Rounding The Bases: What Should Brewers Have Done With Gallardo? | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Ryan Topp:

Yesterday, Yovani Gallardo made his regularly scheduled start for the Brewers, despite the fact that he was arrested early Tuesday morning for driving under the influence on I94 in Milwaukee. Gallardo pitched well, hit a home run and was instrumental in gaining the Brewers a victory and a sweep of the San Francisco Giants.

The incident did not go unnoticed in the national media. They largely focused on the lack of a firm, baseball-wide DUI policy to handle situations like this. At this point, it’s really hard to fathom why baseball hasn’t stepped up and institute a policy. It’s clearly a PR problem for the league, and despite the fact that they’ll suspend a player for taking amphetamines, PED’s or even smoking marijuana if they’re still in the minor leagues, there is no policy for to handle DUI’s.

The lack of a policy to handle the issue officially hasn’t stopped many from saying that the Brewers should have taken action on their own. There is some disagreement as to exactly what the collective bargaining agreement allows individual teams to do on their own in terms of suspending a player for driving under the influence without pay, but it certainly is well within their rights to bench a player for whatever reason they see fit.

So that’s the question for you, Steve, should the Brewers have suspended Gallardo and prevented him from pitching in yesterday’s game?

Steve Garczynski:

I would have supported the Brewers for suspending Yovani Gallardo for his turn in the rotation. Now the team can’t technically “suspend” Gallardo for his DUI, but the organization could take a hard line and skip his turn in the rotation. Yes, he’d still get paid because MLB can’t issue a fine, but at least it would send a message.

I’m not the first person to suggest skipping his turn in the rotation, and the most common rebuttal is this isn’t a punishment for Gallardo since he’s just getting a day off. I would hope as a competitor, getting a start skipped would send a message. It would also put the rest of the team on alert that this behavior won’t be tolerated. It’s as much of a club punishment for the entire team as it is for the one individual player. Twenty-five guys should keep each other in line when it comes to a topic as serious as drunk driving.

Ryan Topp:

I was asked directly on twitter by a member of the Madison media if I would bench Gallardo, even though the team can’t give him an unpaid suspension without running afoul of the players union. My response was that I would, but that I’m not the guy with $85 million invested in the team’s success this year.

It feels easy for me to say that the team should make the symbolic move of benching Gallardo, because I’m not the one who stands to gain or lose money based on what happens to the team this year. I think in a competitive environment like MLB, with lots of money riding on decisions, it’s hard to ask a team to take steps to punish themselves when they know that their competitors aren’t going to be holding themselves to the same standards. This isn’t a moral argument, but rather a practical one. Morally, he absolutely should have been suspended and made into a public example.

Ultimately, I think it’s imperative that MLB get’s it’s head out of the sand on this issue and comes up with a league wide policy to deal with the issue consistently. Then teams aren’t facing potentially million dollar decisions where they have to worry about what they’re doing to their chances of winning at all. That is taken care of and the only consideration left is what else to do. I liked what you said to me the other day about him being expected to do community outreach while on suspension. Having him do that, regardless of whether he is suspended, would be my first priority as a team in handling this.

Steve Garczynski:

What disappointed me the most about the situation were the fans who went out of their way to say that Gallardo had already paid for what he did and now we should just judge what he does on the field. This is beyond a baseball issue and Gallardo should be judged as a member of the Milwaukee community. Anyone, regardless of their profession or level of fame, should go through the same level of scrutiny.

Gallardo pitched well on Thursday afternoon against the Giants. It was good to see him get his season back on track after two rough starts, but it had nothing to do with what happened two nights earlier. He does not redeem himself with a good pitching performance or hitting his first home run of the season. Those are baseball accomplishments, and while nice, they don’t go towards proving you’re a better citizen.

Ryan Topp:

I agree completely, and this is actually a pretty good argument for why keeping him off the field for that game is an important message that the Brewers should have sent, simply by not giving him a chance to “redeem” himself through his play. What a ridiculous notion that is, but I saw what you saw and it’s out there among both fans and media members.

Ultimately, for Gallardo, redemption is only going to come in two forms. First, obviously, is that time goes by and this never happens again. Second, he’s going to have to do more than just apologize in terms of making this right with the public by being an advocate to change societal patterns. That’s not going to be easy for him, but it’s certainly more meaningful then playing baseball well on the field in terms of showing remorse and doing something to right the wrong.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. John says: April 19, 2013

    Neither redemption nor punishment should or will come from Gallardo’s workplace. There is no debate about whether or not what he did was wrong. Incontrovertibly, it was wrong, and he is facing the penalty, regardless of how weak people think it is, just as others in Wisconsin do. He is not receiving special treatment because he is a professional athlete. Should Gallardo face additional punishments in his workplace because he is a known figure? Does Joe Schmo with OWI suffer additional punishments at his workplace for the crime? No and no.

    • Steve Garczynski says: April 19, 2013

      Gallardo is not receiving special treatment, but as a professional athlete, he is a public figure. For that reason, I think it’s worthwhile for the Brewers to tell the players that they hold them to a higher standard. Unlike Joe Schmo’s work place, Major League Baseball teams have a program in place to give players rides home if they’re intoxicated. Clearly these clubs have an interest in their well-being outside the ballpark, which is something that regular working class folks don’t have access to.

    • Evan says: April 23, 2013

      I’m currently in the Army (on my lunch break and diehard Brewer fan) and know for a fact that DUI gets you the boot from my Branch of the Military. This is not taken lightly in the military so acting like there aren’t repercussions in all facets of professional life isn’t true. On the contrary though, I’m just a number whereas Gallardo is a much more expensive asset to the Brewers. I could compare him to a General Officer who gets a slap on the wrist or the whole thing swept under the rug.

  2. Mike says: April 19, 2013

    Not to sound like a jerk, but there is no way the Brewers should suspend him. You can suspend people for clubhouse conduct and other things that effect the team, but quite frankly this doesn’t effect the team at all. It’s his own personal situation and if he weren’t a professional athlete his employer might never know about it.

    The Brewers as a professional baseball team have to do whats in their best interest as a team and that is winning games. Gallardo pitching helps them do that so there is no incentive for them to suspend him and thats the way it should be.

    This is where the MLB has to step in and institute a policy because he really should be punished. Protecting the image of the league IS in the MLB’s best interest and creating further disincentives for illicit activity is a good thing. It would also be much easier to institute in baseball compared to the NFLs personal conduct debacle. With 162 games, suspending a guy for 1 or 2 games won’t make a big difference but it will send a league-wide message.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: April 19, 2013

      It’s absolutely shocking that “alcohol” is not on the league’s list of substances of abuse, and it’s also shocking that “alcohol” and “DUI” appear nowhere in the JDA or CBA.

      It’s up to the league to change that.

      • Bob says: April 19, 2013

        Alcohol is a legal-to-use product, despite the potential for abuse. It is not much different than cough syrup – a little is fine but too much makes you a danger to society at large.

        MLB could chose to collectively bargain a DUI program with MLBPA. Some employers choose to implement one, though I believe it is normally tied to roles where the employee is required to drive or operate machinery. It is a workplace safety issue, and a corporate liability issue, not a moral one.

        Personally, I think it reflects poorly on Gallardo. The Brewers and MLB can certainly use this as a stepping stone for a public awareness program. I don’t think the Brewers should suspend him, unless they are equally willing to deliver equivalent punishment to any other employee. Even a secretary, food service employee, or parking lot attendant.

    • Steve Garczynski says: April 19, 2013

      This DUI didn’t affect the team because Gallardo didn’t kill anyone.

      From a PR standpoint, it did affect the Brewers, though. They don’t want to be connected to a story where one of the players representing the organization is seen in such an irresponsible way.

  3. Cecil Cooper's Love Child says: April 19, 2013

    “Anyone, regardless of their profession or level of fame, should go through the same level of scrutiny.”

    Steve, that you are writing those words about Gallardo proves that he has, and will receive MORE scrutiny than you or I if we were arrested for DUI. If you want to make the penalties stiffer for DUI, then I agree but he has and will continue to pay for this transgression.

    If this is beyond a baseball issue, then how should a baseball team react. Exactly the way that they did.

    If you want to change how DUI offenders are treated, then I guess state and local lawmakers should be receiving a letter or call. You can’t ask for more punishment and then also want him to be treated the same as you or I.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: April 19, 2013

      I’ve been thinking about this, and I agree with your argument about the DUI offense — perhaps our anger should be with how these transgressions are prosecuted, and of course, we absolutely can be morally outraged at what Gallardo did.

      But, I also agree that he will receive much more scrutiny than others — not to be crass, how many mid-20-somethings in Wisconsin drive under the influence? Is there a social problem to be addressed? Absolutely. Gallardo isn’t the only one who should be singled out for this.

      And, I gather, with a chance to sweep the Giants, and Gallardo handling his issue with the law, there is nothing better for the Brewers to do than send their best pitcher to the mound. I could see if Gallardo wasn’t handling his situation, or actually damaged the club in some way; but, if his transgression is outside of the scope of the CBA and JDA, and he is handling it with the Law, send him to the mound and hope he wins.

    • Steve Garczynski says: April 19, 2013

      Saying Gallardo should go through the same level of scrutiny was referring to the people who thought that playing a baseball game could gain him redemption. No one else gets a pat on the back for showing up and doing their job two days after a DUI.

      Clearly the drunk driving laws in Wisconsin should be changed and stiffer penalties should be handed out. That topic tends to come up any time we hear about someone with multiple drunk driving offenses that somehow is still able to drive and avoid jail time.

      • Cecil Cooper's Love Child says: April 19, 2013

        Pretty sure he didn’t get a pat on the back from Mark A, Doug M or Ron R. He showed up and did his job, and did it remarkably well.

        I agree with you that drunk driving penalties should be stiffer, but I don’t think Yovanni Gallardo should be the poster child for that crusade.

      • Jason says: April 20, 2013

        Steve, I don’t know where you get your facts on Wisconsin’s OWI laws but they are wrong. It is only the first offense where no one is injured that gets treated as a civil violation. The law was designed to treat first offenses as an intervention to change behaviors instead of criminalizing and creating an adversarial process. The result is that almost all first offenses plead no contest, while in states where it is a criminal offense they result in jury trials. Any offenses after that are considered criminal matters with a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.

        • Bob says: April 21, 2013

          Oh, it’s only the first one that is no big deal. That changes everything.

  4. Chris says: April 22, 2013

    I don’t blame the Brewers for not benching Gallardo. They would have had to shuffle their pitching in order to sit him and that could affect the team for a week or 10games before recovering fully.

    And as to what other punishment to hand out, I don’t know what to say monetarily. The 1st 3years of a MLB player in Pre-Arb is going to earn around 1.2/3 mil. I don’t know know what the county’s fine is to him but it’s supposed to be stiff. Now I know Gallardo is in good shape financially to handle a team fine. But, if this were Burgos 2 days after his start then what? You couldn’t fine Gallardo 25k or more thinking it has no impact when if then Burgos is caught in the same boat and that fine would have to be the same he’s crippled financially. That’s why I don’t see there needing to be any further punishment.
    When the MLBPA come to an agreement of a set fine for such a thing then at least there’s precedence and the players know what to expect if they fail to abide by the law.

    Or, we can go full Paul Tag. and make up fines as we go. Open up a whole new can of worms. Make the PA upset with each passing month and just lock up a guaranteed strike in a few years.

    Personally, the way for this to be solved is for Yovani to go about within communities and speak with Teens/College age students to not drink and drive. Tell his story and his consequences from the situation. Inform them of laws and info, if in the situation of being intoxicated, that there are ways to get home without driving behind the wheel.


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