Did Burgos Blow It?

If you haven’t heard, Ambiorix Burgos was arrested for beating his girlfriend at a hotel near Shea Stadium on Monday night.

Since he was in the area, it’s assumed that Burgos was healthy enough to join the Mets sometime this month and audition for the 2009 closer’s role. After all, if he’s anywhere near the triple-digit MPH on his fastball — he hit 100 with ease before Tommy John surgery — you’d have to think he’d be among the top internal candidates to replace Billy Wagner next season.

However, the arrest — coupled with the graphic description provided by the Daily News — will not sit well with the squeaky-clean image the Wilpons try to set for their ballclub. If the front office was unhappy with Paul LoDuca’s chasing after teeny boppers, they must be fuming over this incident. And well they should — a 6’3″, 244-lb. professional athlete should be keeping his paws (and teeth) off the opposite sex.

The wrong thing to do, however, would be to release or trade Burgos. The right thing would be for the Mets to foot the bill for counseling and an anger-management program. Getting Burgos to publicly apologize is an obvious move, and should be coupled with “strongly suggesting” that Burgos make a significant donation to an organization for battered women. These are the bare minimum of actions to take place before Burgos can consider playing for the Mets again.

Hopefully, Burgos can get his personal issues straightened out. If the Mets and their fans can forgive Guillermo Mota for taking PEDs and Paul LoDuca for cheating on his wife, perhaps they can also, eventually, welcome back Burgos. But he has a long road ahead of him before that can happen. Even if it turns out — when we get the whole story — that he is in some way not guilty, the damage has been done. The court of public opinion is much more influential in cases like this, and affects a person for a much longer term — just ask Wally Backman.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude September 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm
    Brett Myers is also infamous for beating up his wife, as many met fans are quick to point out to Phillie fans on the blogs. So if the Mets do decide to retain Burgos, and it turns out Burgos is able to resurrect his career in Blue and Orange, it will set up a hypocritical conflict in that Met fans get on Philly for not taking more drastic measures in punishing their “significant other beater,” while turning the other cheek when it comes to our own team.

    I’m all about giving guys 2nd chances, but Burgos definitely needs more than a slap on the wrist if the allegations are true. Prosecute him to the full extent of the law and let him think over his actions in a jail cell. Then check him into anger management and relationship counseling (assuming his girlfriend still wants to be with him), and have him publicly apologize. When he jumps through all the hoops, then see if he can still contribute on the field. If by then his fastball has lost its zip and his control has been last, too bad. I’ll have no remorse in sending his ass packing.

  2. caryn September 9, 2008 at 4:59 pm
    Sorry Joe, but the crimes here are not equal. You’re disrespecting your mom, your sister, and any woman anywhere by equating an athlete taking PED’s with a coward allegedly beating the shit out of his girlfriend. Hanging onto him sends the message that winning ballgames and the almighty dollar is more important than women’s lives, which is how I feel every time I see Brett Myers pitch, or some asshole wearing a Brett Myers jersey.

    It’s also not just about the Wilpons wanting a squeaky-clean image, you know? How about it’s sending the message that physical violence against women is just plain wrong.

  3. joe September 9, 2008 at 5:24 pm
    Caryn, I’m astounded by your response — which means I must not have done a good job of making myself clear.

    I’m in agreement with you, which was why I said at MINIMUM, Burgos would need to apologize, enter a program, and make a donation.

    Which is why I think it’s important for the Mets NOT to release him — he needs punishment and help, and by remaining in the organization, the Mets can force him to take the necessary steps to be a positive member of our society. If the Mets let him go, he can simply move on and NOT get the help he needs.

    Sending messages is one thing, but sending a violent person back into society is another. I’d much rather he be forced to see error of his ways, and be rehabilitated, so he doesn’t attack again.

    In addition, let’s not glaze over the fact that WE DON’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS YET. Just because Burgos has been arrested, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s guilty. As unrealistic as it may look now, we might find out that Burgos is not entirely in the wrong — or that something was misreported — so we should be careful about our knee-jerk reactions. Though personally, it’s going to be hard to convince me that Burgos could be anything but guilty.