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Baseball Should Implement Steroid Type Penalty for DUI

By Mike Silva ~ May 6th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva.

We have seen two prominent players get arrested for driving under the influence the last two weeks. Derek Lowe and Shin-Soo Choo became brought the total of DUI incidents in baseball this year to six.

Indians manager Manny Acta doesn’t believe MLB should punish players for actions that happen away from the field, but I disagree with that thought process. In a league that obsesses over the use of performance enhancing drugs they should take an equally harsh penalty on players that operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Unlike PED’s, driving a vehicle impaired can impact the life of another person. How serious would this incident be if Lowe or Choo killed another person or family? What kind of message is the league sending to his stakeholders when they turn a blind eye to alcohol abuse?

In order to send a message this behavior won’t be tolerated I suggest you incorporate the same 50/100/lifetime games ban for incidents off the field that involves drugs, alcohol, or domestic abuse. Just because you are outside of work doesn’t mean you are not representing the league and organization. I am not asking the league to legislate every act away from the ballpark, but something as serious as alcohol abuse deserves this kind of focus. There were congressional hearings about drugs that we don’t have clear proof of their effect on performance, but a DUI is a blurb in the paper that goes away in 24 hours.

Start to put their livelihood on the line and watch how fast players will hire a designated driver. Josh Hancock, one of MLB’s own, was killed while driving intoxicated in 2007. Lowe has been rumored to habitually abuse alcohol since his days in Boston. You would think Bud Selig could squeeze one more committee into his cabinet to investigate the level of alcoholism in his game.

Another group that should be at the forefront of this issue are the baseball writers. The same individuals that get uppity about anyone who was in the room with a steroid user has been somewhat mum about the rash of DUI’s in the game.

This issue can be cleaned up very quickly. Call it the “Quality of Life” clause. You get busted for driving under the influence you get a 50 game suspension. The next one is 100, and the last gets you booted from the game. That is unless you haven’t been sent to jail first. Unlike PED’s this is a clear cut case. You can’t say the breathalyzer picked up some “diet drink” instead of a Bud Light. As mentioned before you could add other infractions to the rule.

Unfortunately, the Players Association and Commissioner are reactive to any tough issues. It will probably take an extreme case to get something like this to be talked about. That won’t, however, be any solace to the family of the person that gets hurt.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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5 Responses to Baseball Should Implement Steroid Type Penalty for DUI

  1. Dan Berman4

    It’s way past time that baseball have a a policy on alcohol. I am guessing it will end up not being as stringent as the steroids penalties because the players will argue that it’s not an on-the-field transgression that affects the game.

  2. Donal

    The current CBA is expiring soon. Maybe Selig will be able to get this into a new deal. Probably won’t be nearly as tough as the NFL’s off the field rules, but it should at least have a penalty.

    And if they want a “worst case scenerio”, simply bring up Bobby Ojeda’s accident.

  3. tnt1528

    50 games is way too much, what happens if he is found innocent? say sorry and forget it?.what if its a day off? i also believe if your diabetic the breathalyzer is inadmissable..if your randy johnson who is 6ft 10 3beers wont make him legally drunk like a 5ft 9 guy.

  4. Stu B

    @Donal: No punishment was necessary in Ojeda’s accident – he was seriously injured, and Tim Crews and Steve Olin, who was driving the boat, were decapitated and killed.

  5. ed

    Punishments for DUIs are handled by the Legal system. The reason why steroids are punished by MLB because it affects the game on the field.

    Stupid idea.

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