Paul Lo Duca caught for the Dodgers from 1998 to 2004 and while he has not been in the news for quite some time, that has changed with recent developments.
According to TMZ, Lo Duca is being sued by infamous MLB umpire Joe West. West’s primary claim is that Lo Duca lied about him and his supposed ‘opening of the strike zone’ for former Mets’ closer Billy Wagner.
Umpire Sues Paul Lo Duca For Claiming He Took Bribes from Mets Pitcher Billy Wagner https://t.co/AvFp6Nlq5d
— TMZ (@TMZ) October 22, 2019
This is a pretty crazy development as accusations of this nature are pretty rare, especially ones that involve players that have played for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to the report, Lo Duca made claims on an Action Network podcast that West took bribes from Billy Wagner in an effort to get a bigger strike zone for himself.
This is what caught the attention of umpire Joe West:
“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.”
Paul Lo Duca said on the podcast that that is what Billy Wagner told him about Joe West. There was even supposedly a wink involved. However, West begs to differ.
West also has facts to prove Lo Duca’s statements untrue. Lo Duca claimed West tossed him on more than one occasion, but he only did once. When checking back on the records, West was only the home plate umpire for one game between the Mets and Phillies — Wagner did not pitch at all. Therefore, West has grounds to sue Lo Duca and The Action Network for defamation, which he is.
Lo Duca had his best season with the Dodgers in 2001, when he accumulated 5.1 WAR, .320 batting average, and .917 on-base plus slugging. He played 11 big league seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins, and Mets.