Whoa, I had a totally different article all lined up about the frustration of being a West Coast fan stranded on the East Coast for vacation during a Major League Baseball postseason chase. That's out the window.
I just read that prized San Francisco Giant prospect Angel Villalona is the primary suspect in a murder investigation ongoing in the Dominican Republic.
Suffice it to say that's some shocking news. I'm not really sure where to go with it.
The Giants are my favorite sports franchise in the world and it isn't close. Until now, the ugliest scandal the team's been associated with during my tenure as a die-hard is the Barry Bonds performance-enhancing drug fiasco.
That was rough, but in a trivial, "it's only baseball" kind of way.
Killing someone in a bar? Quite the opposite and totally foreign territory.
As of this moment, there aren't many details so it's hard to know whether AnVil is indeed guilty. But the police don't seem to be looking for anyone else and Villalona turned himself in. Both are very bad signs for the young prospect, as well as the Giants.
I guess it's not quite as bad as if he were lamming it, but that's like saying at least the bomb that destroyed your home wasn't nuclear.
It seems crass to delve into the kind of professional potential the 19-year-old kid has and what a blow it would be to the Orange and Black organization to lose that talent.
When you're implicated in a homicide—shooting someone in the neck no less—I'm not about to sing your praises.
Innocent until proven guilty is still an undeniable tenet of our social ethos, but a presumption of innocence only goes so far in my book.
If the authorities sweep you up in connection with a heinous crime and name you the main suspect—even if you weren't the perpetrator in reality—it's a very safe bet you were doing something wrong.
Do completely innocent people sometimes get grabbed in the process? Absolutely. But that seems a tad optimistic at this point given the few damning facts we know.
Nope, this is almost assuredly gonna be bad.
If he's guilty, that money's gone, the No. 3 prospect in the system is gone, and the Giant brass has to wear a whole lotta foundation to cover the black eye from the public relations hit.
If he's innocent?
Villalona was still implicated in a murder.
Ask Ray Lewis how long it takes for that stigma to go away. I'm pretty sure Ray-Ray is still waiting.
The rub for the Giants is that you can't totally divorce the person from the franchise.
It's true the Gents aren't responsible for the actions of each individual in their employ.
Furthermore, there's no guarantee even the utmost scrutiny of his character would've revealed a propensity for extreme violence. I'm not suggesting the powers-that-be were negligent in any capacity.
Nor am I suggesting they are culpable in any legal or moral sense.
However, San Francisco can't totally skate on the issue.
This is someone in whom the franchise has invested heavily and it's MURDER.
Not some petty theft or even something as serious as domestic abuse. Most people don't go from zero to 60 in their criminal endeavors.
Usually, you have to work your way up to taking another human being's life. Usually, there are at least subtle hints you might be dealing with a sociopath.
Extreme arrogance, fundamental insecurity manifested as hostility, quick and violent temper, etc.—the potential markers are often there if you look closely.
Shouldn't some sort of mental profile be required before you shower millions of dollars upon a 16-year-old teenager (the club signed him in 2006)?
Or what if the Giants did carefully examine his psychological make-up and signed off on it before bestowing the doozie of a contract upon him as well as the monstrous expectations that went along with it?
Would that be better or worse?
After all, if you have some puppy-dog-turned-killer and there isn't any other traumatic event in his life that might've triggered an elemental change in his psyche, then a huge signing bonus and the fast-track to the Show would make for a pretty convenient target.
People often associate "traumatic" with a negative event because that is its most common usage, but anything causing a great deal of stress and/or disruption can be traumatic. It doesn't necessarily have to be bad.
Think being yanked from the DR, given that much coin, and being thrust into pro baseball would be a touch disruptive? Maybe a tad stressful?
Again, I'm not saying the San Francisco Giants are in any way responsible for the alleged crime. I'm just saying these are questions that could haunt those in charge if, in fact, Villalona is the killer.
Hopefully, there has been some sort of enormous misunderstanding and Angel Villalona can clear his name. Hopefully, he had nothing to do with the despicable act and his inclusion in the investigation is just a matter of wrong place/wrong time.
That's the only scenario that can save him from his nightmare and remove the San Francisco Giants from a very uncomfortable situation.
Sadly, there can be no rescue for Mario Felix de Jesus Velete—the 25-year-old man who was killed.
And that is really all that matters.