Yovani Gallardo is three days removed from blowing a .22 BAC in the wee wee hours. Today’s pitching matchup in the Giants-Brewers game: Matt Cain vs. Yovani Gallardo. As far as baseball is concerned, Gallardo getting behind the wheel at three times the legal limit is a non-event. There has been and will be zero discipline for it.
Major League Baseball’s presumed rationale for this — because they’ve never, to my knowledge, explained themselves otherwise — is that there can and should be no discipline meted out to Gallardo or others who behave like he did because a DUI is not a baseball transgression. And I suppose that holds up nicely enough. Unless, of course, you remember that:
- Carl Crawford is likely getting fined for wearing mismatched shoes;
- Ozzie Guillen has been suspended for voicing an unpopular political opinion and intemperate tweeting, among other things;
- Delmon Young was suspended for walking while drunk and then spewing some hateful rhetoric;
- Yunel Escobar was suspended a few games for writing stupid crap on his eye black;
- Minor leaguers get suspended for using substances that are less harmful than alcohol in the privacy of their own homes;
- A broadcaster was once suspended indefinitely and then fired because he liked to wear suits.
All of that was just in the past year or so. There are countless other examples if you go back through even recent history. Baseball and its teams can and often do suspend players and coaches for stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all. And which involve behavior far less odious and dangerous than getting behind the wheel of a multi-ton automobile while intoxicated.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If Major League Baseball and the MLBPA felt that players driving drunk was as serious as, say, smoking a J in your apartment, they could agree that players would be subject to suspension or some other form of discipline. It wouldn’t even take that long to do. There may be a bit of haggling over when you suspend someone — right after the incident or right after they’re convicted? — but that could be easily handled and negotiated. It’s not the 1980s anymore. The league and the union are frighteningly cooperative and efficient when they want to be these days.
They have no desire to, however. Perhaps because baseball has always tolerated alcohol abuse more than it tolerates anything. Perhaps because there are still, to this day, fans who feel like Gallardo pitching poorly of late is way more offensive than Gallardo driving drunk. But the fact that the first and seemingly only question that is asked is whether Drunk Driving Player X is able to play in the next possible game, it shows that they simply don’t care.
Maybe the league and the union will start caring after a player, as he inevitably will, kills someone while driving drunk. Hope they don’t wait that long. But it looks like they will.