At 5:13 this morning, Texas Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Dallas County, Texas.
This is disappointing in so many ways.
First; the obvious: driving while intoxicated is a very serious and dangerous action that can be easily avoided. DWI is a crime that is committed far too frequently, yet is one with extremely serious consequences. I understand that people make mistakes. I understand that alcohol hinders judgement. I have not lived my life as a saint and made plenty of mistakes myself, but this one is just hard to understand.
Jeremy Jeffress is a man with an incredible amount to lose.
Jeffress finds himself in the midst of a playoff push, being traded from the cellar to a contender at the deadline.
Jeffress has already been suspended from baseball twice for marijuana usage, in 2007 and again in 2009, so his next strike with substance abuse will be his third and final.
Jeffress shares a bullpen with Matt Bush, who is the embodiment of the dangers of DWI, as Bush overcomes his demons to finally contribute to a major league team.
Jeffress is in a clubhouse known for helping teammates overcome substance abuse issues, with the image of the team celebrating a birth in the World Series with ginger ale rather than alcohol in order to help Josh Hamilton remain sober being one of its most famous.
Yet, a little after 5am this morning, Jeremy Jeffress made a decision that could forever change his life.
Fortunately, his decision did not alter the lives of others.
Typically, I am quick to forgive, especially when I do not know the demons an individual faces. However, this one is nearly inexcusable. As a Major Leaguer, there is absolutely no reason to get behind the wheel. Call a cab. Grab an Uber. Phone a teammate. If Jeffress needed a ride, I have no doubt that people would have lined up to take him wherever he wanted.
Yet here we are.
Last night's game felt like a turning point. The offense clicked, Hamels dominated, Mazara gained confidence, Rougie made plays, and Gomez found the love of the game all over again.
Yet here we are
This morning's news can result in three possible outcomes:
The team becomes incredibly distracted and loses what seemed to be a valuable piece
The team rallies behind Jeffress, helps him with off the field issues, the clubhouse becomes stronger, and the tight-knit group moves forward
The team completely ignores it and ownership praises Jeffress for his leadership (we will call this the Jerry method)
Which is it?
Only time will tell, but if there is a clubhouse in MLB that can handle this, it's the one in Arlington.