Chad Curtis, who played 10 seasons in the majors before retiring in 2001, has been suspended from his volunteer high school position amid allegations that he inappropriately touched students.
Curtis, who denied the allegations, had been volunteering at Lakewood High School near Lake Odessa. He was slated to become the school’s head football coach this fall. He hasn’t been charged with a crime.
Curtis played for six big-league teams as a sometimes starter, sometimes fourth outfielder. He had his best run with the Yankees, hitting .263/.366/.400 with 27 homers in 340 games over three seasons. In 1999, he hit a walkoff homer to win Game 3 of the World Series for the Bombers. He also spent three seasons with the Angels, two with the Rangers and two with the Tigers.
While Curtis ended his career with a modest 101 homers and 461 RBI, he had a higher profile than many similar players, largely because of his willingness to express his Christian viewpoints. He also incited a modest controversy in the 1999 World Series when he refused to be interviewed by NBC’s Jim Gray. Gray had ruffled feathers earlier in the series by picking a poor time to go after Pete Rose about gambling accusations.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.