First, Astros business:
Richard Hidalgo was released today after refusing a minor league assignment. This is the guy we chose when we had to choose between him and Bobby Abreu – guess that was the wrong choice, hunh? Bobby is going strong with the Yankees and Richard was washed up at age 30 – really, age 29.
Richard had a cup of coffee in 1997, age 22, did well going 19 fer 62 with 5 doubles and 2 homers. He was called up midseason in 98, playing in 74 games with a 303 BA and a .474 SLG and showed a great glove and strong accurate arm. As a backup OF in 99, he played in 108 games, but didn’t hit as well, going .228 with a .420 BA. He was one of the few bright spots in the dim year 2000, luuuvvvving the Box, going .314 with a .636 SLG – 42 doubles, 3 triples, 44 HRs, and he was rewarded with a 4 year 32 mill contract, buying out his arb years and the first year of FA. Bad gamble. He was merely mediocre the first year – a 104 OPS+, was lousy the second year with a 93 OPS+ and managed a last hurrah in 2003 – hitting .302 with a .572 SLG – although he only hit 22 homers. In 2004, he sank out of sight with a .239 BA and a .412 SLG. He didn’t walk very much and struck out a lot – not quite Preston Wilson a lot, but almost as much. This ST he batted .136 with 1 HR and too many Ks. What little I saw of his arm was NOT impressive. He looked 40, not 30.
And talking of bad, Jason Jennings stunk it up today – limp FB = 8 hits (including a leadoff homer and 3 doubles) 1 BB, 4 ER in 5 IP.
And talking more about bad, I wanna talk about driving after drinking, which is bad. Let me say, first of all, that I know that when it comes to celebrities it’s just Animal Farm – all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.
Next, I am not talking about this just because TLR is the Cards manager – I would be talking about this if the offender was the, say, Mariners manager or the Marlins manager or the ASTROS manager. Fact is that TLR was out late at night, he was drinking, and instead of calling a cab, he decided to drive after he had been drinking. And lets not forget to include – if he was with friends, they didn’t see anything wrong with him doing just that. Fortunately for other people who happened to be out driving, TLR didn’t fall asleep drunk with his foot on the gas instead of the brake.
I’ve read all sorts of columns and comments about this and I sure do read a lot of “well, he just made a mistake and he needs support” and a whole lot of “well, how many of you criticizing TLR for doing this haven’t done the same thing your own self or made mistakes your own self” or “well, it’s his first DUI” – not, well, it’s the first time he ever drove drunk/impaired. Every single state in this country has a limit of 0.08 – it’s what they have to have to get federal funds for roads.
OK – one at a time.
First, I have never EVER, not even once in my life, ever driven after drinking one drop of alcohol, so don’t start there, please.
Second, there’s many kinds of “mistakes” – would we be hearing that if TLR’s “mistake” had been to rape and murder someone? I don’t THINK so. TLR is a mature, intelligent, very educated 62 year old man, not some teenager who thinks he’s above God and the law and immortal and immune to consequences. He KNOWS there is a connection between drinking alcohol and impairment of driving abilities. He KNOWS drunk/impaired driving is against the law. He KNOWS that most people cannot accurately predict their blood alcohol level when they are drunk. He CERTAINLY has the money to call a cab. The kind of mistake TLR made was to gamble with someone else’s life. Now me, sure I’ve sinned plenty, we all sinners, but I have NEVER gambled with someone else’s life, and CERTAINLY not intentionally. Big difference between sinnin against your own self and sinnin against someone else.
Third, I think that most people really DO think it is perfectly all right to drive after they’ve been drinking, and that most people who drink feel justified in driving after drinking. Getting caught is the only mistake. Now, nobody forced alcohol down someone against his will. If a person KNEW he was going to go out and drink, that person COULD have made arrangements for either someone to drive him home or to get a cab. But a whole lot of people WON’T. They just don’t give a damm that they are risking someone else’s life. And a whole lot of “friends” most definitely DO let people drive drunk.
Now, mind you, I am not “against drinking.” Someone wants to drink/get drunk, that’s their right, and far as I’m concerned, it’s none of my business.
It’s when people feel they have a right to threaten lots of OTHER peoples lives by driving after they’ve been drinking, well, then†that it is my business. And it bothers me that people don’t take it serious that these people are playing russian roulette with other peoples lives. Look – If I got a gun and shot a dozen rounds into the air in downtown Houston, well, the bullets might could just fall and not hurt anyone, or they could fall and kill someone. Just because I wasn’t TRYING to kill someone does not make it any less murder. And killing someone with a car when they’re drunk isn’t even considered murder – it’s vehicular manslaughter.
Yes, I know there are a lot of lucky people down in Florida who weren’t killed by TLR. Yes, I know he admitted guilt. Yes, I know that because he’s famous he won’t suffer one bit, or he’ll get some fine that’s pocket change and have to do “community service.” But I have a lot of problems with the people who feel he needs “support.” Because, best I can tell, it’s because either he’s on their team and you gotta support everyone on your team, no matter what crime he’s committed, or, more seriously, because they feel free to commit the same crime and risk everyone elses’ lives too.
I sure wish Congress felt as strongly about driving after drinking as they did about steroids. If there was a law that gave people a mandatory felony jail sentence of 1 year for their FIRST DUI and vehicular manslaughter was called first degree murder, I would bet that there would be a lot less people killed by people who feel that they have a right to hurt/kill other people because they want to drink and pretend they are not responsible for the consequences.