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A's Get Loaiza A Driving Buddy
2006-06-19 12:54
by Ken Arneson

Less than a week after Esteban Loaiza was arrested for DUI, the A's signed another player recently involved in a DUI incident, Scott Sauerbeck, to replace Steve Karsay, who retired.

Sauerbeck was just a passenger in the incident, not a driver. But it was his car involved in the incident, and both Sauerbeck and the passenger tried to hide from police after they were about to get caught.

Is this what counts for players who are undervalued by the market these days? People who (let people) drive drunk? Yes, nobody was hurt in either incident. The ghosts of those not killed are grateful.

I feel sick. First, we find out that for over a decade, the A's clubhouse was a virtual pharmacy of illegal performance enhancing chemicals. Nobody gave a crap because the juiced up players helped them win. Now, this.

It's not really signing Sauerbeck per se that bothers me. Innocent until proven guilty, of course. Really, what bothers me more is the historical pattern here.

Do you really think the A's management went all those years and had no idea all these players were using these chemicals? Have the A's ever expressed any regret or remorse or disapproval of any sort of chemical abuse? Maybe the Jeremy Giambi-John Mabry trade was...but we can only guess.

The question is: what kind of values do the A's really have, anyway?

I want to root for a team that wins because of their values, not despite them. I get enough of that sort of behavior from the politics section of the newspaper. I don't want it in my sports section.

The A's have a designated driver program at their home games. With each passing year, they make it harder and harder to sign up. These days, you have to go to two different tables, sign two different forms, get a wristband stuck around your arm, all to get a voucher for a extremely small cup of soda that you can only redeem at certain stands in the stadium, the list of which is published nowhere, not even on the voucher. If you visit the wrong stand--sorry, you just wasted five minutes of your life standing in line for nothing. You need to go stand in that other line over there.

If they want to show they really have some values in this regard, give me one short form to fill out, don't make me put on a useless wristband that nobody checks anyway, give me the largest soda you have, let me redeem it at any doggone stand in the whole stadium, and make Esteban Loaiza and Scott Sauerbeck pay for it. Then maybe I'll start believing the A's actually believe in something truly valuable.

2006-06-19 14:36:32
1.   scareduck
I guess I can't get my dudgeon up over this. If coffee had been discovered today, it would be illegal within a year. I can't condone that kind of an attitude.
2006-06-19 15:04:56
2.   Bob Timmermann
Then I better drink this coffee really fast now!
2006-06-19 15:22:38
3.   Ken Arneson
I'm not sure what kind of attitude you're not condoning. The attitude that drugs should be illegal, or the attitude that organizations should care whether or not they hire the kind of people who break the law? It's the latter that bothers me, more than the former.

The thing I'm railing against (and perhaps I didn't express this so well in the article) is that I'm starting to get the feeling that the A's would hire a convicted murderer, if he was cheap enough, and could hit 40 homers a year or strikeout a batter an inning. They're so damn secretive; I don't know what they believe in, I don't know what they stand for; I don't know where they'd draw the line, and it's starting to bug me.

And it really bugs me that they're hiring DUI people just as they're making me jump through hoops for the designated driver program. The timing is awful.

2006-06-19 15:38:24
4.   John Seal
The most important thing to the A's (and to every other team in baseball) is MAKING MONEY.

That said, I'm basically a dry myself (though I like the odd glass of wine), and I just can't get worked up about people's personal indiscretions. It would be different if Loiaza had actually had a smash-up and hurt someone, but as it stands, he's just another overpaid fool with too much money and not enough sense.

But if he loses his pitching velocity again, I'll be all over him.

2006-06-19 18:21:45
5.   scareduck
I should like to remind the reading audience that at one time chattel slavery was also legal in these fine United States, and the Germans also made being Jewish a crime punishable by whatever means the Führer felt like at the time, up to and including slow-motion capital punishment. Just this week, Herr Alito and the rest of the Bush-installed gang at the Supreme Court overturned nearly a century of American legal precedent and British legal history dating back to the 13th century when they decided that the police can break down your doors at any time they want without knocking first, provided they have a warrant. The law, simply, has been known to be an ass, paraphrasing Mr. Bumble; and when it is, I have little respect for its alleged glory, as it and its practitioners merely trade on the fact that they have a monopoly on who gets to hold the trigger, i.e., they are thugs.

Is Barry Bonds a "cheater", as I so often hear from the screeching Dodger fans, whose political bent suddenly finds itself clad in brown shirts? Well, who cares? The greater danger, greater by far than steroids, HGH, or whatever designer "supplements" you wish to ingest this week, is the notion that the law is entitled to keep us safe at the expense of our liberties. Paraphrasing Mencken, there is no pharmacologist in the world half as dangerous as the skulking district attorney hoping to make a name for himself.

2006-06-19 18:27:02
6.   scareduck
Clarification: Sauerbeck isn't deserving of this kind of a rant, as drunk driving clearly falls into the "what the hell were you thinking, endangering all those people" class of crime; and likewise for Loaiza. But I find myself bugged heavily that breaking the law as a whole is necessarily a bad thing. You probably break a dozen laws just getting up in the morning, and three dozen more getting to work.
2006-06-19 18:32:01
7.   Greg Brock
3 Isn't that what Billy Beane is all about? Exploiting weaknesses and oversights in the marketplace? Most scouts are very low on the alcoholic, vehicularly dangerous ballplayer. That's where Beane can make his bones.
2006-06-19 19:21:54
8.   Andrew Shimmin
The law may well be a ass (paraphrase or not, best not to trifle with what makes that line truly great), but Goodwin's Law is still good for something.

Drunk driving and steroid use have so little in common that tarring any group that disapproves of the one with the sins of those who disapprove of the other cannot be permitted to stand.

2006-06-19 22:25:39
9.   Bob Timmermann
I believe it's Godwin's Law. Goodwin's Law is my rule to never think about Tom Goodwin being on the Dodgers. TWO separate times.
2006-06-19 22:56:52
10.   Ken Arneson
I would like do defend and clarify my position on this matter, which was more about the lack of knowledge about the A's ethical positions than about the positions themselves, and to state that I agree that laws need not always be obeyed, but should, in general, be respected, unless ethics dictates otherwise; but since Godwin's Law states that this conversation is over, and I can't think of any ethical reason why it shouldn't be obeyed in this case, I shall hereby trade on the fact that I hold a monopoly on who holds the trigger on this blog, and declare that this conversation is hereby closed.

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