As difficult as this summer has been for those of us counted among the Red Sox faithful, let's all agree: it would be a hell of a lot worse to be a New York Mets fan right now. It's not just that the team sucks balls on the field — so do the Pirates, and the Royals, and the Orioles. Yet to be a fan of those teams doesn't even touch the level of pain Mets fans currently experience.
This Mets season has been so excruciating, it's almost as though the team is suffering all the bad sports karma willed into being by the seemingly failure-proof Yankees' profligate spending. In fact, there's almost a Picture of Dorian Gray angle here, with the Mets taking on all the character warts, bad on-field luck, and scandal damage that by rights ought to belong to New York's other team. The most recent example of this trend involves Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez, the team's hot-headed, increasingly rag-armed closer who allegedly beat up his father-in-law after a game.
Last week, Rodriguez was apparently pissed about not being called into service against the Rockies in a bases-loaded situation that eventually saw fellow Mets reliever Manny Acosta give up a grand slam in a 6-2 loss. After the game, K-Rod was visibly upset, and when a reporter tried to ask him how he felt about not getting the ball, he shouted, "Mind your own fucking business!" Then he went off to the team's family lounge, where his common-law wife, Daian Pena, her 53-year-old father, Carlos Pena, and Rodriguez's mother were waiting for him. At one point, Carlos told K-Rod, "Man up, stop acting like a baby, and play better" — to which Rodriguez's mother told Pena to shut up, leading to a shouting match.
Rodriguez exploded, reportedly telling Pena, "You can't talk to my mami that way!" before allegedly "raining blows" on Pena. Security was called, Pena was hospitalized, and Rodriguez took off in his white Lamborghini. He later returned and was arrested on charges of assault and harassment.
K-Rod has a history of violent confrontations. There was an order of protection against him in his native Venezuela and another alleged incident with Daian is being investigated in California. He's gotten into confrontations with bullpen coach Randy Niemann, former Mets official Tony Bernazard, and then-Yankees reliever Brian Bruney before a Subway Series game last year.
Rodriguez was given a two-game suspension (costing him upward of $125,000 in salary) and upon his return earlier this week, it was discovered that he suffered a torn ligament in his thumb during the alleged assault, ending his season. It could get worse, as he faces up to a year in jail. This case promises to unfold in very public fashion and could become a kind of test case for how pro teams deal with athletes with domestic-violence problems. Give K-Rod 62 points, and stay tuned.
The strange tale of former NFL quarterback Josh Booty took another turn this past week when his abuse suit against the Orange County Sheriff's Department was settled for . . . eight thousand dollars.