Tampa Bay Devil Rays center fielder Elijah Dukes is both a super talent and a common punk, and even putting it that way might be charitable if his wife's allegations that he threatened to kill her and her kids are true.
Tampa Bay is in a horrible situation right now, and not simply because the Devil Rays now have missed their window of opportunity to trade from their strength -- a surplus of outfielders -- and acquire what they really need: pitching.
|Tampa Bay's minor league affiliates said they won't take Dukes back -- and that was before this controversy. (AP)|
Unless NiShea Gilbert files charges that her husband threatened to kill her, there might be nothing the Devil Rays legally can do to shed this kid, at least in the short term. Because without criminal charges and convictions, clubs cannot simply void contracts. The players association will have that overturned more quickly than you can say "wrongful termination."
Yet if the Rays are stuck with Dukes -- they can't obtain a restraining order, as Gilbert has -- it might be only a matter of time before they have a tragedy on their hands.
Gilbert played for St. Petersburg Times reporters a voice mail she says Dukes left for her, and this is how they transcribed the voice on the phone: "Hey, dawg. It's on, dawg. You dead, dawg. I ain't even bulls-------. Your kids too, dawg. It don't even matter to me who is in the car with you. N-----, all I know is, n-----, when I see your m-----f------ a-- riding, dawg, it's on. As a matter of fact, I'm coming to your m-----f------ house."
Gilbert also says Dukes called and told her to check her cell phone, to which -- she says -- he sent a text message with a photo of a pistol.
Dukes' response to the St. Pete Times reporters when they asked for a response to these allegations?
"I've got to go. I've got a video game to finish."
Now what's this guy's on-base percentage again? He does lead all AL rookies with eight home runs.
It's important to note here to remind that Dukes hasn't been convicted.
That he is a punk, though, is evident simply from reading the police blotter. According to legal documents, Dukes has been arrested at least five times since 2003.
Also, as if he wasn't talented enough, he has discovered a unique way for a guy to stick with the major league club: He caused so much trouble while playing in Triple-A Durham and Double-A Montgomery the past two seasons that both affiliates have told the Devil Rays that they will not take him back.