Elijah Dukes does community service, becomes zoo tycoon

'Duk

One of the nice things about being placed on the DL is that it frees you up to leave the team and do the things you need to get done.

Like, say, community service that will allow you to end your probation for a drug charge a little earlier than expected.

Also, if you're really, really lucky, you'll be able to do the time while your team is playing the Marlins, allowing you to get up to Tampa and get your work done in, of all places, a nice and beautiful zoo.

The above is exactly what Nats outfielder Elijah Dukes did from April 17 to 20, putting in 25 service hours at the Lowry Park Zoo. He is now off the legal hook for a drug charge he took in Jan. 2007.

But while I got excited over visions of Dukes training seals to play the trumpet or doing research that will increase the panda population in Central Asia, it looks like Dukes was assigned to some pretty mundane stuff. I don't even think there was any elephant remnants involved, either.

Dukes' lawyer, from the Tampa Tribune:

"He did everything from helping to erect a fence to landscaping to tidying up the janitorial closet. He took lunch with the guys. Sweeping. He did all of those things. He didn't have a plush job where he'd sit here and tell people where the bathroom is."

As our guy Chalk over at Bugs & Cranks notes, Lowry Park Zoo was rated the most family friendly zoo in the nation by Child magazine. After that brief employment stint by Elijah "You Dead, Dawg" Dukes, I'm sure they'll have no problem holding onto that ranking.