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16th March 2018
Former New York Mets baseball player Lenny Dykstra has admitted that he used to hire private detectives to blackmail umpires into giving favourable decisions during his playing days. In a radio interview on a popular sports talk show in the United States, Dykstra said that he used the information provided by private investigators in the early nineties to boost his career and ensure that he got a new contract with another Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I said, ‘I need these umpires!’, so what do I do?,” said Dykstra on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “I just pulled USD$500,000 out and I hired a private investigation team. Their blood is just a red as ours. Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble, some of them do whatever.”
Dykstra was asked whether he had private investigators tracking umpires through his career or just a few years. In response, Dykstra said that he hired them “after I got the money … when I was trying to get the money,” adding, “It wasn’t a coincidence you think I led the league in walks the next few years was it?” A ‘walk’ or a ‘base on balls’ in baseball is when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls ‘balls’ (a pitch outside the strike zone which the bater doesn’t try and swing at), and is then entitled to reach first base without the possibility of being put out.
Denying that he directly bribed the umpires, Dykstra said that he “had to do what I had to do to win, and to support my family.”
In 2007 Dykstra was named in The Mitchell Report on steroid use in Major League Baseball, something to which he has already admitted to and on which he also talked about on the show. In 2012 Dykstra was sentenced to three years in a California state prison after pleading ‘no contest’ to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.
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