It’s that time of the year again in spite of the fact that like a year ago, it’s probably still not a very good idea, but because Major League Baseball is a machine that demands its financial tithe, the 2021 season is a-go, and it’s Spring Training all over parts of Florida and Arizona, or wherever each team is actually deciding to try and get their bodies into shape for another unnecessary season of sports while a pandemic is still very much in play.
But the specific time in which I am referring to is that with Spring Training afoot, it’s only a matter of time before a baseball player, personnel, executive or alum, makes the news having gotten a DUI, most likely from a little too much fraternization and/or having a good time with the boys.
In this case, it was an alum, in former All-Star outfielder Johnny Damon, getting pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence in Florida. And naturally, because it’s completely relevant to the conversation, the article makes sure to mention that in his baseball career, he had 2,796 hits, 235 home runs, and a career batting average of .284.
It’s one of my favorite clichés about professional athletes getting in trouble with the law.
However in this case, it actually does provide a little bit of interesting context, because batting average is a decimal number measured by three digits, much like a breathalyzer test, and in the case of Johnny Damon’s two tests, he allegedly blew both a .300 and a .294, to which I hope most people can do the math, is well past three times the legal limit of .080. I mean, anything over .000 is illegal in the state of Georgia and I’m okay with that frankly because (in a non-pandemic world) ridesharing has made any sort of driving with any booze in the system completely unnecessary.
But back to the topic at hand, not only is .294 a staggeringly high blood alcohol content that literally states that nearly 30% of his body’s blood diluted by booze, it’s higher than his career batting average. Which is ironically impressive, because a career .284 batting average is actually pretty quite good, so the fact that he was able to surpass his batting average on a night out is pretty amazing.
Obviously in the grand spectrum of things this is really pathetic; most baseball fans know Damon as kind of face of the 2004 Red Sox that came back from the 3-0 deficit to the Yankees and ultimately won the World Series, but now he’s this sad sack of retired professional athlete with too much time, privilege and money to do stupid shit, like get trashed three times the legal limit. More than likely Damon won’t do any sort of time or get anything more than a fine and slap on the wrist, whereas any ordinary American would be in pound-me-in-the-ass prison by now, most definitely if it were any sort of person of color. But since there’s little anyone can actually do about it, all we can really do, is make jokes.