The following contribution was sent in to TheXLog by a Cleveland, Ohio resident, Lawrence Aiello. Lawrence lost a son some time ago because of a drunk driver and is obviously upset over MLB’s apparent cavalier attitude toward this societal problem.
In 2007, St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock was killed in a car accident. It was found he’d been drinking after the game. So what has MLB and its member teams done to help prevent this problem from happening again? Well, as near as we can tell, teams have made a conscious effort to limit the amount of beer available to players and coaches after games.
I have a question. Why are teams furnishing any alcohol to players and coaches after games? Do players and coached have it in their contracts that they must have alcoholic beverages made available to them after games?
Monday, Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was arrested in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, after he failed a field sobriety test. The 28-year-old South Korean traveled to Oakland with the Indians and was in the starting lineup Tuesday night against the Oakland A’s! What the heck! What message does this send to other players and fans who look up to these MLB players? Especially the children.
So far this year we’ve already had six players, Austin Kearns, Kennedy, Miguel Cabrera, Coco Crisp, Derek Lowe and now Shin-Soo Choo all arrested for DUI and we are only 30 games into the season! At this pace we will have more than 32 guys arrested for driving under the influence and these are only the guys who are getting caught!
I completely understand that you can’t control what these guys do off the field, they are gown men (most of them anyway) with cash to burn and they are going to do what they are going to do. But do teams have to send players away from the stadium with alcohol already in them?
Ok, so he wasn’t belligerent and didn’t guzzle a bottle of James Buchanan’s Scotch whisky and then try to hit the officer with it like Miguel Cabrera did in spring training. Choo clearly was driving without all of his faculties though and someone could have gotten hurt.
Someone needs to come up with a zero tolerance policy. If the federal, state or local governments are not willing to do anything about this issue and are going to simply govern by punishing people after they kill or maim others, then a high profile entity like a professional baseball team or better yet, Major League Baseball needs to step up for society and set an example.
I don’t want to hear about the fact that this stuff has to be collectively bargained and all that nonsense. If Bud Selig can repossess the Los Angeles Dodgers because he doesn’t like the way Frank McCourt is running his team’s finances and that can be done under the “best interest in baseball” clause, then players convicted of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol should be suspended for an extended period of time without pay where they can sit and reflect upon their actions.
I was personally offended that the Cleveland Indians had this guy in the starting lineup the following night. He learned nothing from the five players who were caught DUI before him, and the next player isn’t going to learn anything either. Heck, they probably gave Choo a beer after the game.