

"In reality, Lo Duca was ejected eight times in his Major League Baseball career and only once by Joe West."

Surely, this won't be the last we hear of this fascinating MLB story.