So I decided to do a two-part post documenting some of the best off-field incidents that have landed athletes under that hot, unwanted spotlight. First up, the MLB, because this actually took some research...finding NFL players on the wrong side of the law is easier than winning a heterosexual contest against Jeff Garcia-and he's gay!
Note: These are not in a particular order - worst first, etc. It's random, but feel free to comment if you have a better incident that you feel needs some screen time.
1. The Doctor and Sheff fight for Freedom!
People tend to forget how good Dwight Gooden was. What people don't forget is how much trouble he got himself into during his playing career. This incident is amazing because not only did it involve Gooden and his nephew Gary Sheffield, it also included some other Jeri-curled pals (assuming), and the Tampa Police Department. The duo was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction - being black, driving a nice car - and decided to start karate kicking police. Apparently, when the dust settled and the jeri-curl juice dried, it became one of the catalysts that sparked the 1987 Tampa riots. Take that Giles' brothers, you fucking posers...
2. Rocky vs. Boomer
Just for reference, I love this story, it makes me want to pump my fists with all the Guidos I see going towards the Meat-Packing district. The premise? Back in the fall of '02, David Wells got mouthy with a 5'7'' bartender from Yonkers in an Upper East Side diner. Wells came away from the fight with fresh stitches in his head, missing two teeth, and a newly developed hole where his pride used to sit and eat large buckets of popcorn chicken. The best part about the story is Wells was fucking tanked, and he decided to call 911 and eventually file a civil suit against the mini-enforcer. Meanwhile, this is the same guy who claims to be a "bad-ass" and loves to brag about riding his Harley and drinking until he blacks out. What a little bitch. Listen to the 911 call here.
3. Drunk Driving Fever Sweeps the Offseason of '06!
There have been dozens of current and ex-MLB players arrested for driving under the influence or driving shit-your-pants drunk over the years, but here are two of my favorites, for numerous reasons. D-Train, pioneer of the flat brim on black players who was still with the Marlins at the time, got leveled at a nightclub in Miami and was found by cops confused and stumbling around his car. Not a great physical state to drive in. LaRussa - who I assume was coming from a dirty dive bar frequented by a bunch of fat, old Floridians looking to soak up some sun before they die - fell asleep while stopped at a red light. How fucking bombed do you have to be in order to lose the ability to keep yourself awake in a running car for 30 seconds? I can just picture him sitting behind the wheel of his car, smoking a Newport that he bummed off of some groupie, sipping from an icy can of Natural Light, slowly nodding off to the soothing sound of AM radio.
4. The Bad Guys Won, but also Lost on Occasion...
In 1986, New York City was swept up in Mets fever. Everyone around wanted a piece of this lovable bunch of coke-heads, drunks, Jesus Junkies and gang-bangers...Even the Houston police department. Mets fever finally peaked in July of that year, while the Mets were in Houston for a series against Astros. The 4 players pictured above ended up brawling with a bunch of off-duty police officers outside a Houston hot-spot. What makes me scratch my head and sniff is this - this is the team that had "KO" Ray Knight, Daryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell on it - why were these guys the ones who started firing punches at a bunch of Texan hicks? Maybe it's a testament to the toughness of this team. Most likely it's a testament to cocaine and lite beer.
5. Barfing out of a Contract
Scott Spiezio, a pinch hitter for the Cardinals who's claim-to-fame is a patch of pubic hair on his chin that he dyes pink, went a little overboard earlier this year while he was out on the town during Spring Training. Not only did Spiezio get hammered and decide to drive, he also decided to drive his car into his neighbor's house. When he was confronted by his female neighbor, he proceeded to puke on her and then punch her in the eye. Taking a step back from the story, I have to say, that right there is what you call a fucking Saturday night, my friends! And If Spiezio wasn't headed to jail, maybe the following weekend he could have body-slammed an elderly lady and then kicked her dog into a drainage pipe as an encore.
Note: Spiezio was cut one day later by the Cards.
6. Public Spousal Abuse Part 1
Brett Myers is a Jack-of-All-Trades kind of guy. Last year, when the Phillies lost closer Tom Gordon to injury, they "smartly" moved their ace into the role. Showing his versatility, Myers also has punching his wife in the face on a crowded Boston street in 2006 on his resume, and calling a member of the Philadelphia media a "fucking retard", and then promptly challenging the reporter to a fist fight to boot. He can do everything folks, go ahead and sign up for the show at the door.
7. Public Spousal Abuse Part 2
Maybe Brett Myers learned his spousal abuse tricks from Julio Lugo, another deadbeat loser who kicked his wife's ass. In 2003, at the beginning of his 4th season with the Astros, Lugo punched his wife in the face and then, to make sure she understood his point, slammed her head onto the hood of his car, while onlookers pretended to see nothing. Then, after he was arrested, he accused her of exaggerating the story. In short, Lugo is a real romantic.
8. Trick or Treat and Die
The lunatic tales of Albert "Joey" Belle are a dime a dozen. He corked his bat, he smashed Kenny Lofton's boombox, he smashed the thermostat when someone dared change it from his favorite temperature, he threw a ball at a fan who was heckling him - but my new two favorites, I never heard of until today. On Halloween night 1995, some local kids egged Belle's house for being such a sweet guy. How did Belle react? He ran the kids down in his car. You know, typical reaction. The second story happened after he retired, and is just creepy as hell. He was arrested for stalking a high-priced escort, and was cited for attaching a GPS tracker to her car. I guess he was just trying to keep his woman in check, that's all, normal stuff.
9. A Tasered Ray
Getting old sucks, but being a middle-reliever for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays this year (take your $1 fine and shove it up your ass) isn't a bad gig. So in order for Al Reyes to blow off some steam, ignore his approaching middle-age, and celebrate the Rays not sucking cock, he needed to go out and get shit-faced, get punched in the face, spit blood on patrons, resist arrest, get tasered once, get tasered twice, and then get thrown in jail. Well, if that's the way birthdays start happening, then I can't fucking wait until I hit my prime.
10. Attack in Paradise!
I probably saved this one for last, because at one point in college, I was somewhat acquainted with Sidney Ponson. And by acquainted, I mean Sidney would come into the bar I worked at, drink 64 beers, get to the point where his island accent was overwhelmingly incoherent, and then challenge people to fights and grab the shot girl's asses. And this was before he grew his greasy hair long and kept it shaved, so I would look up from my specific bar and see this huge, stumbling bald guy who looked like a soccer hooligan from Poland, but spoke like one of the Jamaicans stationed in the Inner Harbor, flipping dime bags of oregano to college kids from John Hopkins. Anyway, taking a step away from memory lane, Ponson went back to Aruba, was knighted (apparently Arubans can be 'knighted') and then punched out a local Judge during a beach fight on Christmas Day. Three months later he got a DUI and a few days after that he beat-up a Beltway hick in a Baltimore restaurant. Ponson is still at large with the Texas Rangers, and is probably drunk.