I’m quite sure MLB would be in the business of punishing players accused of DUIs if the MLBPA didn’t stand in the way. But I hardly see how that would be for the best. When Shin-Soo Choo gets busted for driving drunk, that’s not a baseball matter. We have police departments, lawyers and court cases to deal Mr. Choo’s stupidity and reckless behavior. I don’t want Bud Selig putting himself into the middle of it. If Choo drove with a blood-alcohol content at more than twice the legal limit, my feeling is that he deserves some time behind bars and a lengthy license suspension. But I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to show up to work the next day and go about his business as usual while waiting for judgment.
And as a baseball fan, I don’t like the idea of my team being punished because of a player’s actions off the field. It’d surely hurt Choo to be suspended without pay for 10 days, but it’d probably hurt the Indians more, even working under the assumption that they’d be allowed to replace him on the roster (when players are suspended as a result of on-field actions, they can’t be replaced). Maybe a lesser suspension then? That would only serve to trivialize the charge. The NBA suspends drunk drivers for two games. Does anyone think that’s all a DUI deserves? A slap on the wrist for making the league look bad?
Some are complaining about how Choo will play a day after his charge while Ozzie Guillen gets two games off for tweeting after an ejection. It’s easy: one’s a baseball issue, one isn’t. Maybe MLB will eventually gain the right to dole out punishment for DUIs, but I’d much rather see them focusing on on-field issues than trying to dispense justice for incidents taking place away from the ballpark.