Right Field

Drinking and Driving? Who Cares? Play Ball!

Two days after being arrested on a drinking-under-the-influence charge, Yovani Gallardo is slated to take the mound this afternoon for the Brewers when they host the Giants.

After pointing out that MLB has disciplined players for transgressions that are not directly baseball-related — for example, remember Delmon Young? — Craig Calcaterra of NBC’s Hardball Talk wonders when the owners and the union will wise up and discipline players who put their fellow citizens’ lives in jeopardy:

It doesn’t have to be this way. If Major League Baseball and the MLBPA felt that players driving drunk was as serious as, say, smoking a J in your apartment, they could agree that players would be subject to suspension or some other form of discipline. It wouldn’t even take that long to do. There may be a bit of haggling over when you suspend someone – right after the incident or right after they’re convicted? – but that could be easily handled and negotiated. It’s not the 1980s anymore. The league and the union are frighteningly cooperative and efficient when they want to be these days.

They have no desire to, however. Perhaps because baseball has always tolerated alcohol abuse more than it tolerates anything. Perhaps because there are still, to this day, fans who feel like Gallardo pitching poorly of late is way more offensive than Gallardo driving drunk.  But the fact that the first and seemingly only question that is asked is whether Drunk Driving Player X is able to play in the next possible game, it shows that they simply don’t care.

More here.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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