For a year or two after he retired, Bob Ojeda traveled around to clubhouses during spring training to talk about the tragedy that he was involved in. For those who aren’t familiar, during the 1993 spring training there was a boating crash in Florida that killed fellow Indian pitchers Tim Crews (who was piloting the boat) and Steve Olin. Ojeda was the lone survivor.
Anyway, wonder if he still does that or if MLB would consider hiring him to talk to players during spring training. I remember a couple of young Giants in the mid-1990s said that it was a profoundly powerful PSA-type activity.
Thanks for making a real point out of this: I agree that the MLB should add some kind of enforcement. Although a criminal or civil fine might not be a big deal to some of these guys, compounding it by tacking on some MLB-imposed public service and some missed games & salary might make them think twice.
Twenty-five day suspension with no pay, doubling for each subsequent offense. The higher profile the star, the more intense the media scrutiny and hence the higher the punishment when putting a month’s pay on the line.
I would love to see the MLBPA try to argue against something like that.
Seriously, isn’t one of the benefits of a multi-million dollar salary that you can afford a cab?
MLB finds itself on a slippery slope with this sort of thing, unfortunately. If it has rules about drunk driving, should it also have rules about domestic violence, wreckless (sober) driving, and other harmful behaviors?
There may also be a union issue here.
I’m not defending the behavior, I just wonder if it is more complicated for MLB to step in here than it would at first seem.
(It’s almost juvenile to suggest it, but I bet posters in every locker room that say “Drunk? Call a cab. It’s best for you, it’s best for the team, it’s best for society” would have an effect. I know that sounds stupid, but 50 or 60 years ago, the slogan was “One for the road” instead of “Don’t drink and drive.” Sometimes just reminding people not to be dumb helps.)
I’m quite surprised that teams would not have 24-hour car service available to players in Spring Training and during the season. This is something that’s been available to all NFL players for some time, and I would imagine that if MLB teams don’t have this now, they will do so sharpish. The costs of DUI far outweigh the expense of having such services available. It won’t always stop a knuckle headed chump from getting behind the wheel while soused, but if it means a few less drunk drivers on the road then it’s more than worth it.
Talent usually buys players multiple chances to clean up their act, but Bush’s situation is different than the players listed above.
Which is yet another unfortunate aspect of this. One set of rules for the guys with higher potential on the field, and another for the lower tier guys.
People used their time allotted in the their day for sports, to agonize over Ryan Braun’s PED issue, for weeks. Something like this goes by and it’s just another news item or piece of trivia within a day or two.
I guarantee you the average fan will get way more worked up over Barry Bonds’ HOF chances than over the serious issues of substance abuse and domestic abuse in MLB. Until or unless that flips around – until you have fans actively turning away from the game in droves because of MLB’s attitude towards these topics – things won’t change.
Bush was a punk, and the Padres knew it, when they drafted him. (he is from San Diego after all) I don’t feel sorry for a guy that squanders an opportunity that most of the male population would give their right nut for.
Comment by Hurtlockertwo — March 23, 2012 @ 4:50 pm
At my work we pay a retainer for a private taxiing service that is available 24/7 for anyone who needs a ride because they are drunk. Every month a bill comes to my office without any names attached to it and we pay it off discretely. If an employee uses the service it simply says “service used on xx/xx/2012, $50” or whatever. It’s anonymous and respects everyone’s privacy so that if someone has too much to drink they can get a safe ride home without their name appearing on the bill.
I don’t care if my employees are out drinking, they are adults, but some of them would have to be terminated if they were convicted of a DUI or DWI. With the private car service we avoid DUI/DWI arrests and any drunk driving that doesn’t get caught either. And the service is easily worth it because the cost of one DUI and having to fire a longtime or valuable employee is hundreds of times more expensive than the yearly fee for the car service.
The thing that is bothersome to me is that MLB players, and other professional athletes, are worth millions of dollars per year and the teams could easily afford to pay to have a car company on standby for any players who need a ride. It’s really simple economics. The cost of a car service is only a few thousand dollars per year. The cost of keeping a car service on standby for the spring training months is a drop in the ocean for most team’s operating budgets.
MLB shouldn’t even have to mandate teams getting their own private car services. Teams should be doing it on their own for simple economic reasons.
Teams can be dumb like that for a local kid….they see $ signs from the local connection and fear the fan backlash for letting a local star get away….
The Lions KNEW Charles Rogers was a MAJOR EPIC pothead, and a borderline “special” person based on his Prop 48 status, his 8 score on the Wonderlic and generally his lack of ability to do anything like an adult but catch a football….they hired his college head coach to babysit him in the NFL….and he still smoked pot “errry day” as the Chuckster later admitted as a Lion. Meanwhile, Andre Johnson, taken one pick after, is the 2nd best WR in football (behind Calvin Johnson, also a Lion)
Smokey McDumbass is now broke despite collecting about $25m of his contract, owes the Lions $16million in court ordered recovery of his signing bonus(unique in sports history I think) that is literally up in smoke and never to be seen, and is still a drugged out retard literally living in his mom’s basement…
but at least he didn’t run over someone’s head with an SUV…..smh
Draft Character. Not Characters.
But as a Tiger fan visiting San Diego next month….Thanks for Verlander! :)
Not to exonerate Bush but be careful with your judgements. I joke around alot but seriously this young man is troubled. We simply assume he is out partying and throwing everything away. More often than not the drinking and self destructive behavior has nothing to do with taking dreams such as this for granted. As a man in recovery i can speak wisely about such things. In these cases whay the general public assumes to be a simple truth involves a much more complicated equation.
If they HAVE to be terminated I guess they aren’t your employees now are they?
Comment by marcoscutaro — March 24, 2012 @ 12:44 am
Yeah I don’t need or expect the general public to understand what it’s likeb. But I do want them to know it isn’t a matter of being “punk”. Numerous times I came “THIS FREAKIN” close to losing my wife and kids over drinking and drugs. I lost a baseball scholarship for two failed drug tests. IT wasn’t until a lot of therapy and finally getting prescriptions that worked to make life feel bearable that I beat it……kinda.
Alchohol and drug problems are almost always a symptom of other serious mental issues. If I had a dollar for every time someone made some assnine comment about “just think of your kids” or “just buckle down” I’d be loaded….with money….and probably dope too.
Anyway, it’s not so simple. Bush may very well be a total freakin douche, but his drinking issue is almost certainly unrelated to his douchiness. It’s just another contributing factor
Drunk driving is a serious issue, but I don’t think MLB handing out punishments would solve anything. When you drive drunk, you are drunk, things like punishments, is this the right thing to do, could I possibly hurt things aren’t considered. Prevention not punishment is a more proactive solution, offer driver services put posters up in locker rooms make it a peer pressure thing to not drink and drive. Perhaps have account a bill a buddies may help
Just for the record, San Diego was forced to draft Bush by ownership due to the PR boost from taking a local kid and the fact that they did not want to pay the high price Verlander wanted to sign. All the baseball ops people wanted Verlander.
Bullshit. DUI laws are too strict anyways. .08? Are you fucking kidding me? If you’ve had at least three beers in your life you should be able to handle yourself. If you can’t drive a car at .10 you’re a shitty fucking driver and you shouldn’t be driving at all. DUI Laws are what need reform, not MLB’s or the NFL’s policies in dealing with them. .15 was the line before in most states to where you’re too fucked up to drive, and at .15 I don’t give a shit how much you drink or who you are…you’re too shit hammered to drive. Perhaps, DUI laws should be stronger, when you’re over X amount it’s not a license suspension it’s automatic jail time. And .08 to .12 or so is merely a speeding ticket or not a crime at all.
DUI laws are an interesting kind of stupid, it’s like they’re too extreme yet not extreme enough at the same time. They’ll fuck you in the ass for just having one or two too many, but yet if you’re Matt Bush and almost kill a guy you’re out of jail later the next day. I mean one of these things is not like the other. If you’re dangerous on the road you should be punished, and that’s all there is to it. However, if it’s three in the morning out in the middle of fucking no where and you’ve had one or two too many then I don’t see why you have to go through miles of bullshit and get popped for 10K or so in fines and shit.
My Uncle’s a narcotics detective in Chicago, and most DUIs that he pulls over he’ll end up locking the idiot’s keys in his trunk, towing the car, and making him call a cap. That’ll set you back about three to four hundo in Chicago. I’d say that’s an acceptable penalty for having one or two too many.
It is not like he can’t afford a cab, he can afford a driver… The thing is he has no education, just like Dukes and Bradley, gangsters/scumbags with talent. Threatning their wives, assaulting pregnant teenagers, now leaving an old man for dead on the street? I don’t know how can the league allow criminals to continue persuing a baseball career.
note: Bush was sent to the same rehab center as Josh Hamilton, even the same room for 120 days. So much for motivation…
You said it, they are adults, the fact that they are worth millions has nothing to do with responsibility. The league or team should not babysit these idiots. This event was unfortunate because it involved an innocent old man, but if Bush would’ve crashed his car and bust his leg or something it would’ve been a well deserved learning lesson…
I hear you bpdelia. It’s a fine line. On one hand you want people to understand so they will stop calling you a douchebag. You want them to realize that despite how the behavior appears its really a backassward way of thinking which is more generous and empathetic than the general public will ever understand. On the other hand I would never wish the mental gymnastics and the hell it brings on, to anyone. Behavior defines everyone and that’s how it goes. But in the case of an addict it never reveals the true intentions of the man (or woman).
Shame on the Lions for having all that information (Especially the prop 48 status stuff) and giving him that contract. Then they have the odassity to come back and sue him for his signing bonus (look up Ricky Williams, not unprecedented). Sounds like the Lions fault to me.
Wait, so everyone should be capable of driving at .10 but no one is capable at .15? The point of having the low limit is to motivate people not to drink at all before driving, but to allow for one or two within a couple hours before. If you think you are a great driver after 3-4 drinks (.08 in most people), then I hope we are never on the same road.
I gotta tell you he was a moron but the whole suing him for the signing bonus really cheese me off. it is, of course a “signing” bonus. A bonus for signing.
In a league where contracts are barely guranteed. Where no one ever EVER gets the full amount that is reported at the time of the signing and where guys (even stars) are released at the drop of a hat, to then sue for a signing bonus because you made a horrible draft pick (again) seems piggish and disgusting
Towers and Chief Gayton (the scouting director at the time) have said that Jeff Niemann and Stephen Drew were the two choices that they went to mgmt. About. They weren’t impressed by Verlander’s college #s and wouldn’t have taken him 1-1.
And having your loved one killed by some one on muscle relaxers or any presription or not prescripton drug that impairs you driving as much if not more than alcohol would have no effect. Or some one texting, or eating a burrito. Its the fact he his someone not what ever dumb reason he hit them that is the problem. Why we just single out alcohol and not the hit and run is besides me.
Gambling doesn’t effect anyone negatively except the person gambling, and yet MLB won’t punish DUIs and spouse abusers, yeah I love baseball but F%^& you MLB!
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — March 25, 2012 @ 10:06 pm
Wes Walker is the second best WR in the NFL, but that’s a minor nitpick.
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — March 25, 2012 @ 10:09 pm
As somebody called it, it is a fine line. Now I truly wonder if an emphatic or a straight up apathy is better when drugs or drinking is the problem? Because although the emphatic approach is definitely the right choice, which would would actually get more people off drugs? To see a better light than constantly downing JD every night, or smoking a dime, or shooting up, or snorting, or _________, wouldn’t the negative view of society be a push for more than without? Or would the understanding of the masses be the cure (although Robert Smith suffered with heroin)? For a lot the empathy is working and there are drug counselors working hard to help people, a job that is vastly under appreciated, but it sounds like that empathy wasn’t your motivation above. Sounds like you needed rejection to find salvation, or its equivalent.
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — March 25, 2012 @ 10:19 pm
Unfortunately, I’ll never understand the desire to do any drug while losing the family I had, but I also would never condemn a man with a problem. It’s hard to give empathy when you hear of relapses and the things they do to get back into it, steal valuables and prostitution. However, the education and situation is possibly a lucky break for me and to find a solution for the problem for others would be the only. I have friends whom do ectasy, marijuana, and many more. For marijuana I just wish the frequency was less. Throwing up in the bathroom and becoming a dependent person is not healthy for me, nor for the individual, but other than apathy, how was I to handle that situation? I can’t go to college, work 30 hours a week, have a girlfriend, and increase the odds I will succeed in the world while also caring for a friend with a major problem, I would just like to know how could we possibly find a better solution? AA has been under attack for years because of its religious element, safe houses are constricting. How?
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — March 25, 2012 @ 10:29 pm
*However, the education and situation is possibly a lucky break for me and to find a solution for the problem for others would be the only way I could help.
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — March 25, 2012 @ 10:30 pm
MLB does have a program where the players can call a cab at any time and anywhere. Players just fail to use it
To be fair, cabs aren’t always safe either. If I recall correctly, Duaner Sanchez injured his shoulder in a cab accident and missed the rest of the 2006 season. The Mets are a laughingstock now, but in July 2006 they looked like they would be perennial contenders. Look at the domino effect from that accident: trading for Oliver Perez, signing him to an absurd extension, collapsing 2 years in a row with a bad bullpen, etc. Heck, if it weren’t for that cab, maybe Madoff wouldn’t have gotten caught! Teams need to be very careful when putting their players into cabs! :-P
“Teams can be dumb like that for a local kid….they see $ signs from the local connection and fear the fan backlash for letting a local star get away….”
It’s not just local talent, it is talent in general. Jamarcus Russell couldn’t stay in any type of shape when he was a senior and extremely motivated to stay in shape. What were the chances that he’d get a $20M check and then get in game shape? -0-. The Raiders drafted him anyway because they thought they were imbued with magical powers. Same as why Hendry signed Bradley. Boras was right when he said the biggest mistake GMs make is underestimating the character issue.
You are so right about Matt He was a wisemouth cocky Teenager at Mission Bay HS, he went and got arrested as soon as he had a signing bonus for the Padres in Yuma his last incident in El Cajon he was drunk and beat up some Teenagers in a park and then was Yelling ” Do You kow who I am?” Rich Parents spoiled Brat They wanted to blame the Padres for giving him too much money yet they demanded the bonus Padres have it even worse The Moron in the front Office that drafted Bush ( since fired) Passed on Jared Weaver and Verlander in the first round syaing Bushs arm was better and Weaver on a lower round saying his arm wasnt lively enough Hope they put Matt behind bars for a long time