Spring training DUIs

They are almost as popular as spring training elbow injuries. This spring Alex White, Matt Bush, and Bobby Jenks have all been arrested and charged with at least drinking while driving.
{exp:list_maker}Alex White—Extreme DUI, twice the legal limit
Matt Bush—Injury to man on motorcycle.
Bobby Jenks—Hit a parked car. {/exp:list_maker}
Now, I am not here to preach about driving while under the influence. Where the question lies is who should be responsible for putting things in place to stop it.

All major league teams, reportedly, will provide transportation for the players, several practically begging the players to call the team if they need a ride. I question whether baseball can do more than that. I don’t see Bud Selig and the owners imposing some conduct policy on the players. That’s not just because the players union will rightfully be against it. The league and the owners know that imposing a conduct policy on the players would only bring resistance and resentment from the players. They can just look toward the NFL and see the reactions to the personal conduct policy imposed by the commissioner.

MLB has learned that this type of issue should be addressed by the players association. It only makes sense. The employer—here the team—will provide a ride. The MLBPA needs to start working with the players, and if needed, recommending enhancements to the collective bargaining agreement to include punishment for this type of conduct. In the end, it is the players who look bad, not baseball.

This is a real test for the MLBPA. The spring training DUI issue gives the union a chance to address an issue for the league. Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have grown to be fairly cooperative in recent years, to the benefit of baseball. I wonder if the union now is willing to take steps to address an issue before an event happens that forces the league to step in.

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The Bat
The Bat

As an Indians fan, I should think you would (painfully) recall one of the worst drunk driving incidents in Spring Training history. Forget all the names, but remember when a couple pitchers were killed in a drunken boating incident in Florida?

Mat Kovach
Mat Kovach

Steve Olin, Tim Crews, and Bob Ojeda. That one is a special case because Tim Crews had a home near Winter Haven, FL where the Indians trained.

It was an off day and Crews had a barbecue. Later the three of them went out on the lake at night and hit a dock, killing Crews and Olin.

Crews was drunk and while this was a tragedy this is really a different issue, at least in terms of the union being involved.