Tuesday Rockpile: Alex White and the .174 BAC

Alex White was hammered in historic fashion in his short time with the Rockies in 2011. Apparently, he was even more hammered Saturday night.

I am a naive person who always tries to believe in the best of people. I find initial resistance to believing guilt of almost any suspect of a heinous crime. Surely there must be an explanation. When Alex White was pulled over on Saturday night and arrested for a DUI, his situation was no different. After all, most anyone who has enjoyed a night out with alcohol has likely driven home just a little over the legal limit at least once. It is a stupid mistake, but one borne out of poor decisions by himself and those around him, not of a heinous maliciousness.

Plus, Alex White apologized, owned the error, didn't give excuses and met it head on:

"It's very unfortunate, and I'm completely embarrassed," said White, 23. "It was very stupid, and I let down a lot of people, most important my family, this organization and the fans. That's not the type of person I am." - Alex White, via Patrick Saunders

Okay...so he is young, he was enjoying his Tar Heels, his alma mater, trounce Duke on the hardwood. It happens. He told Dan O'Dowd he had two drinks, so he probably wasn't that much over the .08 BAC limit.

Except that "two drink" thing, which is what he told O'Dowd while sober the next day...it was a complete lie. It had to be, because yesterday, we learned White blew a .174 on the breathalizer, more than twice the legal limit. White is facing an "extreme DUI" charge, which is really just a way to say he was plastered and will be punished more strongly by the legal system. The Scottsdale Police Department is waiting on a blood test to confirm, but he has a ways to go (.150) before he falls out of the "extreme" range.

This was not "unfortunate" as White put it, as if some poor luck befell him. At his listed 220 pounds (and if we assume he drank over the course of three hours watching the game) to reach a .174 BAC, White would have had to consume 10-12 alcoholic beverages. If you don't trust that calculator, try this one, or this, or this, or this or this. It's all the same. Not two, but ten. It may not have been premeditated malice, but resoundingly stupid certainly doesn't suffice to describe the error in judgment here. A person with that BAC should be anywhere but behind the wheel. The number is so high that variables such an empty stomach or difference in weight does not cut the gap.

I have personally never gotten a DUI, but those near me have. One included the death of an innocent person and a seven year jail sentence. That might make me less capable of being rational on the subject, or it might make me more informed to make a fair judgement. You can make that call.

A few weeks ago, Dan O'Dowd called out Jhoulys Chacin in the media for being overweight and unreachable. Sunday, O'Dowd acknowledged White's mistake but stated the team would allow all associated punishment to come from the legal system. That was likely based on White "two-drink" claim. It will be interesting to see how this changes things, if it does. As Troy Renck mentioned in his mailbag this morning:

Teams are limited in the discipline that can be exercised, and MLB has no policy in place.

...but in this case, no discipline offered by the Rockies would be curious in the least given past events.

Dan O'Dowd has made a lot of noise this off-season about accountability and guys that "get it." Players were shipped off for not "getting it" on the field and off the field. The regime has shown the desire to punish players with off-the-field troubles when it is convenient. I'm not completely sure what "building a culture of value in a world of performance" actually means, but I'd be curious to see how a DUI with a .174 BAC could be explained away.

Honestly, if the Rockies had not put such a large onus on accountability and culture this offseason, I might be able to let it slide as one horrible potentially tragic mistake, choosing to focus on the word "one." It sure would send a confusing message, though, if no punishment were handed down. What would "culture of value" mean then?

Off Topic

Links

Ubaldo Jimenez's spring debut is a bumpy one as Cleveland Indians absorb 8-6 loss to Reds | cleveland.com News of White's DUI has certainly reached Cleveland, where his legal troubles (added to the disturbing the peace incident with Drew Pomeranz) has actually eased the pain of Indians fans watching Ubaldo Jimenez pitch. He allowed five runs in the first inning of his first spring training game after going 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA in Cleveland last season.

Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio back on track with "miracle" - Woody Paige Even if the words come from Paige's pen, the story of Juan Nicasio is just too beautiful to ignore.

Rafael Betancourt's slow style part of his effectiveness for Rockies - Troy Renck mentions a topic I doubt you've ever noticed.

Baseball Prospectus | Prospectus Preview: NL West 2012 Season Preview This is behind a paywall. It is penned as a discussion between Geoff Young (Padres fan) and Jay Jaffe (Dodgers fan) who have been writing about baseball about as long as I've been a baseball fan. The true worth of this piece is the PECOTA projections. The Rockies are projected 3rd in the division with an 80-82 record. The rest, especially about the Rockies, unfortunately misses the mark. There is your standard Jim Tracy bashing, prodding at flyball pitchers, and Marco Scutaro is suggested as a poor fit for the roster (huh?). The worst part is question 4:

How does Colorado get out from under Todd Helton's contract?

Wait...what? Officially, Todd Helton's large contract finished in 2011. It was extended creatively and 2012 marks the beginning of the new contract. He is going to make $4.9million in 2012, less than $1million more than Rafael Betancourt, ranked 4th on the team. He was worth 2.6 fWAR in 2011. Todd Helton's contract might have been difficult from 2008-10, but it sure is not a concern in 2012. Yet there is 150 words devoted to this blockage of roster construction. For the record, the Rockies have paid $127.8million to Helton over the "big extension," over which he has amassed 32.9 fWAR, roughly $3.9/fWAR. That certainly isn't a steal, but given the injuries he has suffered, that's a pretty strong rate of return without considering defensive scoops at first base, leadership and marketing.

Canada's Molleken all business at Rockies camp - Jeff Francis is gone, but we still have a Canadian vying for big league time.

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