Wednesday, September 17, 2014

'Cowboy Joe' penalized by MLB for Papelbon flap

New York, NY -- Major League Baseball umpire Joe West has been suspended for one game without pay for grabbing the jersey of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon during Sunday's game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

During an argument, which saw Papelbon in the face of West and screaming, West grabbed Papelbon's jersey and pushed him away. West then walked away.

"Joe West handled himself appropriately in ejecting Papelbon after the player's lewd gesture to the fans," said MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre. "I fully understand that Joe was reacting to a player who was acting aggressively, and can understand his frustration with the situation. However, Joe knows that an umpire cannot initiate physical contact with a player just as a player cannot initiate physical contact with an umpire. I spoke to Joe about the incident, and he admitted that there was a better way to handle the situation. I consider this matter closed."

West will serve the suspension Wednesday night instead of working his assigned game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

The often-combative 62-year-old arbiter, who somehow survived retribution for the mass resignations Richie Phillips masterminded as a negotiating ploy back in 1999, is no stranger to physical altercations. He was involved in a shoving match with then-Braves manager Joe Torre in 1983, for which he was suspended for three days and fined. 

Sunday's incident wasn't the first time West and a Phillies pitcher met in close quarters. In August of 1990 at Shea Stadium, the corpulent chief threw Dennis Cook to the ground in his efforts to keep peace in a brawl between Philly and the New York Mets. 
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