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Counterpoint: Let the courts handle the DUI discipline

May 3, 2011, 5:40 PM EDT

jail cell

I’m quite sure MLB would be in the business of punishing players accused of DUIs if the MLBPA didn’t stand in the way. But I hardly see how that would be for the best. When Shin-Soo Choo gets busted for driving drunk, that’s not a baseball matter. We have police departments, lawyers and court cases to deal Mr. Choo’s stupidity and reckless behavior. I don’t want Bud Selig putting himself into the middle of it. If Choo drove with a blood-alcohol content at more than twice the legal limit, my feeling is that he deserves some time behind bars and a lengthy license suspension. But I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to show up to work the next day and go about his business as usual while waiting for judgment.

And as a baseball fan, I don’t like the idea of my team being punished because of a player’s actions off the field. It’d surely hurt Choo to be suspended without pay for 10 days, but it’d probably hurt the Indians more, even working under the assumption that they’d be allowed to replace him on the roster (when players are suspended as a result of on-field actions, they can’t be replaced). Maybe a lesser suspension then? That would only serve to trivialize the charge. The NBA suspends drunk drivers for two games. Does anyone think that’s all a DUI deserves? A slap on the wrist for making the league look bad?

Some are complaining about how Choo will play a day after his charge while Ozzie Guillen gets two games off for tweeting after an ejection. It’s easy: one’s a baseball issue, one isn’t. Maybe MLB will eventually gain the right to dole out punishment for DUIs, but I’d much rather see them focusing on on-field issues than trying to dispense justice for incidents taking place away from the ballpark.

  1. clydeserra - May 3, 2011 at 5:42 PM


    • halladaysbicepts - May 3, 2011 at 11:44 PM

      Utley’s Hair and cur68, I’m stating this right now….I’m a pie guy.

      • cur68 - May 4, 2011 at 1:51 AM

        halladaysbicepts: re.prefering pie; color me unsurprised. However if you are a pie guy then you are now our mortal enemy. Please make sure you announce your allegiances to El Bravo and Jonny 5. I for one will welcome you into the misguided ranks of pie eaters.

        U’s Hair: 😉

      • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        Halladay, you are entitled to your crack induced opinion, no matter how wrong it is. 😛

  2. trevorb06 - May 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    ‘And as a baseball fan, I don’t like the idea of my team being punished because of a player’s actions off the field.’
    -Yeah, if this were the case the Mainers would be screwed with Milton Bradley… wait what? Oh yeah they’re the Mariners, it wouldn’t make a difference. Go on.

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    It’s called a deterrent. Football players won’t dogfight on the side b/c, A, they’ll go to jail, and B, they’ll jeopardize their livelihood. I have more to say but I’m going home so screw you guys.

    • mkd - May 3, 2011 at 6:32 PM

      Jeopardize what now? They’re turning Michael Vick into a goddamn hero and dog fighting is significantly more heinous crime than drunk driving. One involves making a poor decision and POTENTIALLY putting people at risk. The other involves murdering animals for profit. One means your stupid the other means you’re a sociopath.

      • riverace19 - May 3, 2011 at 6:48 PM

        I don’t think Vick is a hero at all. He’s a convicted felon playing football. Let’s all remember that he went to jail and did his time, lost his contract with the Falcons, and when he came back it was ONLY the Philadelphia Eagles willing to take a chance. Who is it that considers Vick a hero exactly? Vick is a good story because he came back from his mistakes to make something out of himself.
        Every MLB player arrested for DUI also has that same chance. They should never go unpunished however, or that behavior will continue.

      • Utley's Hair - May 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

        First, you don’t POTENTIALLY put people at risk. You either do or you don’t. You’re either at risk or you’re not. Drunk drivers put people at risk. End of story.

        Second, Michael Vick is NOT a hero, and I don’t see anybody making one out of him. He’s a guy who did his time, which was ordered by the courts. He got out. He lost a good bit of his playing window while behind bars. He lost endorsements and his contract, ergo, his job and his livelihood. He lost millions of dollars. He is entitled to make a living, and if that is playing football, than so be it.

        Do I like dog fighting? Absolutely not. Do I like people tying one on, and then strapping themselves in—or not—to a car and driving? Hell no. Do I see one as more dangerous than the other? Yes. DUIs kill people and put the driver and others at risk.

      • cur68 - May 3, 2011 at 7:37 PM

        UH: @ the risk of seeming like us cake eaters never disagree I’m going to say you’ve exactly laid lout my views on Vick and my views on drunk driving.

        Now, in order to even out this business of being too agreeable I just want to point out that Roberto Luongo, the Canuck’s goalie, who plays tonight against the Nashville Predators, has a WAY better slick-back than does your boy Chase Utley. I defy you to disagree. So there.

      • Utley's Hair - May 3, 2011 at 7:48 PM

        Seisenta y ocho, that’s pre-coiffe-terous. Damn, did I just write that? And click post?

      • cur68 - May 3, 2011 at 7:57 PM

        Is not pre… Its true. Slick with curls at the end, shiny, smooth and delightful to behold. Way better hair. If they win the cup I’m changing my handle to “Luongo’s Hair” just to spite you.

      • Utley's Hair - May 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

        Well, I heard that he likes pie. So there.

      • cur68 - May 3, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        PIE??!! How dare you! He’s a cake man all the way. Not just any cake. Cheesecake. Chase Utley is not only a pie lover he uses pie ingredients in his hair. Shortening. Which is in pie crust. Bobby Lu uses only whale oil in his.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 3, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        Utley’s Hair,

        Pie=being humble? Just a guess. Please elaborate…

      • cur68 - May 3, 2011 at 8:23 PM

        Well, since you asked, I believe Chase ultimately wants to become pie. As such he uses some pie ingredients in his coiffure in an effort to become what he craves. Not unlike gothy type people will try to look as dark and demonic as possible in an effort to seem more ‘touched by dark forces’. As dark & demonic as a 13 year old boy with black nail polish, lipstick, eyeshadow, white pancake makeup, zit cream, and safety pin piercings can look, that is. I didn’t say this stuff makes sense, you know.

      • Utley's Hair - May 3, 2011 at 10:44 PM

        Halladay, it’s an HBT civil war involving several posters that evolved from a post on a slow news day last summer—I think. The gist was a pie vs. cake competition. Cur68, yankeesfanlen and I say cake is better, Jason ‘El Bravo’ Heyward and Jonny 5 say pie wins—and they’re on crack, obviously.

        This war is an underlying theme that emerges just about every week in various posts. When asked his opinion in a post a few months back, Craig chimed in at one point with an (I’ll say) offensive [action verb expletive] cake, whereas we all know that you only do that to pie. Of course, he was almost immediately taken to task by somebody—I’m not sure of the offended interloper’s identity—who was not happy with the use of an expletive by the writer of HBT.

        Yesterday, heyblueyoustink chimed in that he was partial to ice cream, so the battle seems to be evolving even more.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 4, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        1. mk to-the-mohta-f’ing-d! I must respectfully disagree. If a person is run over and killed by a drunk driver, it is worse than running a dog-fighting ring and the drunk driver should be punished more severely. There are circumstances for which this may be the opposite, but I’m simply tired of folks on here downplaying drunk driving (not you). Most people on here know someone who was killed by a drunk driver (I do) and it makes me sick that folks can’t take it seriously, just like these 6 or 7 MLB’ers that have been arrested this year. Just wait until the next one when the player ends up with a manslaughter charge and the MLB will start paying attention.

        2. UH, I applaud your summary of the cake v. pie debate. Well don.

        3. F@ck cake. Pie 4 Life.

      • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        Well done? Are we talking steak now? Mmmm…steeeeaaaak…

  4. heynerdlinger - May 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    This is a reasonable argument, but remember too that the Indians (and every team in MLB, for that matter) also use their players as marketing tools for the team and the league in general. This is a key difference from most people, whose employers do not depend on the public perception of their employees to sell their product.

    To the extent that players are held up as role models in this capacity, it’s also logical to impose some degree of punishment on both the player and the team for this behavior.

  5. largebill - May 3, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    On the principle of the matter, I agree with you. As a military retiree, it bugged me how we would subject people to double jeopardy (I’ll take punished twice for same offense, for $600 Alex). A DUI out in town will result in civilian punishment and non-judicial punishment (Article 15) on the ship. In most cases it will also result in an Administrative Discharge meaning a guy could have 17 years in towards qualifying for a partial pension at 20 and because he blew a .09 he walks away empty handed. To me that seemed excessive. However, I can understand any organization, especially one that relies on good public relations like MLB, feeling a need to take some symbolic action to demonstrate their displeasure with an employees actions which could reflect poorly on baseball. It does seem like baseball has had quite a few DUI’s in the last year or so. Could be more drinking or it could just be more enforcement or just dumb luck. If Choo knew the area better and took back road he’d never have been caught.

  6. riverace19 - May 3, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Matthew, you are wrong. It’s very much a baseball matter. Professional athletes are held to a different, higher set of standards becasue of who they are and the attention they receive. It’s not okay in numerous employment settings to get a DUI and baseball should be included in that list.
    If Selig wants to let these overgrown kids drive drunk, with no discipline, then something really awful WILL happen when someone dies at the hands (or front bumper) of a MLB player who cannot be responsible for himself.
    I also pose you this question: the average MLB salary is over $3 million. Wouldn’t you hire a driver or take a freaking cab to avoid any problem in the first place?
    Baseball players are public figures and tasked with setting good examples for our youth. If they don’t want that job then they can find a different profession, but you cannot separate the two.

  7. halladaysbicepts - May 3, 2011 at 6:38 PM


    I agree with you 100%. Craig wrote the other counterpoint to your argument in his thread (he thinks MLB should get involved with stricter discipline). I commented my opinion, which basically states what you are saying on his blog. He replied to me that it was the dumbest comment he ever heard.

    Hmmmm… interesting.

    • jamie54 - May 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM

      Right you are, sir. Craig did indeed state that so therefore his fellow blogger here Matthew should also share that judgement, or is that different and if so, why?

    • cur68 - May 3, 2011 at 7:19 PM

      halladaysbicepts; I think if you’d gone with your last comment on Craig’s post instead of what you initially said, you’d probably have a case for being dumped on. But your original comment was not at all of the same tone with what Matthew writes here.

      The trouble is the “sweeping under the rug” comment.

      The encore of “demonized to the point that they treat you like you killed someone” made it worse.

      Of course leading with ” It really was no big deal, unless you killed someone” didn’t help.

      Not to mention “I’m more upset when a player gets caught taking PEDs than this because it affects the game that I love to watch.” makes it look like you value baseball over the safety of innocent people.

      Matthew pretty much lays out what I think you meant (or now say you meant; whatever) in this post. This is by far a better choice of words and a better set of reasons than “they’ve always ignored it before” & “PEDS is worse than DWI”. Those are not reasons. One’s a damning indictment and the other’s an opinion.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 3, 2011 at 7:29 PM

        You’re really looking too much into this. It’s a BLOG, not a legal section of some dissertation. DUI’s, however serious they are, happen all the time. The law will take care of the punishment. However, people want MLB to further penalize this beyond what the law prescribes. Why? To make people feel better about watching baseball? No. They do it for public perception and nothing more.

        I’m a baseball fan. PED’s are more damning to the sport that I watch then a DUI that was committed on the players off time. Now, if the player shows up to a game drunk, then I would take issue with that. I know many people, including myself, that had a DUI once in our lives and made a mistake. But, I don’t demonize them for it.

      • cur68 - May 3, 2011 at 7:53 PM

        I agree. A blog. By that token if you say what you initially said in the other post it’s understandable (to me at any rate) that others will say something to you about it. I’m just trying to explain why you got jumped all over.

        IMO almost no one would use the choice of words and phrases you put out there and expect anything other than the outrage you got. They seemed designed to create a furor. I genuinely feel you are not trolling for a reaction and you are now perplexed at how you were addressed about your initial comments. My reply to you here was to explain that to you, not provide stylistic critique.

        One thing I had to get used to when I started commenting here was how vehemently people could disagree with me over very small things. Once I got used to the notion that was going to happen I got a lot more relaxed about criticism but more careful about how I say what I say. And if you think this is bad, wait’ll you screw up a stat. You better have a thick skin when that happens man.

    • ditto65 - May 3, 2011 at 9:10 PM

      You might want to place Mathew’s post next to yours and compare – hardly the same post.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

        You may want to learn how to read contextual clues. If you read the underlining thing I wrote (MLB should not be involved), you would get it.

        Do you have a rebuttal or are you just making a blanket statement with no comparisons?

  8. halladaysbicepts - May 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM


    I appreciate the critique. I like to throw a little edge in my comments to have a fun. I don’t know why people take it personal. We should have fun on blogs. That’s why we are here. I enjoy the discussion, even when it’s dissenting. I’m no troll. Just like to promote a little discussion.

    Thanks again.

  9. Kevin S. - May 4, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    Any normal company retains the right to discipline its employees for legal infractions, including DUIs, and that’s without said employee’s public image being an important part of the company’s operations. While I do feel some sort of sentencing guidelines should be collectively bargained with MLBPA, Selig absolutely should have the power to discipline players for driving while intoxicated. And yeah, this is a far greater issue than whether or not somebody might have shot up some PE(maybe)Ds.

    • Kevin S. - May 4, 2011 at 12:33 AM

      Oh, and somewhat incredibly, given how much time I spend on these boards, I’ve never chimed in on the cake-vs.-pie debate, so here goes: Pie owns all cakes, except cheesecake, which we get anyways since, as El Bravo astutely noted, it’s actually a pie, only some cake-eating cretins effed up the proper nomenclature centuries ago. Oh, and nothing goes better with ice cream than warm apple pie.

      • cur68 - May 4, 2011 at 1:53 AM

        Kevin; you are on crack. That is all.

      • Kevin S. - May 4, 2011 at 2:22 AM

        Crack isn’t as good as pie, but it beats the shit out of cake.

      • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM

        Kevin, everybody knows sh!t isn’t in cake. That’s why they call them cow pies. Duh.

  10. perrywhite01 - May 4, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    “Auto Insurance Clearance” will give you a break if you buy two or more types of insurance. You may also get a reduction if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company.

  11. ptho16 - May 4, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    Choo made one bad decision, if you’re going to suspend him for extended time, what about repeat offenders like Miguel Cabrera who should have been in jail for 60 days instead of in spring training.

    • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Considering just about all of these actions and policy changes being considered here are forward facing, I’m not sure I understand your comment.

    • Kevin S. - May 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM

      But yes, under the new regime, Miggy’s ass would be hauled before a tribunal.

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