Monday, December 06, 2004

Rockies terminate Neagle's contract 

So, Denny Neagle, free agent disaster and purported starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, is speeding Friday night, and gets pulled over.

A woman named Jill Russell was in his car. She apparently told the police officer that Neagle had paid her $40 for oral sex. Which seems to be a curious thing to volunteer, since apparently, they weren't caught in the act, although Neagle's belt was supposedly undone.

Neagle gets written up on a misdemeanor, and is issued a court summons. In response, the Rockies terminate Neagle's contract.

According to the article: Colorado cited section 7 (b) (1) of the Uniform Player Contract, which states the team can terminate the contract if a player shall ``fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition.''

Which should be pretty scary for major league players, many of whom fail to conform their personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship. I'm a bit curious about how many players there are out there who have done something skankier than giving some 40 year old woman a couple of twenties for what an acquaintance of mine refers to as "Bill Clinton sex". I'd wager it is pretty high...I'm wondering if the Rangers, right now, might not be concocting a scheme involving Chan Ho Park, lots of liquor, a couple of self-employed models, and a video camera...

One also has to wonder why Neagle was tooling about with this particularly lady of the evening, rather than going to one of these Executive Relaxation Centers that you see advertised. Yeah, those places probably cost more than $40, but given that Neagle is in the midst of a $51 million deal with Colorado, I imagine that he could certainly afford it.

End of the day, I don't think the Rockies will prevail on this deal, but they'll create enough of a ruckus that Neagle will likely accept less than the $19 million he's currently owed by Colorado.

And Colorado may be on the vanguard of a new trend...using a player's natural predilection for bad behavior as a hedge against a bad contract.

I'm sure Billy Beane is already crunching the numbers on some miscreant, thinking, "Okay, we give him a four year, $48 million deal, backloaded so we are only paying him $12 million the first two years. He's a notorious womanizer, he drinks too much, he felt up the owner's wife at a Christmas party with his last club, and I hear he's into fighting pit bulls. We get him in here on the cheap the first two years, then bust him in the second offseason, and void the deal...it is brilliant!!!"

Of course, when the rogue player finds Jesus in his first spring training with the A's and turns his life around, Beane then gets stuck, and has to figure out if singing "Oh What a Friend We Have In Jesus" offkey in the locker room constitutes poor citizenship, or has to bring Jeremy Giambi back to try to get the reformed ne'er-do-well back into the party lifestyle.

This also reminds me of the problems between Charles Haley and Tim Harris on the 49ers in the early 90s, that led to Haley being traded...apparently, Haley was unhappy that Harris had been brought in to share Haley's passrushing linebacker duties, and expressed his displeasure by going out to the parking lot and peeing on Harris's new Mercedes. Harris went out and, not surprisingly, went berzerk, resulting in the two getting into a fistfight in the parking lot, something I would have paid a great deal to see.

So maybe we can have someone go pee on Chan Ho Park's car, in the hopes of setting him off and causing him to freak out and start a fight, allowing the Rangers to void his contract. Doug Brocail seems like an ideal candidate...he's apparently a little nuts, likes to fight, and will likely do whatever Buck Showalter tells him to do. And that would probably be the only thing Brocail can do to earn his $1 million salary for 2005.

Or maybe we can get Chan Ho Park to pee on someone else's car...that might be a better bet. Convince him it is part of a hazing ritual or something. Then catch him on camera, have it shown on Sportscenter 800 times with the blur over the naughty bits. Selig would rage, people would write angry letters...that might work.

Ultimately, though, if there is a lesson to be learned, it is the same one that everyone should have learned along with Hugh Grant a decade ago...if you are going to pay for it, cough up enough so that you don't have to do it in your car.

Particularly if you are a highly paid athlete whose team is desperate for any excuse to dump you and your contract.

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