Monday, March 17, 2008

A Dawg-ed Plan

Svrulga has a tremendous story about Elijah Dukes that's really worth a read. He presents a balanced picture of the kid and gives us a little more depth into his background without excusing his behavior.

What's striking about it though, is the plan the Nationals put in place to deal with Dukes and to change his environment and provide him a network of support, and how much thought they've put into it to rehabilitate a player. It's not the kind of effort that they could impart for every player. But not every player needs that level of hand-holding either.

Moneyball is often misunderstood as a book about on-base percentage. It's not. It's about finding things that are undervalued, and this, in some ways, is an outgrowth of that. They've focused on the good, and tried to find ways to minimize (or neuter) the bad. It's certainly working so far.

I still have my problems with the guy. I don't begrudge him a second chance (or, to be accurate, a tenth or a thirteenth), but I can't say I've been thrilled it's on my team. But as long as he is, I'm impressed at the efforts the team is going to to make it work out.


  • Dukes has done some terrible things, but I'm not sure many of us can say that they'd be able to survive the kind of upbringing he had and not be screwed up. I'm not saying that forgives his actions, I'm just saying it's really easy for white, middle class Americans who went to good schools to sit back and say that they'd be fine even if their dad went to jail for murdering someone who sold bad crack to his mom.

    By Blogger Steven, at 3/18/2008 10:55 AM  

  • Off topic but I thought you might be interested in a greater discussion on this article on the ballpark effect:

    By Blogger pauloyd, at 3/18/2008 11:19 AM  

  • The article talked about one of his kids, but what about the other 3 or 4? (or 10)
    If he's so screwed up by growing up without his dad around, what kind of message does it send that he's doing the exact same thing to multiple children? I can't really sympathize with the guy, but I hope he gets his life turned around and maybe gives something back to the community or does dome other good.
    Maybe he just needs some religion. (What would Jesus Flores do????)

    By Blogger Rob B, at 3/18/2008 3:38 PM  

  • If Dukes is so talented, then why is he not playing?? I have failed to see his name in any of the box scores I have seen. This is especially odd since Wily Mo Pena is out with an injury.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/18/2008 5:34 PM  

  • Anonymous, you should start following the Nationals a little more closely.
    Dukes suffered a mild hamstring strain a couple days ago. However, he's already played in 12 games so far this ST.

    He's been playing very regularly, and his recent absence has nothing to do with talent, or lack thereof.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/18/2008 5:55 PM  

  • Rob,

    My guess is that Elijah doesn't have much of a choice in whether or not he gets to see his kids. Especially considering he threatened to kill at least two of them in the infamous voice mail he left on his ex wife's phone. I know another of them was by a foster child living with his mom so she is probably long gone. Quite frankly I am amazed that considering he is no longer with any of these women a social worker would deem him the better fit to care for any of the kids.

    By Blogger Effin Bananas, at 3/18/2008 6:44 PM  

  • I'm glad that the club has devoted this much attention to Elijah, and even if he doesn't pan out, hopefully we've saved a young man's life and future on some level. (Why I'm calling him a young man when I'm his ages escapes me, but anyway.)

    That said, right now, I'm thinking Felipe Lopez might need some of that lovin' given his reaction to his spring training performance, how generally poor it's been, and the escapades at the end of last season. Rather than putting the screws to him like JimBo and the club have been doing, maybe he needs a little TLC and someone to help him find his game again. I can't help but feel like he's self-destructing some and we need to figure out where mentally he's having the problems, since he clearly has a lot of potential and once upon a time had some really stellar performance.

    By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 3/18/2008 7:46 PM  

  • I think Felipe will be alright. He's five years (i think) younger than Belliard, so I would imagine that he's in the club's plans for the future. We don't really have any up-and-coming prospects at 2B, which is really where he should be playing.
    I'm not sure how to take his comments today about being on the bench. I like that he has competitiveness, but he doesn't really have much of an argument to be starting. Hopefully his attitude will improve when his game does; maybe he's just pissed about playing like shit.

    By Blogger Rob B, at 3/18/2008 9:19 PM  

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