Yankees: Joe West Claims Coronavirus is a Hoax and Will Ump in 2020
By Jerry Trotta
Veteran umpire Joe West claimed to be a coronavirus skeptic in the same interview where he confirmed that he will work the 2020 MLB season.
For any Yankees fans wondering if they would be deprived of the umpiring antics of Joe West this upcoming season, well, don’t. Major League Baseball recently determined the 67-year-old to be at high risk for the coronavirus, and, even though he could opt out with full pay, West is choosing to ump in 2020.
In other words, West is going to eject New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone at least once or twice this year.
What prompted Country Joe’s decision? His latest clean bill of health from doctors AND that he’s an adamant skeptic of COVID-19.
“I said, ‘Look, most of these people that they’re reporting are dying are not healthy to begin with,’ ” West told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “I’ve lost 25 pounds over the winter. I’m playing golf every day in the heat. I’m fine. I’m not going to back down now.”
“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus. I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths. I said, ‘I’m not going to opt out. I’m going to work. And I’m going to work until you take me off the field or I get hurt, whatever. I’m working.’ ”
That quote is precisely the moxie that has made West a “fan favorite” among baseball fans. What also played a role in his decision to umpire amid COVID-19? He reportedly wants to set the all-time record for games worked. Entering 2020, West is 65 games behind Bill Klem’s record, so, if he works the entire season this year, he could reach that mark early on in 2021.
West making headlines with outlandish comments must mean that baseball is right around the corner, and that feels great to say.