Matt Bush pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with serious bodily injury following a spring training DUI arrest for hitting a 72-year-old motorcyclist in Florida and when it came time for sentencing yesterday the former No. 1 overall pick opted for extra prison time.
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that prosecutors gave Bush the choice of taking three years in prison and seven years probation or four years in prison and no probation. He took the longer prison sentence, with his attorney explaining that getting out earlier to be on probation would have been a “disaster waiting to happen” for Bush considering his lengthy history of alcohol-related problems.
He’s already spent nine months in prison, so the time served was factored into the sentencing and Bush will be in prison for another three years and three months. And because it was the 27-year-old’s third DUI his license has been revoked for 10 years.
Smith writes that the 72-year-man Bush hit “is on pain medication, sleeps a lot, and has trouble remembering things” nine months after the incident, which caused a broken bone in his back, broken ribs, and brain hemorrhaging. The man’s family is upset that Bush will not have to be on probation once he’s out of prison in 2016 and has filed a $5 million civil lawsuit against him.
Bush was drafted first overall by the Padres out of high school in 2004 and signed for a $3.15 million bonus. He was in spring training camp with the Rays at the time of the arrest and was released by the team in October.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.