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Joe West Isn't Opting Out of MLB Season at Full Pay Because He Doesn't Believe in Coronavirus

Pirates Tigers Spring Baseball, Lakeland, USA - 10 Mar 2020 Carlos Osorio. Shutterstock Images.

Every baseball fan knows who Joe West is. For those who might not, he's probably the second-worst umpire in Major League Baseball and has skin about the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Because West was designated as high-risk for COVID-19 by Major League Baseball, he could have opted out of the season at full salary and benefits and not put himself at any unnecessary risk, which seems like a logical thing for anyone to do.

That is not what Joe West did.

The Athletic — “He said, ‘According to our doctors, you’re high-risk,’” recalled West, who lives in Clermont, Fl., about 22 miles west of Orlando. “I said, ‘Look, most of these people that they’re reporting are dying are not healthy to begin with. 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.’”

Put aside any political interpretations about how West simply doesn't believe in coronavirus and just focus on the fact that this guy can get the same amount of money to keep playing golf or go do a pretty demanding job where everyone dislikes him and he's choosing the latter. I guess you have to respect the hustle, but West is absolutely fumbling the bag here.

Supreme Court justices retire at full pay of their highest salary after 10 years and I've never understood why they keep going forever, either. Secure the bag and go enjoy retirement.

If we can't get rid of Joe West in a 60-game season with a pandemic going on, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to. We just have to hope Angel Hernandez doesn't have the same kind of career drive West does.