It’s Coal In Their Christmas Stocking Down In Florida…

Updated: December 23, 2006


Nether Dontrelle Willis

nor Ken Griffey Jr. are

going to have their

Merry Christmas

this Christmas

You might say it will be less Merry for Dontrelle than Ken. But they may not agree. You may not. Their Sad Christmases stem from very different sources. Willis was arrested in Florida on Friday morning on drunk driving charges. Griffey broke his hand at home in Florida. Both are painful. In their own way.

It remains to be seen which “injury” has more impact. Why both are troubling beyond either star baseball player is with so few African Americans in Major League Baseball when 2 Star Players go Down it has an inordinate impact.

First Dontrelle …..

Down in Miami apparently after a long night of Christmas Partying at 4:30AM Friday Willis pulled his Black Bentley ( nice car )to the side of the road and not equipped with the bathroom feature and he proceeded to relieve himself in the street. He had the Bad Luck to be noticed by Miami’s Finest.

As Police Officers frequently do they checked Dontrelle out for signs of intoxication, which they say they found, and when he refused a breath test, Willis was arrested and taken to the Miami-Dade County Jail and booked.

Yes we know this could be a case of a Black Man in an expensive car in the early morning hours being targeted. If so we’ll wait for Dontrelle to make that case which he has not so far. And while you might agree with refusing a sobriety test on principal, he could also have taken it and passed it. If he could have.

On the other hand African American athletes are no less vulnerable to excess and dumb decisions like driving a car while legally drunk. If you get hit by a drunk driver and you are killed it won’t matter all that much to you if they are White or Black. You are still Dead. Or your wife or your children. Still Dead.

If this was not a set up a drunk driving conviction still will certainly not derail Willis’ pitching career. It should have no visible impact on it. What it does is tarnish his image as the Perfect Role Model for Black youth to stay with Baseball themselves. Willis has twice been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award, an annual award for the MLB player who best “displays a commitment to community and an understanding of the value of helping others.”

While a drunk driving charge does not necessarily or directly effect how well any player “displays a commitment to community and an understanding of the value of helping others ” its hard to envision Dontrelle standing before an audience to accept such an award anytime soon if he is found guilty.

Across the state of Florida in Orlando …

Ken Griffey Jr. is having trouble of a different sort. He didn’t even have to leave his winter home in Orlando for his lump of coal at Christmas. While there is no information how Griffey broke his left hand there, that leaves open the possibility it was while decorating his Christmas Tree. We hope not. That would only add insult to injury at this Season of Joy ( for some ).

But no matter how he broke his hand the result is the same. It becomes the latest in a long string of injuries Ken Griffey Jr. has suffered since he left the Seattle Mariners for “home field advantage” in Cincinnati with the Reds in 2000 after 11 very successful seasons with Seattle where he began as a Rookie in 1989.

The Move did not prove good for Griffey who has been plagued with injuries every season with the Reds except his first. There are those who claim his injuries are only part of the problem. That he has never lived up to expectations since leaving the Mariners. Where he was touted as the new Hank Aaron.

Anyway with all his injury abbreviated seasons the last 6 years Griffey now 37 is never going to be listed among the very greatest Home Run Sluggers although he is close with 563 HomeRuns in 18 seasons. IF he were to play another 2 injury free seasons he “might” get as high as 650 HRs ? Maybe not.

Now left handed Griffey with his broken LEFT hand for Christmas puts his status in doubt once again. Yes the hand may heal quickly we hope and not even delay his Spring Training. Or it might hamper his 2007 season especially as an Outfielder in the League that does NOT allow Designated Hitters.

What we do know for sure

down in Florida where

Christmas is a stretch

anyway in the heat neither

Dontrelle Willis nor Ken Griffey

are going to have their

Very Merry Christmas

this Christmas Day and


their households.

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