A Time for Healing

“Released pitcher Bobby Chouinard.” Never have four little words ever carried so much emotion. For anyone outside of Phoenix, that is all they would see when perusing the Major League Baseball transaction log. Unless they followed the team closely last year, they may never even know who Bobby Chouinard is. But those who have been following the events of the past six weeks know that this is only the end of chapter one of this saga.

To briefly recap, Bobby Chouinard has been charged with aggravated assault in the Christmas night domestic violence call. He has admitted pointing a loaded gun at his wife Erica as well as pointing the gun at himself. He is also charged with attempting to strangle her. The argument supposedly was over Erica’s reluctance to buy Bobby more beer.

After the story broke, the Diamondbacks found themselves in the midst of a public relations nightmare. Fans and others in the community called for Chouinard’s head on a platter. The old adage innocent until proven guilty seems to have no bearing on this case. No one within the organization or outside is condoning this type of behavior. In reality, the Diamondbacks were against the wall. On one hand, they have stressed character since becoming a franchise. On the other hand, they have an employee and his family in turmoil and begging for help. The longer this story went, the worse it became. As Chouinard awaited his trial date, he insisted that he would report to spring training and pitch for the Diamondbacks. It was obvious from listening to interviews with other players and representatives of the Diamondbacks that this would become a major distraction in the clubhouse and with the fans. Something would have to be done if the team were to focus on repeating their on-field success.

Team officials met with Bobby Chouinard and agreed that it would be best if Chouinard sever his relationship with the Diamondbacks. So on February 2, Bobby asked to be released from the team and the Diamondbacks honored his request. I cannot imagine what this young family is going through. A father with a drinking problem that causes him to lose control. A wife that desperately loves her husband but has lived all their married life in an environment where she must fear for her safety. A young child who is growing up in a less than ideal environment where he witnesses his father threaten his mother. Taking this perspective, baseball seems trivial compared to the problems that still await them. During the press conference announcing this decision, Chouinard was quoted as saying he needed to concentrate on his wife and family to resolve issues he is having. It is a sad story and a sad situation and your heart goes out to them. So much tragedy, so many dreams lost any yet this is lost in those four words, “Released pitcher Bobby Chouinard.”

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