I have to admit that when I first saw the headlines that Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon had a warrant out on him in connection with a fatal shooting on New Year’s Eve, my first reaction was to make a crack along the lines of, well now nobody could say he wasn’t an intimidating presence on the mound. But I’m glad I refrained because now Simon has turned himself in and the more I read about the case, which is still fairly muddled at this point, the sadder it all seems. The shooting was first reported as taking place after a dispute but is now apparently being viewed as an accident, according to authorities, and exactly how it happened is fairly unclear – Simon himself says that it occurred while he was trying to break up a fight between two other people, but his lawyer told The Baltimore Sun that because Simon was firing into the air, he couldn’t have shot the victim in the chest, and that the bullet must have come from another gun. I, of course, have no idea what happened, except that it wasn’t good.
The touching aspect of the article – at least, touching if we’re assuming that if Simon is guilty of anything, the shooting was indeed an accident, however stupid – is that Simon’s teammates are stepping up to help. Miguel Tejada found Simon’s lawyer and is footing the bill, with some possible assistance from former teammate Julio Lugo.
Olivares’ representation of Simon is being bankrolled by former Orioles star Miguel Tejada, a compatriot who befriended Simon before being traded to the San Diego Padres in July. Tejada said by telephone Monday morning that he spoke with friends in the Dominican Republic to help him choose a firm that could best help Simon. Tejada said he expects to pick up the bill, although former Orioles infielder Julio Lugo also has taken an active role, he said, and may help with the expenses. Lugo accompanied Simon to the police station Monday.
“Alfredo is a kid I really love a lot,” Tejada said. “He is in trouble right now, and that’s what we do, we stick together. We wanted some big company attorneys, there are some good ones here in the Dominican and this is a special case.”
Tejada said he spoke with Simon on Sunday and that the pitcher is doing well, given the circumstances. “He is fine,” Tejada said. “He told me he doesn’t have anything to do with it, he is not the one to do it, and I believe him. I tell him I am with him and if there’s anything he needs, I am here.”
Lugo said he advised Simon to surrender after he had fled from the scene. “He is scared because he recognizes that he fired shots, although they went into the air,” Lugo said…
I was thinking that this was an impressive display of team loyalty, players putting their money where their mouths are and having each other’s backs when the chips are down. And then I remembered that Miguel Tejada is a grump who’s been tied to steroids and convicted of lying to congress, and Julio Lugo has been on my scumbag list since he was arrested for domestic violence back in 2003 (he was acquitted after his wife changed her story and testified on his behalf, but I’ll let you decide for yourself whether to believe that she hit her own head on a truck).
The moral of the story is, people are complicated.