Saturday, March 3: Colorado Rockies pitcher Alex White pulled over and charged with “extreme DUI” after recording a blood-alcohol content at 0.174 percent.
Thursday, March 22: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Bush hit a 72-year-old man on a motorcycle and then drove off. The victim, Tony Tufano, was seriously injured in the wreck, and Bush was charged with a DUI. He has been arrested twice previously for the same offense and had his license suspended, according to the Tampa Tribune.
Friday, March 23: Boston Red Sox pitcher Bobby Jenks was pulled over and cited for DUI at 3:43 a.m. when he was seen driving erratically, hitting two cars in the parking lot of a Fort Myers, Fla. strip club. According to the Toronto Sun, Jenks blamed “too many muscle relaxers.”
The rap sheet continues to grow, as does the problem itself — Major League Baseball has a major issue with their players driving drunk all over the state of Florida, and they need to get a grip on the issue.
For years, one of the biggest off-the-field problems with baseball players (if you’re not including steroids) has been players driving drunk, and to MLB’s credit, they have put programs in place to contain the problem. If any player has too much to drink and needs a ride, the franchise has designated a way to keep them out of trouble and get a free ride home. Any franchise. And any player.
So why is it so hard to call and ask for a ride?
The blame should definitely go to the players for acting like children when they should be adults, but I don’t think MLB should get off completely scot-free. How long does a player get suspended if they’re convicted of a DUI? Seriously, I’m asking — because I have no idea.
Whatever the punishment is, it’s not enough. People are getting hit by these drunk drivers, and it’s not OK.
It’s time for the league to take a stand.
And you can tell yourself, “That’s only three guys out of hundreds that attend Spring Training. It’s not that rampant.” But, in my opinion, one arrest is too many, and for some reason, players who get DUIs aren’t as publicized as those players who test positive for steroid use.
Maybe they should use the same penalties for a DUI arrest that they use for steroid users — get caught once, and you sit down for 50 games. Twice? 100 games. Three times? A lifetime ban.
Under that system, Matt Bush would be gone from baseball forever with this month’s DUI. I’d have no problem with this guy being cast from the game forever — he clearly has a problem and it needs attention. Throwing millions of dollars his way probably isn’t helping.
What Major League Baseball really needs is a Roger Goodell — a commissioner who will put policies in place that make players think twice about their actions before they take them. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has never been one to be the bad guy with players; after all, it took years for him to implement a serious steroid policy.
Maybe the next commissioner will do something about baseball’s problems. Until then, I’ll just have to pray that none of my friends who are Florida residents are on the same road as a drunk ballplayer.