Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know by now that Rockies’ starting pitcher Alex White was arrested for DUI in Scottsdale on Saturday night. I’m not here to destroy White over this. People make mistakes. I think he’s probably a decent human being. However, before we go much further, let’s get one thing straight. This is a big deal. I don’t care what anyone says, driving under the influence is a bigger problem than taking HGH, particularly in MLB. For the most part, HGH “hurts” only the person taking it. Obviously, driving a motorized vehicle while inebriated has the potential to hurt many, many more.
Over the last few years, a plethora (that’s right, Jefe, a plethora) of players – and one future Hall of Fame manager – have been arrested for DUIs during Spring Training. Recently, there has been talk about a punishment for DUIs, but as of now, it still hasn’t been added to the CBA. That’s highly unfortunate and also completely unsurprising. After all, we’ve seen how reluctant the Players Association is to add any kind of punishment for inappropriate drug and alcohol use. And so, like so many of his peers who have been arrested for doing the same, White will not be punished by baseball.
Perhaps the bigger concern here is how this undermines the integrity of basically everything that’s been said by the front office this offseason. White’s arrest means that both of the big chips they got back in the Ubaldo deal have been arrested since the trade. To be fair, the charges against Drew Pomeranz were dropped, but you never heard of anything like that happening with Ubaldo. Granted, even a guy with solid character will make mistakes, but it’s the lack of accountability that’s so concerning. Dan O’Dowd spent all offseason preaching how he demands it, but failed to actually demonstrate that when he was tested. Instead, he spoke of how disappointed White’s parents will be and declared that punishment enough. Last I checked, Alex White was a grown man who does not live with his parents. At a certain point in our lives, fear of getting in trouble with our parents no longer serves as a deterrent to doing things we shouldn’t.
Then there is the honesty element to all of this. According to Dan O’Dowd, Alex White told him that he only had two drinks. Somebody, maybe O’Dowd but more likely White, made a serious miscalculation on that one. Unless he was drinking straight liquor out of yard glasses, White’s blood alcohol level indicated that he had a few more than two drinks, like maybe ten. It’s quite possible that he outright lied to the team. However, even if that’s true, O’Dowd should’ve gotten his facts straight because now that White’s blood alcohol level has been made public, the team is in between a rock and a hard place. In public, they said this was a minor incident and that Alex’s remorse was impressive, but if he lied to the organization, none of that’s accurate. Maybe O’Dowd is deferring to White’s parents on this too, but the Rox can’t possibly save face if they let it slide without addressing it.
Honestly, I don’t believe the Rockies have the power to suspend White for this, but a public admonishment would be nice. Instead, Tracy and O’Dowd took this as an opportunity to praise White. Again, I’m not attacking White’s character; it’s just a really interesting response from the team after all that has been said. But, that’s how it goes with the Rockies these days. They tell the media one thing, but really mean something else entirely. All we need to know is that Alex’s response was excellent. Unfortunately, they either didn’t care about what was on the police report or didn’t bother to find out. Regardless, it’s a troubling sign for a franchise that has seemingly been grasping at straws all offseason. The grand experiment with chemistry over talent may already be crumbling and we are barely even a week into Spring Training.
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