Domestic Doghouse

News reports began surfacing last evening of an issue surrounding one of the Arizona Diamondbacks players. The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that police were summoned to the residence of infielder Alberto Callaspo on Thursday in response to a domestic violence call. Callaspo was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage and booked at the Fourth Avenue jail. The initial charges are one count of assault which is a Class 1 misdemeanor and one count of criminal damage which is a Class 6 felony. Alberto Callaspo, age 24, is currently living at the Legacy Golf Resort with his wife Marianna Paola, age 22. As police arrived at the residence they found Marianny with minor injuries. Additional information has not been released as the police investigation is on-going. The Arizona Diamondbacks who were scheduled to travel to Houston Texas for a series beginning tonight against the Astros have prohibited Callaspo from traveling with the team while an internal investigation is underway by the team.

This is not the first time an Arizona Diamondbacks player has been involved in a domestic violence charge. On Christmas Eve 1999 police were summoned to the home of 26 year-old pitcher Bobby Chouinard where it was reported that he had struck his wife Erica and threatened her with a loaded gun. The Diamondbacks ownership group led by Jerry Colangelo took swift action once the charges were validated. When charges were formalized, Chouinard was released. Bobby did move on and pitch for a brief time with Colorado but soon found himself out of baseball a year later. I’m very curious to see how the current Diamondbacks management team deals with this issue. After the arrest Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall stated

We do not feel that he should be with the team due to the allegations,” Hall said. “We understand he has rights, and we respect those rights, but we obviously do not condone the behavior he has been accused of. We need this time to gather our facts and determine what exactly took place and what further action is needed, if any.

I fully appreciate this statement since it is too early to pass judgment on what should be done given that guilt has not been established. After justice has been allowed to prevail and should Callaspo be found guilty I would hope that this management group would take a similar hard line as the team did in 1999-2000 with the Chouinard case. Rightfully or wrongfully players are looked upon as role models and as a result they should be held to very high standards. Baseball is the least of this young man’s problems if these charges are true. He needs to focus on restoring himself in society and attend counseling that will assist him in overcoming this problem. My stance would be the same whether Callaspo were hitting .405 and leading the all-star voting or batting .213 and struggling to find his spot on a young roster. He must be held accountable for his actions against his wife and the property that he is accused of destroying. There is no place in society for this behavior to be condoned. If the Arizona Diamondbacks or Major League baseball allows this behavior it is one step closer to the troubles that the National Football League currently finds themselves. In football they now face a dilemma where fans are questioning the off-field behavior of players as they seem to rotate through the legal system after running afoul of the law. Each time one of these professional athletes is allowed to continue playing in front of the paying public it is an example to our children that it is ok to ignore the laws of society as long as you can produce and be a winner. I don’t believe any of us agree with this philosophy and it is time to take a stand against that. Baseball has begun to take a hard stand to clean up the game in the area of drug testing and enforcement. This should be expanded to include all areas of the law. I know this may not be spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement but there should become a code of ethics by which everyone is judged. Not just the players but the owners and front office as well. We should come to expect that from everyone. Any player, union official, or owner representative that cannot agree should really be questioned as to why. What possible purpose is served by allowing the unethical to run the game? Until there can be an agreement by the owners and the players union on the wording of the ethics clause, commissioner Bud Selig should invoke the “best interests of baseball” power that is given to help clean up the game in all areas and to stress to the teams and players that this type of behavior cannot and will not be tolerated. This would do wonders to restore the fans’ trust and confidence in the game.

I hope that Alberto Callaspo can appreciate the gravity of the situation that he now finds himself in and I pray that he will be able to overcome whatever internal demons he is fighting that result in domestic violence. He is a very talented baseball player but without a strong character he will never be successful in life.

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