Delmon Young gets a suspension. DUI guys: nothin’

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In the wake of the news that Delmon Young is getting a suspension for his adventures in New York over the weekend, I have to ask why him and why now?

Not that his behavior wasn’t awful.  According to the charges he was drunk and disorderly and assaulted someone and then used ethnic slurs that reflect awfully on him and, by extension, on the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball. That’s bad and probably does deserve discipline from his team and/or the league. I’m actually glad he’s getting it.

But why does Delmon Young get a suspension for walking around drunk and acting like an ass when no players have ever been suspended for driving around drunk and putting people’s lives in danger?

Baseball has had a rash of DUIs in recent years. From the top — future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa — to the bottom.  Broadcasters. Coaches. Players. Team executives. All-Stars and scrubs.  There have been two high-profile deaths due to drunk driving too: Josh Hancock, who killed himself while driving drunk, and Nick Adenhart, killed by another, along with two of his friends. Yet despite this, baseball never doles out discipline in these cases.

Why is this? Why start with Delmon Young?

One reason, I suspect, is that most ballplayer DUIs don’t end up splashed across the front page of the New York Post like Young’s did.  Baseball has always seemed to react to bad behavior in direct proportion to how much publicity it gets, and my gut tells me that that is the case here.  Player DUIs usually get picked up by one local player, create a quick blip and the fade.  Not so with Young.  If Young has a bad night in Minneapolis, it makes the police blotter column for a single day and similarly goes away is anyone talking about this?

But maybe I’m just being cynical. Maybe this is the beginning of a new discipline regime designed to stamp out what seems like a growing number of alcohol-related incidents involving ballplayers.  If so — if the answer to “why Delmon, why now” is “you have to start somewhere” — I applaud baseball for finally stepping up.

But if that’s the case I will also expect to see similar discipline come the next time a ballplayer gets a DUI.  Because people watch these things, Mr. Selig. At least some of us do.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.