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In case you missed the news, everyone's favourite former Blue Jay, Esteban Loaiza (also known as Lord Voldemort, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, et al), was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and for reckless driving. According to the reports, Loaiza was driving his brand-new Ferrari 130 MPH at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. He failed the road-side sobriety test, though his blood alcohol content was not released. (In California the legal limit is .08.)

I have driven the stretch of road where Loaiza was arrested, and I must say it is a borderline miracle that he wasn't killed—or, what would have been far worse, that he didn't kill innocent people. Thankfully it was so late that the road—a narrow, sinuos, two lane highway with numerous connections to other, busier freeways—was likely deserted except for truckers, who in any event would have survived any sort of collision. The highway is difficult enough to negotiatie while sober and driving the speed limit, let alone at 120+ MPH.

For all the ballyhoo major-league baseball makes about steroid usage, the real victims are the players who use them. It is a quintissential victimless crime. But what Loaiza is alleged to have done is a serious crime, much worse than de-spoiling your body for the sake of a few extra pounds of muscle. It's worse than what Delmon Young did. It's worse than spitting in an umpire's face. It's worse than bumping an umpire.

It will be an interesting test for MLB if Loaiza is convicted. I realise that other players have been arrested for DUI and have been slapped on the wrist, but the degree of recklessness that Loaiza has engaged in, even if he's not convicted—the speed, the type of road he was driving on, the alcohol—seems to have passed beyond the pale of "ordinary" recklessness. I'm aware that nobody is perfect, that we all make mistakes, that we all have exceeded the speed limit, etc. But it scarcely needs pointing out the permanent gulf that exists from going 74 MPH in a 65 zone and going 120+MPH in the same zone while under the influence of alcohol.

I'm not saying one way or another what baseball should do, but if they're going to take the moral high road for a single-person "crime" like taking steroids, then they had better be prepared to stay the course with an actual crime that has killed thousands of innocent people over the years.
Loaiza arrested for reckless driving | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Chuck - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#149067) #
Are there out clauses in contracts for criminal behaviour? I'm sure Billy Beane wouldn't mind that money back.
Jim - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#149076) #
Still pitching today, right now as a matter of fact.
Ryan Day - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#149077) #

  I believe the Rockies used the morality clause to get out of Denny Neagle's contract. 

  Note, from these examples, that morality is only contractually important when the player sucks.

  In a way, I think this is the sort of crime that professional athletes are "supposed" to commit: Drink too much, then drive really fast in your expensive sports car. For the most parts, pro athletes seem to bounce back from anything that doesn't involve actively cheating within the game. But then, I can't think of the last really successful player who was involved in a serious crime.

AWeb - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#149092) #
I don't think baseball should be stepping in to punish players for criminal offenses outside the boundaries of the game. They have a union-approved drug testing (non-roids) program for some of that, and otherwise, if there is no contractual clause against something, it's not really the place of the employer to punish the players. If he gets thrown in jail, that's a pretty good suspension.

That said, players really should be punished like everyone else for these offenses. If you have a criminal charge pending against you, usually you can't travel around two countries, across state lines, and generally carry on as if nothing happened. Plus sentences are often delayed, if I'm remembering my NFL news correctly, to the offseason. Sending someone to jail when it is more convenient for them seems wrong somehow...

I've also always wondered if professional athletes are getting treated the same as the rest when it comes to nationality. If someone from outside the country, Mexico in this case, commits a criminal offense, isn't that usually a reason to pull a work-permit and deport someone? I'm not suggesting that this be done (I remember the "Canseco shouldn't be allowed in the country" debate when the Jays signed him, which I thought was silly at the time), but I've always wondered if there is an agreement in place for international athletes, or if I am just mistaken in my impressions as to the usual legal ramifications of such things. Does anyone know what the official status of athletes from out-of-country is?
Pistol - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#149095) #
Last night was the first time this year that Loaiza has been clocked over 82.
Leigh - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#149106) #
It would be quite unfortunate and unfair if Loaiza were to suffer baseball-related negative consequences for his alleged crime which was unrelated to baseball.

Mike Green - Thursday, June 15 2006 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#149112) #
Leigh has it precisely right.  DUI is indeed more serious than any infractions of baseball rules that go to the integrity of the game.  That's why DUI issues are addressed in criminal court, and infractions of baseball rules are (hopefully) addressed by baseball.
Loaiza arrested for reckless driving | 14 comments | Create New Account
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