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Former No. 1 pick Matt Bush will be in prison until 2016

Dec 19, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

Matt Bush mugshot

Matt Bush pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with serious bodily injury following a spring training DUI arrest for hitting a 72-year-old motorcyclist in Florida and when it came time for sentencing yesterday the former No. 1 overall pick opted for extra prison time.

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that prosecutors gave Bush the choice of taking three years in prison and seven years probation or four years in prison and no probation. He took the longer prison sentence, with his attorney explaining that getting out earlier to be on probation would have been a “disaster waiting to happen” for Bush considering his lengthy history of alcohol-related problems.

He’s already spent nine months in prison, so the time served was factored into the sentencing and Bush will be in prison for another three years and three months. And because it was the 27-year-old’s third DUI his license has been revoked for 10 years.

Smith writes that the 72-year-man Bush hit “is on pain medication, sleeps a lot, and has trouble remembering things” nine months after the incident, which caused a broken bone in his back, broken ribs, and brain hemorrhaging. The man’s family is upset that Bush will not have to be on probation once he’s out of prison in 2016 and has filed a $5 million civil lawsuit against him.

Bush was drafted first overall by the Padres out of high school in 2004 and signed for a $3.15 million bonus. He was in spring training camp with the Rays at the time of the arrest and was released by the team in October.

  1. Old Gator - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I really feel too badly for the guy this moron hit to worry about what a complete waste he’s made of his own life. Will he be any smarter when he’s thirty? I don’t think so. He sounds hard-wired to raise hell and lose.

  2. yankeepunk3000 - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    tall about ruining your life…oh well enjoy prison son! hope you run into thors dodger fans in there HA

  3. 13arod - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    why did he choose the longer sentance

    • tampajoey - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      Do you want us to read the article to you?

    • Ralph - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      He took the longer prison sentence, with his attorney explaining that getting out earlier to be on probation would have been a “disaster waiting to happen” for Bush considering his lengthy history of alcohol-related problems.

      Reading comprehension isn’t one of your strong points, huh?

      • hockeyflow33 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:52 AM

        Apparently, neither is his spelling

    • pjmitch - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      ARod fan. What do you expect…….

      He doesn’t want probation after he gets out. That way when he screws up again, he hasn’t violated his probation. Got it?

    • bigmeechy74 - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      Lol!!! Nice trolling dude. No way you are truly that dumb

    • jackdaniels1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:51 PM

      Give 13arod a break, who the hell would be stupid enough to take a longer prison sentence, unless you’re Matt Bush and can’t “trust yourself” LOL. How the hell does #1 overall talent turn into TV show Intervention material. Next thing you know he’ll be homeless and pan handling for $5 to buy the cheapest bottle of vodka he can get his hands on

      • badintent - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM

        Can ya buy JD for $5 for a pint ?Just saying…………………………..

  4. raysfan1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    13arod–He chose a longer jail term but shorter sentence, ie no probation after his release.

    I feel bad for the victim’s family, but they will never collect $5M because does not and will not have it. Zero sympathy for him when he goes bankrupt when they get everything except his house if he has one.

    • danrizzle - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      Not sure how this works in FL, but the victim will likely get the max payout on Bush’s insurance policy.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      The lawsuit isn’t there so much to get a 5 mil payday, it’s to put a hefty debt on the defendant that will likely garnish his wages for the rest of his life. It’s also to protect against a criminal say, writing a book and profiting off the crime.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:14 PM

        Good point

      • badintent - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM

        And the ESPN 30 for 30 $$ and resulting speaking engagements.

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:34 AM

        Usually an insurance policy will not pay if at the time of the accident, the driver is in violation of a law, such as DUI.

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM

        They might get part of his bonus. But in most of these cases, the person will declare bankruptcy and away goes the lawsuit and its demands. His lawyer gets first dips as the lawsuit has to be decided.

    • indaburg - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      The family is also suing Brandon Guyer (OF) for another $5 million. Brandon Guyer loaned Matt Bush the vehicle that Bush used as a potentially deadly weapon.

      • snowbirdgothic - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        Last I heard, Guyer was claiming that A)Bush took the vehicle without permission and B)he did not know that Bush had a suspended license. To be continued…

      • frombalttosf - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        And this is what’s wrong with the system today. Let’s stop suing everyone. Sue Bush and be done with it.

      • indaburg - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        I see what you’re saying, but if Guyer gave his vehicle to Bush knowing that Bush’s license was suspended for priors, he has some responsibility in this too. Then again, if he is telling the truth and Bush took the vehicle without permission, I don’t see how Guyer is at fault.

  5. number42is1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    “…with his attorney explaining that getting out earlier to be on probation would have been a “disaster waiting to happen” for Bush considering his lengthy history of alcohol-related problems.”


    “Your Honor,
    My client is a low life and he will continue to be a low life in 3 years and 3 months from now. therefore we ask for the longer prison sentence so that when he does screw up again it does not violate his probation. “

    • pjmarn6 - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:38 AM

      You forget that probably, he will only serve 1/3 of the sentence getting time off for good behavior etc.

  6. digbysellers - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush.

    • digbysellers - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      C’mon people, that’s gold!

  7. Old Gator - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Ackcherley the no probation deal is a wash. He’s getting credit for nine months served so he’ll really only serve three years and change anyway. Why not pick the four years (which is really three years under this setup) and no probation, or the three years with the seven year tail? This was a no-brainer, even for an idiot. It smells funny that this judge would even agree to such an offer.

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Technically the 9 months would have counted against a 3 year sentence, so he would have spent 2 years and 3 months and then 7 on probation, but yeah for him it’s better to stay in prison an extra year.

    • nolanwiffle - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      “He’s getting credit for nine months served so he’ll really only serve three years and change anyway.”

      With all due respect, that comment makes no sense whatsoever. Time served is just that…..he’s been behind bars for nine months already. So he’ll serve the entire four year term that was sentenced.

    • badintent - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:08 AM

      Bush for python bait ?

  8. sportsdrenched - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    John Grisham clicked on this story as research for his next novel.

  9. echech88 - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    What a loser.

    10 years is not long enough of a suspension on his license. How about “indefinitely” until he can prove without question he has changed his life?

    • geoknows - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      License suspensions are moot anyway, and one of the stupidest penalties levied for driving infractions. People who do this sort of stuff have no compunction about driving without a license, and often do so without impunity.

  10. deathmonkey41 - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    They have softball in prison anyway.

  11. drose72 - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM


  12. pinkfloydprism - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    “Look at me, I am a former number 1 draft pick. I have millions! I can do what I want!”

    Well, not anymore…so have fun with that… Loser!

  13. shanabartels - Dec 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Matt Bush, Brien Taylor, very nearly Josh Hamilton… of course for all these first overall draft picks that derail their lives, there are many more who handle themselves just fine. I’m not suggesting that MLB should hire babysitters for adults. But maybe if those guys had gotten some more guidance, they wouldn’t have thrown away their lives and all that potential. (And yeah, just because Josh Hamilton ultimately did make it to the bigs and got the MVP an all that doesn’t negate the fact that he could have died of an overdose or one of his various suicide attempts and he’s just lucky he didn’t. Not to mention the fact that he has relapsed before and he may very well relapse again.)

    I have no pity for Matt Bush. I feel really bad that the man he hit will probably never be able to ride his motorcycle or have a decent quality of life again. And that is exactly why civil suits exist — for pain and suffering. I hope the court awards him something substantial for his trouble.

    • badintent - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:12 AM

      After the first arrest, he should have be told to take mandatory AA classes or rehab or both by the players Union ! But the union is only interested in their dues $$$. What do you expect, they had Fehr as their fearless leader for so many years.

      • hockeyflow33 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:56 AM

        The union isn’t there to act as a babysitter

      • badintent - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        They should be.90% of their membership is made up of overgrown children.
        Why should taxpayers have to spend $40K/yr to put this loser in jail with free meals, medical and internet ?

      • shanabartels - Dec 26, 2012 at 12:48 AM

        Some people go to many rehabs and it still doesn’t stick. My late grandfather was one of them. It’s still worth giving it a fighting chance, of course… but it’s not magic.

      • badintent - Dec 26, 2012 at 2:32 AM


        I heard that .You right, doesn’t work for everyone My dad owned a liquor story and sent some of his own customers to AA, they later came back to thank him after they got cleanup.I own a bar biz, and I do the same thing.Happy Holidays and please drink carefully.

  14. pellypell - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM


  15. twinsapologist - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I look forward to his epic and inspiring comeback in 2017.

  16. wintwins - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Just a reminder that a drug’s legality and exclusion from MLB’s substance abuse policy has no bearing on whether or not it can destroy one’s career and/or life.

  17. Stiller43 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:02 PM


    He means starting from this point, its only 3 yrs and 3 months…and the short one would be 2 yrs and 3 months with all the extra probation time…

  18. mybrunoblog - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Well, the prison baseball team just got a lot better.

  19. seanb20124 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    If had taken 7 years probation, would that translate into 7 years jail if he violated the probation?

  20. kappy32 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” – Lorenzo Anello (Robert DiNero), A Bronx Tale.

  21. kappy32 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:47 PM


    No, not necessarily. Probation is different that parole. With parole, a defendant is released from prison before his prison sentence expires or is given a determined period of time of “post supervised release” once he is released from prison. If the defendant violates parole, he returns to prison for the remainder of his original sentence or for the remaining period of “post release supervision.” On the other hand, probation is far less strict. Probation is considered an “incarceration alternative” & requires you to abide by certain conditions to remain on probation. If you violate probation, it is similar to catching another charge. Once a violation is filed, you go back to the sentencing court & the judge determines whether the violation(s) warrant jail time, extended time on probation, or a restarting of the probation. When you violate parole, you go before a small panel, or ALJ (administrative law judge) who determines if there is probable cause to sustain the violation & if so, you’re immediately thrown in jail. Do you see the difference? I hope I was a help.

  22. scouter2012 - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    He can be pen pals with Ryan Leaf.

  23. hotdogfinger - Dec 19, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    a new twist to the term bush league

  24. strosfan85 - Dec 19, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Just shows that a guy can have immense talent but have nothing between his ears.. I think MLB should do what the NFL has started doing and give high-profile picks a mentor to keep tabs on them and try to show them how to carry themselves..

    • hockeyflow33 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:58 AM

      Unlike the NFL, almost all picks never play a day in the MLB

      • Rockie D. Bull - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:12 AM

        Hockey – you really meant to say “Unlike the MLB, the NHL hasn’t played a day yet this season.”

  25. nomoreseasontix - Dec 21, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    I’m not anti-alcohol, but it’s been my experience that when you reach for the third or fourth or however many, nothing good ever comes of it.
    I’ve probably seen it 50 times.
    This kid has screwed his life. To drink.

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