The Washington Nationals have clearly started off on the wrong foot. They have the worst record in Major League Baseball, and now they have fined a young man, trying to get his life back on the right track, for doing charity work.
On Saturday April 18, 2009 Elijah Dukes, who is one of the few shining spots for Washington Nationals Organization this year, was benched and fined 500 dollars for showing up five minutes late to the game.
Dukes career has been filled with off the field problems much worse than this. He has been arrested several times and even threatened to murder his wife, but since coming to the Nationals Dukes has began to get his life on track.
Dukes was doing charity work for the Nationals at a nearby Little League field. Dukes showed up five minutes late to the game after this service. Everybody knows that rules are rules, but there are times when you have to be lenient.
Dukes was doing this charity work for the team. It wasn’t even on his own time that he showed up late, the organization knew about the charity work.
Also Dukes is probably doing this service as part of him trying to turn his life around. Now Dukes is being punished for good things. Who knows maybe Dukes will think that this is a sign to go back to his old lifestyle, if trying to do good things is going to get him punished why try?
In the end what it comes down to is that Dukes did break a rule, and most times Manny Acta would be correct for benching a tardy player, but there are also times when Acta should try to be more lenient.
If Dukes was out partying before the game, and he showed up late Acta could bench him. Dukes showed up late after community service, he should not be benched.