If not for the early-morning alleged drunk driving arrest on Tuesday, maybe we'd be saying something different about Yovani Gallardo's performance against the San Francisco Giants.
The Milwaukee Brewers ace notched his first win of the year Thursday, pitching six innings, giving up one run and even hitting a two-run homer in the Brewers' 7-2 win. Maybe people would be comparing Gallardo to Clayton Kershaw, who shutout the Giants on opening day and hit a home run. Or they'd laud Gallardo for pitching like a frontline starter against baseball's defending champs.
Instead, we're weighing his victory as a baseball player against his failure as a responsible human being. Gallardo's blood-alcohol level was measured at .22 when he taken into custody, nearly three times the legal limit. He'll pay $778 in fines for that. He earned $235,000 on Thursday, if you take his $7.75 million salary and divide it by 33, which is how many games he pitched in both 2011 and 2012.
"I don't want to say I approached the game different, but with something like that, you have to go out there and prove that you're capable of getting over it," Gallardo said. "Go out there and focus. From here on out, that's the main thing — go out there and win ballgames for the team."
Gallardo reiterated his regrets too:
"It's a big deal. It's something serious," he said. "I apologize. I'm going to do everything possible, everything I have to do, so something like that won't ever happen again."
To some critics, it doesn't matter that Gallardo won a game, so much as he was even allowed to play. Major League Baseball didn't take action against Gallardo. There's not precedent to, because as Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan points out, the MLB hasn't done anything to crackdown on player DUIs. He writes:
Because a system in which the Red Sox's [Drake] Britton can drive 111 mph in a 45-mph zone on March 8 and start on opening day for the team's Double-A affiliate is embarrassing. And one in which Gallardo can endanger people's lives and continue on like nothing happened is perfect only in baseball's backward culture.
Since the MLB isn't going to punish him, it's up to Gallardo to make right with baseball and its fans. To show us that he really thinks it's "a big deal."
Here's a good place to start: Take that $235,000 and donate it to a worthy cause — maybe Mothers Against Drunk Driving or a family in Wisconsin that lost a child to a drunk-driving accident. Heck, even half of that money, or a quarter of it.
That would mean a lot more than winning a baseball game.