Called At The Plate: Umpire Joe West Wins $500,000 Judgment Against Former Catcher Paul Lo Duca

We discussed that the defamation lawsuit brought by Major League Baseball Umpire Joe West against prior catcher Paul Lo Duca after Lo Duca indicated that West took loans using a popular car in exchange for a more generous strike zone. West has now won a major verdict in New York and $500,000 in damages. Because of a default judgment on liability, it had been the greatest”back door slider” But, damages wasn’t any”cookie” granted an interesting debate within the injury caused by West in trying entry to the Hall of Fame.
While West is frequently subject to criticism for his forecasts (including a few by your humble host), the court notes that he has a well-founded hope to be input into the hall of fame provided his lengthy record:

“As of the end of the 2020 season, the plaintiff had umpired in 5,345 Major League Baseball games, exceeded only by the mythical umpire Bill Klem, who had umpired in 5,375 games, and was the first umpire to be thrown in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. In the right time of the inquest, the plaintiff has been on track to crack Klem’s document throughout the 2021 period. The plaintiff evinced a strong desire to be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, an honor previously bestowed upon just 10 umpires.”

Throwing calls for a car loan is clearly detrimental to any effort to add West into the Hall of Fame (though it might get him honored from the Chevrolet Hall of Fame). West especially noted that he didn’t want to combine”Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, and Barry Bonds as baseball pariahs.
The controversy started with a podcast. 
“He literally throws 10 punches and strikes three guys; Joe rings up each of three guys; eight out of the two sticks were at least 3 to 4 inches inside, not even near. Guys were throwing bats and everything, Joe walks off the field. We get back in the clubhouse, and I’m like,’What the f–k just occurred just right now?’ And Wagner just winks at me, I’m like,’What is the secret?’ He is like,’Eh, Joe enjoys antique cars, so each time he comes from city, I lend him his’57 Chevy therefore he will drive it around, so then he opens up the strike zone for me. ”’
He remembered Wagner telling him”Joe enjoys antique cars so each time he comes into town I lend him his own ’57 Chevy therefore he could drive it around so then he opens up the strike zone for me.”
West specifically denies he ever borrowed the car. In addition, his criticism states”In reality, throughout 2006 and 2007, both years that Lo Duca played for the New York Mets using Billy Wagner, Joe West has been the home plate umpire for a match between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Mets just once, Billy Wagner didn’t pitch in any way, and the match ended on a home run, not on called strikes”
Previously, I noticed “If true, that might be a major problem. Even if Wagner was lying, it may still be defamation for repeating the lie”  The court noted that Wagner filed an affidavit”in which he basically denied the dialogue described by Lo Duca had ever occurred.” (The court chosen to not think about the affidavit in the settlement stage following rejecting testimony by affidavit). It seems that Lo Duca didn’t contest liability and a default judgment was entered on July 8, 2020.
The opinion includes evaluation of the impact of the story on West’s potential earnings and contains this interesting account of exactly what umpires Can Make about the speaking circuit:
“[West] credibly stated that many speakers in these occasions make in the array of $2,500 to $7,000 per appearance, however Hall of Famers would likely earn between $15,000 and $20,000 each appearance.
Among the more interesting facets of the opinion was that half of the award encompassed”expenses he will have to incur in retaining a public relations firm to formulate and operationalize a sufficient reputation remediation plan.”  The court really rejects the Vital claim the damages must include lack of chance or position in seeking entry into the Hall of Fame:

“Even though the court might tend to credit the plaintiff’s and Carroll’s testimony as to the differential between the plaintiff’s post-retirement earning ability for a Hall of Famer and as a non-Hall of Famer, there is just no proof that the plaintiff will not be elected to the Hall of Fame or his election will be delayed due to the defamation. The only evidence he presented in this respect were that the inadmissible hearsay declarations of a sports representative and a former player, who only expressed their opinion that the plaintiff should worry about election. It’s purely speculative as to whether the plaintiff may or will not be elected to the Hall of Fame and, if so, when. Baseball lovers notoriously speculate all of the time around which players will and will not be elected, or if shouldn’t be elected, to the University of Fame. Even a foritori, it isn’t proper for a court to base its award of damages on comparable speculation regarding whether the plaintiff will likely probably be elected to the Hall of Fame in the earliest possible date following to his retirement as an umpire.”

So with the default option you could call this type of”meatball” pitch that leads to a more”single-eye single” 

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