Alfredo Simon has had a tough few days, but not nearly as tough as the family of the person who died as a result of Simon's gunshots. At first, Orioles' Dominican Republic rep, Felipe Alou, Jr., told the Orioles that he was told that Simon didn't fire the shots. Now reports are stating that Simon did fire the shots, but he shot in the air, which, it seems, happens often in the DR. The police seem to be buying that story so the charge has been changed from murder to involuntary manslaughter. In either case, Simon has bought himself some trouble and is yet one more cautionary tale for well paid athletes getting themselves into trouble.
The Fan was pondering Simon, who isn't rich by American standards, but even at the MLB minimum, he's plenty rich for the Dominican Republic. Simon follows a bunch of other athletes who have run afoul of the law for a variety of reasons over the past few years. There was that New York football player who shot himself in the leg and ended up in jail on gun charges. There was recently a college player who was arrested for having pot. There is the college baseball player who enters 2011 with a 56 game hitting streak and is now charged with raping two women. Oy.
On the eve of such events, the Fan will provide a service to all athletes who are currently in the professional ranks or in college with a high expectation of joining the professional ranks. The Fan proposes a set of rules to live by that should help the young and dumb with lots of money to consider. The big thing is that these athletes have a relatively short period of time to obtain a lifetime of earnings. Jeopardizing that income for ANY reason is just plain stupid. If you really insist on fouling your life up, at least do it like Phil Spector and wait until you are old and have enjoyed your money first.
Here are some simple rules to live by to continue earning lucrative paychecks:
1. Stay away from guns! Duh! You want to be a tough guy? Then bowl over a catcher or something. Guns get you into trouble. And if you insist on going hunting with one, make sure you have a license and don't hunt with former Vice President Cheney. Even if you have a permit for a gun, put it away. Lock it up. Put it in a safe place away from children and girlfriends, friends and wives.
2. Stay out of strip clubs. How many of these incidents seem to occur in a strip club? Geez Louise. Watch Cinemax late at night or something. Strip clubs are like speed dating. You get to heavy breathing and then get to go home by yourself in much quicker time that's all. You want to be a big man? Build kids a playground and stay out of those adult playgrounds.
3. Marijuana is still illegal. You and the Fan can argue until the cows come home on whether it should be legalized or not. But that's not the point. Right now at this moment, I-T I-S I-L-L-E-G-A-L! You get caught and you are going to be suspended. Is a high worth that kind of hassle? Nope.
4. Don't let any of your friends shoot anything into your butt. Yeah, that seems to be a no brain instruction. But look at what Rafael Palmeiro is saying. He is saying that he didn't know there was anything in that B-12 shot Miguel Tejada was shooting into his butt. First of all, doesn't Flinstones vitamins have B-12 in them? Why do you need to get a shot in your butt? Secondly, the Fan has had very few shots in his lifetime and none were administered by a friend. What the heck, right? The Fan's wife is a nurse, so that would be a maybe. But, hey Jim, can you come over and give me a shot in the butt? Uh...no.
5. Do background checks on people in your entourage. Seriously. You are going to risk your entire career because some dude in your limo is a crazy man who is going to shoot someone in an adjacent car? Put airport screeners on your limo. Anyone packing will not be able to enter the limo. Right? You hire bouncers or body guards? Then screen them for felonies for crying out loud. It only takes a few hours.
6. Break up with a girl like a man, not a monster. Things don't work out? Then you go your way and she'll go hers. Why throw a career away over someone you are not going to be with anyway? Just because you are a star doesn't mean you are every woman's dreamboat. Get over it. You've got money, buy an inflatable doll. No man should ever hit a woman and just because you are life's gift to baseball, doesn't mean you get to go Rambo on her. Again, you want to be aggressive, slide hard into second.
7. Umm...to put this delicately...keep your private parts out of a camera's lens. No filming the nasty, no texting your "personal" photos. Just keep your thing to yourself and everything will be fine. Why do so many men with money take short cuts on sex? Geez, work at it already like most men have to. If she says no, then try somebody else. Better yet, find a great woman you can marry and have a great time every single day.
8. Stay out of bars. This is similar to the strip club thing but it can get you into just as much trouble. If you must drink to have a good time, then get some Corona on the way home.
9. Stay away from wild parties. Yeah, they seem fun, but then you have a few too many and act inappropriate around a woman and next thing you know, you are charged with rape. Stupid. Or, if you avoid the problem with the girl, you drive home and get stopped by the police and add an OUI on your record and get a nice form letter from the commissioner. If you want to have fun, play a video game or a game of ping pong or something.
10. If you have sex, wear a condom. For Pete sake, how much information do you need to keep yourself safe?
11. It's okay to buy a fancy car. Hey, your hard work earned it. But once you get it, drive the speed limit. Everyone likes the thrill of driving fast, but it's not worth it. It just isn't. Do the manly thing: Use cruise control.
12. If you are with a friend and that friend gets out of control and is confronted by a police officer, walk the other way. How many athletes got themselves in trouble because they get all uppity with a cop in this situation. Be smart man. You want to help that dumb guy you were with? Then use your wealth to bail his butt out of jail. Don't put yourself in there with him.
13. You spend four or five hours a day conditioning your body to make it a fine tuned machine. Why then put illegal drugs in your system? That's like taking a driving safety course and then piling your car into a light pole on purpose. Everyone knows your name, so don't think you can hide it and keep it a secret. Won't work. You will get caught.
14. Surround yourself with good people. If you had a tough life as a kid, what good is it going to do you to bring tough people with you when you fight your way out of that world? They will just bring you down and get you into trouble.
15. Pay your darn taxes. Get some money guy to check your money guy. Whatever you do, make sure your taxes get paid. The IRS doesn't care how many homers you hit last year.
16. Don't get married if you still want to play around. Or find a woman that wants to play around with you or something. Just don't make a mess.
17. Treat people with dignity and respect. Understand that you are blessed and fortunate and not god-like. You urinate like the rest of us and you will die someday just like all of us. Treat people well all the time and it's much harder to get into trouble.
18. Don't gamble. If you need more competition than your chosen sport, play Rook or Chess or something.
That's a pretty good list. And it should cover it. Perhaps the Fan forgot two or three. But you get the idea. You have invested most of your life to get where you are. Don't throw it away now that you have reached your goal. Be smart. Have common sense. Surround yourself with solid, dependable people. Respect your body and other people. Whatever you do, don't join the long list of people who cut their careers short for a momentary high, orgasm, thrill or whatever. The craving will pass. Do like the rest of us do and pretend you don't have any money. Hard to get in trouble when you can't spend anything. Good luck!