Dr. Probert

Sports Blotter: Lexicography Edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  September 13, 2006

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IN HONOR OF the legendary Blackhawk/Red Wing goon, arrests of jocks that require multiple applications of stun weapons, mace, and/or clubs will now be refered to as “Proberts.”
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The Probert
A lot of strange incidents involving minor-league baseball have colored the “Briefs” sections of national sports coverage this year — everything from Pete Rose’s son doing time for distributing a drug whose name no one can pronounce and a frog-themed mascot arrested for molestation to a team leading a Nat Turner–style revolt against a promotion that left them being managed by fans. So it only makes sense that this baseball season would wind down with an absurd, knock-down, drag-out, end-of-Blazing Saddles–style brawl between the two teams vying for the American Association, one that featured a Bob Probert–level resisting job by an outfielder gone mental.

As midnight on the fifth-year anniversary of 9/11 struck at a bar called Half Time Rec in St. Paul, Minnesota, the joint exploded in a brawl between the St. Paul Saints and the Forth Worth Cats, who had just finished playing the final game of the AA season (the Cats won, 2-1). When police arrived to find “about 30 people” throwing punches, most of the patrons stopped the fight. But “one individual in particular kept at it,” according to police reports. That individual was Cats outfielder Steve Zacuto, who allegedly put a 55-year-old cop in a choke-hold and lifted him completely off the ground.

Right away, a pile of cops tried to beat Zacuto’s brains in, using nightsticks and mace among other things, but the guy wouldn’t calm down. Even after they got the cuffs on him, he wouldn’t cooperate, instead going completely limp and forcing police to drag him out of the bar on his face. The incident comes on the heels of several eerily similar sports arrests this summer, from the demeaning taser/Miami hotel lobby bust of an enraged Dale Davis to the taser takedown of Cincinnati Bengal DT Matthias Askew, and the most celebrated of them all, the violent struggle between Maurice Clarett — who never fought a tackle that hard in Denver training camp — and the Ohio police who had the misfortune to catch him driving a car full of felonies.

All of these busts follow the behavioral profile long ago established by legendary hockey goon Bob “The Bad One” Probert, who set a standard for pro athletes everywhere by refusing to go down with the first taser shot in his Florida cocaine-related arrest. In fact, for shorthand purposes we might as well rename such instances “Proberts” — arrests of jocks that require multiple applications of stun weapons, mace, and/or clubs.

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What's eating Gilbert?
Okay, so we have a Probert. Now how about an Arenas-o-sault? After whom else would we name the offense of begging off an arrest on the grounds of being a pro athlete?

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