by Ryan Isley
Usually when you see the term ‘BA .174’ next to a pitcher’s name, it would be a positive thing because it would be the opponent’s batting average against that pitcher. In the case of Colorado Rockies pitcher Alex White, ‘BA .174’ was about as negative as you could ever have because the ‘BA’ stood for ‘blood alcohol’ instead of ‘batting average’.
This time, even I can’t defend White. For those of you who know me or at least follow me on Twitter, you know that is saying something.
Listen, athletes are going to make mistakes. They are human after all, and all of us humans make mistakes. However, when an athlete make a glaring mistake like White did this past week, it is going to be magnified to the one millionth degree – and they need to remember that.
When White was pulled over late Saturday night and later arrested on charges that were first reported as DUI, he forgot that simple lesson about his life being in the spotlight. But that is no excuse for the 23-year-old’s actions.
According to reports, White failed a field sobriety test and then blew a .174 on the breath test and if that is confirmed by the blood test that followed, White faces an extreme DUI instead of just a regular DUI – a common practice in Arizona when someone whose blood alcohol level is over .15.
Seems like maybe White had more than the two drinks he reportedly told the police and the team he had. In all fairness though, two drinks is usually the standard answer anyone gives when asked if they had been drinking. People think that two drinks is not enough to cause them to be inebriated but also a high of enough answer for the police to believe them. Not excusable, but just the way it is.
Having a couple of drinks and then driving home may technically still put you over the legal limit depending on various factors and I will NEVER advocate drinking and driving, but there is a huge difference between a couple of drinks and a .174.
Before it was reported that White blew that high, I was willing to go to bat for him and say that it probably wasn’t that big of a deal. It was a couple drinks and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He even apologized on his Twitter account for what happened and owned it unlike other athletes in the past have done.
Now knowing that White blew a .174, I cannot stand in his corner on this one. There is no way that you can blow a .174 and still not feel the effects of the alcohol and think you are okay to drive. It just isn’t possible.
The fact that White ended up with a DUI isn’t exactly a shock to me, either.
While covering the Akron Aeros in 2010, I did a piece on White for the site I was writing for at that time. After the piece was posted, it was then picked up by the InsideCarolina.com message boards since White was a star at the University of North Carolina. I reached out to the editor of the site and offered to do a recap on each White home start for them.
While doing this, I talked to White a lot. We talked on the record, off the record, in the locker room and on the field pregame.
One night after he pitched and I interviewed him, I asked him a question that was a little off the normal subjects. I had just seen the episode of Man v. Food in which Adam Richman visited the college triangle of Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. In the episode, Richman visited a place in Chapel Hill (the home of UNC) called ‘Time Out’ to check out their specialty – a chicken and cheddar biscuit.
I asked White if he had ever visited Time Out and had the chicken and cheddar biscuit. He told me he had been there but had not tried the biscuit, adding that Time Out was the perfect place to go after a night of drinking. I laughed because I knew exactly what he was talking about and I know those spots in Akron that are perfect after having a few beverages with friends. I didn’t think anything of that conversation until Monday night when the details of White’s mishap started to come out.
This should be an eye-opening experience for White and he can learn from it – which according to his final tweet about the situation, he hopes to do:
Either way, it is something that should have never happened. Hopefully that is a lesson White learned. He just had to do it the hard way.