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