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.
Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.
Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.
That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:
I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, GO TIGERS!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.
Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.
The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.
The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:
- Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
- Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
- There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.
Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.
If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.