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Joe West Spending His Retirement Going To War With Wikipedia Editors

Joe West
Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's fair to wonder what makes a dickhead umpire who he is. Does he arrive at the profession already equipped with a bottomless need for conflict and attention, or is it the stresses of the job that turn him into the kind of guy who is always standing with his hands on his hips and saying things like, That's your first warning; there won't be a second? More research is needed, but thanks to retired umpire Joe West we are closer to having an answer to a related question: Does a dickhead umpire stop being one when he retires?

For West, the answer is no. That's because the big, sleepy grouch who terrorized MLB games for 46 years before retiring last year is now spending his time throwing fits over his Wikipedia page. Users of a baseball subreddit first noticed that a series of edits had been made to West's page by a user with the name Crewchief22. This user attempted to make several edits to the page, including a section describing an incident in which West had shoved manager Joe Torre in 1983. Those edits were subsequently rejected by Wikipedia editors for not being constructive. Crewchief22 then responded to a message from one of those editors about his edits being rejected with this doozy:

I constructively corrected the bullshit that was on this page... there was never a shoving match between Joe torre and West... I should know - I was there.

And the Federal Court order MLB to reinstate the umpires, just as I wrote.
If you aren't going to leave my page alone, please remove it completely.

I don't need anyone knowing anything about me ... and I certainly don't need anyone reading things that are not true. Either reinstate what I wrote or erase the entire page .... I'm tired of correcting your lies.

Crewchief22 then went on to make a legal threat against another Wikipedia editor, writing to them, "I need your name and address so I can give it to my lawyer when he files charges against Wikipedia. You are putting Wikipedia in a very compromising position." That threat got him banned from making any further edits.

So how do we know that Crewchief22 is actually Joe West, and not just the world's biggest Joe West superfan? Well, for one thing, nobody likes Joe West, and for another, West himself recently confirmed that he's been busily engaged in Wikipedia combat. That confirmation was obtained by our pals at FanGraphs, who called West and asked him to explain his deal. They included a bit of their conversation with him at the end of the most recent Effectively Wild podcast episode.

West's chat with co-host Ben Lindbergh starts out in the kind of drowsy register you'd expect, but as he makes his way through the list of things on his Wikipedia page that he finds objectionable, West starts to perk up a bit. He starts telling stories and jokes, and it sounds like he's enjoying himself. He's probably not having as much fun as he would be while standing chest-to-chest with a manager he's just enraged by blowing a call, but you take what thrills you can find in retirement.

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