Cleat Geeks

Aren’t There are only 3 Strikes in Baseball?

After 34 months in prison, former No. 1 overall draft pick Matt Bush will get yet another opportunity to play baseball. The Texas Rangers signed Bush to a minor-league deal this past Friday.Bush2pics

Bush is considered one of the biggest draft busts of all time. His numbers on the field never matched his draft slot, but it was his antics off the field that cemented his legacy. Bush, who has had numerous run-ins with the law, most of which have involved alcohol. Was actually suspended before he ever took the field with the San Diego Padres organization after getting into a fight outside a bar in Arizona. Strike 1.

After struggling to hit early in his career, the Padres converted Bush to a pitcher in 2007. He underwent Tommy John surgery, and missed all of 2008.

In 2009, Bush’s off the field issues returned. He was allegedly involved in a drunken brawl at a high school where he assaulted two lacrosse players. The Padres cut ties with Bush shortly after the incident, sending him to the Toronto Blue Jays. Strike 2.

He didn’t last long. A little over a month later, Bush reportedly threw a baseball at a woman’s head and slammed her head on a car window while attending a party. The Blue Jays released Bush following the incident. Strike 3.

MattBushTampaBush received another opportunity with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. He pitched in the team’s minor-league system in both 2010 and 2011, and was moving closer to the majors. Bush had a chance to open the season in Triple-A in 2012, but was involved in another off the field incident.

During spring training, Bush was arrested for multiple DUI-related charges. He hit a 72-year-old man with a truck, and then drove over the man’s head while fleeing the scene. Bush was also driving with a suspended license. Bush eventually accepted a plea bargain which called for 51 months in prison. Strike 4.

Bush was released in October after serving 34 months of his sentence, and is now getting a fourth chance in baseball at age 29, not playing since 2011. And I do not like the message it sends to our young athletes who are scratching and clawing everyday to try and make a major league roster.

I do understand, Bush served his time, but I also understand his history of awful behavior. If he was not a former No. 1 overall pick, there’s no chance he would be back in baseball. Though it’s just a minor-league signing, the Rangers organization will now have to face questions about whether signing Bush is really worth the risk given his past.

MattBushTradingCardMoreover, the bigger issue for me, is what the Ranger’s organization says to their young kids who have not had questionable character, but have shown good work ethics yet are held down in the system because they are not number 1 picks. How do they feel about this signing? I lost some respect for the Texas Ranger organization when I first read this story on Big League Stew written by Chris Cwik.

I thought there was only 3 strikes in baseball, and you were called out. Giving a player extra pitches, throws a big wrench in the minor league system.

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