I’ve not been following everything that’s been going on in Jim Leyritz’s trial, but a couple notable things happened this week:
- On Tuesday, the defense was able to ask a coworker of the victim’s how much she had been drinking before she drove off and, ultimately, got into the accident. A lot, it seems! Only problem: the judge had previously ruled that evidence of the victim’s drunkenness was irrelevant and inadmissible in the case, which is about whether Leyrtiz ran a red light. The best part: the prosecution didn’t object. Not once. And then the prosecutor got up and started asking his own questions about the victim’s state. At which point the judge went crazy and cleared the jurors room. That could have been grounds for a mistrial, but the judge let it go on for some reason;
- Yesterday, during a witness’ testimony about the accident scene, Leyritz broke down sobbing at the defense table. He couldn’t control himself, and the judge let Leyritz leave the room to compose himself. He couldn’t do it, and he could be heard loudly sobbing from behind a door.
Contrary to the way it’s supposed to work, I think — and this really is just my opinion based on interactions with jurors — a lot of jurors come into a trial leaning towards a presumption of guilt and, rather than look for evidence that establishes guilt, they look for reasons to acquit. Something to grab onto in order to help them to change their minds. Here, in the space of a couple of days the Leyrtiz jury (a) has been reminded that the victim was drunk too; and (b) was given a lot of reason to pity Leyritz.
I have no idea what’s going to happen with this thing, but neither of these events are particularly great for the prosecution’s case.
Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.
“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:
Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.
Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.
While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”
Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”
Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.
This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.
Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.
Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.
The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.