Umpire Joe West suspended by MLB for grabbing player’s jersey

Jonathan Papelbon, Joe West
Umpire Joe West grabs the jersey of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon after ejecting the closer during a game against the Miami Marlins Sept. 14.
(H. Rumph Jr. / Associated Press)

Suspend the ump?

Major League Baseball did just that on Wednesday, suspending umpire Joe West for one game without pay for “grabbing the jersey” of Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon on Sunday.

West ejected Papelbon on Sunday, after believing the closer had grabbed his crotch in an obscene gesture to fans. Papelbon, who got into a face-to-face argument with West, later said he was merely adjusting his athletics supporter. On Monday, however, the league suspended Papelbon for seven games.

“Joe West handled himself appropriately in ejecting Papelbon after the player’s lewd gesture to the fans,” MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said in a statement. “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.”

The league said West would serve his suspension Wednesday, when he was scheduled to work a game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter