When it comes down to it, professional baseball players are just like everyone else. They have family and friends they enjoy spending time with. They have hobbies and interests they take pleasure in doing. But they also have personal issues and vices like everyone else as well. The only difference is that their every move, good or bad, is put out there for everyone to see. This makes it imperative for them to be extra careful not to make poor decisions when it involves something that could potentially put themselves or their team in a bad position.
You would think these guys would know better than to knowingly put themselves in a situation where they could get in trouble with the law. But judging from the past five months or so, they don’t. There have been six major league baseball players arrested for DUI since January, which has become somewhat of a cause of concern among their individual organizations and baseball as a whole. The first incident came in January when Seattle infielder Adam Kennedy was taken into custody on a DUI charge in Newport Beach, Calif. Then an array of arrests came during spring training when Cleveland outfielder Austin Kearns, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp were all taken in on DUI charges.
Another wave of arrests came in late April when Atlanta pitcher Derek Lowe was pulled over for DUI, reckless driving and improper lane change. Four days later, Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was pulled over and failed a sobriety test after he registered a blood alcohol content of 0.201, which is more than two times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Now, I’m not sure if this sort of behavior is becoming a problem in major league baseball or it it’s just a wave of bad luck for the players involved. What I do know is that these guys should know better than to put themselves in these kinds of situations.
I understand that there are many players out there that like to crack open an ice cold beer or indulge in a cocktail when they get home from playing a long, hard-fought game. And I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is when guys think they can drive to the bar, get drunk to the point they can’t function properly and try to drive home. That’s careless for anyone to do, let alone a professional baseball player. But the problem is some of these guys think they can do whatever they want and they won’t get in trouble for it. The sad thing is that in a way, they’re right.
Granted, they may get a few days in jail or be put on some type of probation, but they don’t get in nearly enough trouble as you or I would get in for committing the same crime. And honestly, that’s not what bothers me the most about this whole situation. What bothers me is that when these guys engage in these careless acts, they don’t think about how many people’s lives they could hurt in the process. They don’t think about what would happen if they swerved across the double yellow lines a little too far one time and hit another car head-on with a man and his pregnant wife in it. They don’t think about how many lives they could ruin as a result of their ignorance and stupidity.
Now, I know that most people reading this article have been guilty of having a few beers and driving because it’s almost impossible to avoid. Everyone has done it, just not everyone has gotten caught. But the difference between normal people and professional baseball players is that baseball players make enough money to where they can afford to be driven virtually everywhere. I’m not saying every player should have their own personal limo, but how hard is it to call a cab to take you to and from your destination when you know you’re going to be drinking? It’s a no-brainer to me. Why risk getting arrested for drinking and driving and hurting your own or someone else’s life? Why risk being absolutely bombarded by every media outlet and having to explain to your fans why you stupidly decided to get behind the wheel after having one too many drinks?
The bottom line is that all these guys are adults. They should be mature enough to make their own decisions and understand that they need to be extra careful because they are always in the spotlight. Furthermore, they are role models for kids who don’t think of them as normal people, but as heroes. These guys need to realize they have a gift and they need to start using their gift as an influential tool for teaching children to do the right thing instead of using it as a free pass to do whatever the hell they want.
Submitted by Steve Giles