Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dukes a hazard

Is it really a surprise that Elijah Dukes has landed in trouble again?

The Devil Rays suspended their Class AAA outfielder this weekend, marking yet another chapter in Dukes' problem-filled career.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of last season when he was with the Biscuits, but he lived up to his reputation -- both in baseball talent and off-the-field problems. Sure, he hit .287 with 18 home runs and 73 RBIs. He was also a jerk, to umpires, teammates and, of course, sports writers.

His resume from last season includes five ejections (April 24, May 16, June 1, June 21, July 31), one missed bus (the Biscuits commute to Birmingham and Dukes didn't show up in time, but blamed everyone else) and plenty of boisterous or demeaning comments in between.

He drew a three-game suspension after bumping a pitcher (yes, a pitcher) at Birmingham and almost starting a brawl June 1. He took six games off after getting kicked out July 31.

To be fair, he didn't deserve the June 21 ejection. Called out on a not-so-bang-bang play at first, he was kicked out quicker than you can say "bang-bang."

Our photographers got a shot of the play that showed his foot on the bag and the ball a few feet from the first baseman's glove. Dukes taped a copy of the picture on the umpire's door the next day. (Look for the photo on Monday.)

On the next "Dukes a hazard," his MIA weekend and his Southern League All-Star experience. Coming soon ...


frisbee said...

can someone tell me WHY dukes was suspended? and can someone tell me WHAT is wrong with the radar gun at riverwalk stadium? it looks like the radar issue could be explained in the biscuit notes in the paper after home games.

Stacy Long said...

Yes, the radar gun can be explained. By the way, you're the first to ask about it.

A rat apparently nibbled into the cable leading to the display. They have to run another cable. It's been out at least two series.

As far as Dukes, I could venture a guess, but I don't know.

Stacy Long said...

From Baseball America, which is based in Durham ...

"Dukes got into an altercation with teammate Ryan Knox in front of the elevator at the club's hotel while they were on the road in Charlotte on Saturday night."

Baseball America indirectly quotes Dukes saying that Knox "started the fight, and he said he would be cleard of any wrongdoing."

If that's true, I wonder what set Knox off?

Knox -- 6-foot-1, 184 pounds
Dukes -- 6-foot-2, 225 pounds