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Delmon Young gets a suspension. DUI guys: nothin’

Apr 30, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers  Photo Day Getty Images

In the wake of the news that Delmon Young is getting a suspension for his adventures in New York over the weekend, I have to ask why him and why now?

Not that his behavior wasn’t awful.  According to the charges he was drunk and disorderly and assaulted someone and then used ethnic slurs that reflect awfully on him and, by extension, on the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball. That’s bad and probably does deserve discipline from his team and/or the league. I’m actually glad he’s getting it.

But why does Delmon Young get a suspension for walking around drunk and acting like an ass when no players have ever been suspended for driving around drunk and putting people’s lives in danger?

Baseball has had a rash of DUIs in recent years. From the top — future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa — to the bottom.  Broadcasters. Coaches. Players. Team executives. All-Stars and scrubs.  There have been two high-profile deaths due to drunk driving too: Josh Hancock, who killed himself while driving drunk, and Nick Adenhart, killed by another, along with two of his friends. Yet despite this, baseball never doles out discipline in these cases.

Why is this? Why start with Delmon Young?

One reason, I suspect, is that most ballplayer DUIs don’t end up splashed across the front page of the New York Post like Young’s did.  Baseball has always seemed to react to bad behavior in direct proportion to how much publicity it gets, and my gut tells me that that is the case here.  Player DUIs usually get picked up by one local player, create a quick blip and the fade.  Not so with Young.  If Young has a bad night in Minneapolis, it makes the police blotter column for a single day and similarly goes away is anyone talking about this?

But maybe I’m just being cynical. Maybe this is the beginning of a new discipline regime designed to stamp out what seems like a growing number of alcohol-related incidents involving ballplayers.  If so — if the answer to “why Delmon, why now” is “you have to start somewhere” — I applaud baseball for finally stepping up.

But if that’s the case I will also expect to see similar discipline come the next time a ballplayer gets a DUI.  Because people watch these things, Mr. Selig. At least some of us do.

  1. gosport474 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Apparently there is still a segment of our population that still doesn’t take drunk driving seriously, and MLB brass is among them.

    • pharmerbrown - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      I don’t recall any reports that he was driving. Just standing around drunk and being an asshat. An anti-semitic asshat. Which has to bring some more weight to the situation.

      • drewsylvania - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        Need to read the article.

      • pharmerbrown - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        read the article, and about 200 more from NY Post, Daily, ESPN, and the legitimate sports news sources. Not a single one said Delmon was drunk driving, just that he was drunk. I was pointing to the hypocrisy or double standard of allowing DUI players off with nothing while a drunk standing player (legal to this point, assuming he is over 21 and not on parole/ probation) spouting anti-semitism gets suspended by the league.

        your snark is appreciated, though. i’d bet his car was most likely not in NYC.

      • rpb1234 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        The point of the article was that MLB SHOULD crack down on those that are driving drunk and endangering lives. It never says that he was drunk driving. It is merely comparing the severity of the incident vs others where players/coaches have been arrested for drunk driving.

      • drewsylvania - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        rpb1234 is correct. Not snarking at all. You’re tempting to me to start, though.

    • danandcasey - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      One would think that after what happened to Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, DUIs would be taken seriously by MLB (not that I am saying it should take a tragedy to take this issue seriously, but Adenhart’s death rocked MLB at the time).

      • sabatimus - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        That’s the unfortunate way it usually works though–a tragedy forcing a change in rules or laws. Like when the AHL mandated face shields after a member of the Portland Pirates lost all vision in one of his eyes due to be hit in the face with the puck. Maybe Selig’s rationale (as stupid as it sounds) was that it wasn’t an MLB player that was drunk driving in the Adenhart case, so there’s no need to look at possible punishments in future incidents.

        Perhaps Selig is waiting until Donte Stallworth switches sports.

  2. sictransitchris - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I bet Selig will chalk it up to the good ‘ol human element.

  3. sabatimus - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Given Selig’s record, it has nothing to do with the DUI, and everything to do with the ethnic slurs. Anybody remember Marge Schott?

  4. randygnyc - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Roger McDowell is the precedent here. But, I’m sure the fact that he had to be hospitalized because he drank too much before taken to jail could be a contributing factor.

  5. larrytsg - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Isn’t this the same Delmon Young who threw a bat at an umpire? I don’t think this is his first visit to StupidTown……

  6. eshine76 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Definitely the slurs. Brett Myers assaulted his wife in the streets of Boston late one night. Nothing happened. Sure she dropped the charges, but that doesn’t mean the bruises on her face magically disappeared.

    Kudos on the “human element” comment.

  7. chill1184 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    It’s another example on how MLB is incredibly hypocritical in it’s various polices.

  8. bbk1000 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Without knowing who wrote this article I was thinking it was Craig….and I was right….

    • pauleee - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      Not a fan of Craig’s writing? Don’t read it, certainly DO NOT comment on it and GTFO.

      • Charles Gates - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        There’s nothing wrong with dissension. Pauleee, I disagree with the ‘do not commen’t part of your response. As long as it’s done in a way that adds positively to the discourse, any and all view points are welcome in my book–even those heavy handed in snark. Especially those actually. But to bbk1000 specifically, he/she added nothing to the conversation and I feel a little dirty semi-responding to it.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:50 PM

      Uh, you’re all assuming bbk1000 meant to be derogatory by writing that. It could just as easily have been normal snark or something benign.

    • bbk1000 - May 1, 2012 at 7:00 AM

      “There have been two high-profile deaths due to drunk driving too: Josh Hancock, who killed himself while driving drunk, and Nick Adenhart, killed by another, along with two of his friends. Yet despite this, baseball never doles out discipline in these cases.”

      This is what he writes above. What discipline is baseball to hand out in these cases? Hancock was drunk, driving, and is now dead.

      Adenhart is not only dead he was an innocent passenger in a car hit by a career DWI guy.

      When I saw the headline I had a feeling who would write it and I knew something ridiculous would be included in the article and it was, that’s all I meant.

      • Craig Calcaterra - May 1, 2012 at 8:37 AM

        How is that ridiculous, exactly? Two baseball players have been killed due to drunk driving in the past five years. Wouldn’t that perhaps make Major League Baseball appreciate that drunk driving is sort of serious?

        Or did you actually think I was suggesting that MLB should discipline dead people?

  9. meteor32 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    While I agree with your point about MLB responding mainly to press, you obviously have no idea how little news actually happens in this town if you think that kind of night that Delmon had would only be in police blotter column for one day and gone. I’ve seen lead in stories about graffiti on park steps and sidewalks here in Minneapolis.

  10. drewsylvania - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Miggy Cabrera’s DUI at the beginning of last season was huge news, thanks to the grinning face in the mug shot and the classic “Do you know who I am??”

    He got nothing.

    I hope this suspension is part of a new standard they’re setting. Otherwise it’s just pandering.

    • kinggw - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Its the latter.

    • cbass76 - May 1, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      There is a misnomer about what Miguel said that night. All the snarky radio heads jumped on the statement framed like you stated it, but thats not what he said. What he said was “You don’t know who I am” in statement form. Which when combined with the pleas to the cops to just go ahead and shoot him shows classic signs of manic depression. Shocking, I know, that an individual with alcohol issues may be suffering from depression, but it is an important aspect to note in my opinion. It shows the humanity that all people have to face in one form or another as compared to self-important asshats.

  11. jimbo1949 - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    When your major sponsors are Bud & Coors, in addition to local brewers and distillers sponsoring the RSNs, why would you think that MLB wouldn’t like to bury DUIs. No harm, no foul and boys will be boys being the prevailing attitudes. And how many fans drive home from the game while impaired from those $10 beers? It’s bad for business.
    On the other hand those ethnic slurs can kill innocent bystanders and ruin your life.

  12. kpow55 - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    It’s an image issue.

    Not excusing so don’t go ballistic but…… everyone either has or knows someone who has driven “buzzed”, drunk, etc…

    Not everyone is or knows a bigot

    • js20011041 - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      But I thought only white people were bigoted.

      You’re right about it being an image problem and that’s the problem. People like Delmon Young, John Rocker, and Ozzie Guillen all did something that is essentially harmless. No lives were put at stake and aside from Young’s assault, there were no victims. MLB only cares if it hurts their bottom line. Of course it’s always been that way. Morality has no place when money is at stake.

      • js20011041 - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        I want to clarify that my statement about white people was not directed at kpow55, but as more of a statement about the media in general.

  13. astrosfan75956 - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    2 words Hate Crime

  14. randygnyc - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Ding ding- astrofan got it correct.

    This event Happens because one of the victims was visibly Jewish (wearing Yarmulke and Jewish star). It begins and ends with this fact.

  15. tgthree - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    My guess is that the apparent inconsistency of punishment arises from the fact that Young’s infraction occurred when he was on a road trip WITH his team AT the team hotel. I’m betting this opens him up to greater penalties than guys that are out partying and driving drunk on their own time.

    I’m not justifying the inconsistency, just pointing out why it might not be so inconsistent as it seems at first blush.

  16. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    When I was in the military a lot of guys got slaps on the wrist for public intoxication, drinking under age, fighting drunk, etc. The one thing you didn’t do was get popped for a DUI. The first sergeant is your best friend when you mess up, but not even they have any sympathy if you endanger the lives of others. Pretty shocking to see people with millions of reasons to just call a cab are held to a lower standard then enlisted soldiers stuck drinking themselves penniless in backwater Mississippi.

  17. drewsylvania - May 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Oviedo just got eight weeks. #hypocrisy

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