"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Fractured Fairy Tale

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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.


1 NoamSane   ~  Jan 4, 2011 7:19 pm

Your moral for this story is correct.

The problem is we humans are also very simple-minded. Fact is, it's probably the only way to deal with an incomprehensibly complex world, but it leads us to do things like having a "scumbag list" of people we've never met. We want to decide who the good guys and the bad guys are based on limited information. Who's worthless and who's worthy? We, of course, don't really know, but the narratives and the characters within them are how we understand the world. They're what we keep coming back for, what keeps us interested.


2 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 4, 2011 7:23 pm

Yes they are, Emma. Yes they are.
You are wise beyond your young years.

3 RIYank   ~  Jan 4, 2011 7:30 pm

Also: you can't predict baseball.

4 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 4, 2011 8:06 pm

On a somewhat related note, hearken back to Emma's post about Phiten, unleashing deserved sarcasm on the latest new age/old business fad endorsed by your usual round of gumption-deficient athletes.

A company that markets a similar product also emphatically endorsed by famous athletes was recently forced to admit that they are full of shyt. I bet Emma's sarcasm was so logical that the FDA was compelled to investigate similar products and their claims, because, yunnow... the general public is, well, pretty damn stupid.

5 MDF   ~  Jan 4, 2011 9:00 pm

Nothing here seems to me to be either "touching" or "complicated."

The “touching” donation story is probably bogus.

According to baseball-reference.com, Simon made $400,000 in 2009. We can assume that he made at least as much in 2010. Simon can afford a lawyer in the Dominican Republic (or a payout to the victim's family) without charitable donations from Tejada or Lugo.

Simon apparently fled the scene after the shooting. He also apparently initially told police that he fired the gun to stop an argument. Now he says that he fired in the air to celebrate the New Year and his lawyer says that Simon could not have shot the victim since the wound was in the victim’s chest.

The reasons for the change in Simon’s story don’t seem very complicated to me.

6 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 4, 2011 9:42 pm

You know what, I'm sorry, I can't feel bad for Alfredo Simon. Both versions of the story paint him in a completely unsympathetic light. Either he's an asshole who decided to break up a fight by firing a gun, or he's an asshole who can't help but randomly fire shots in the air.

I'm also not touched one bit by Miguel Tejada having this guy's back. He's not helping an old teammate who's fallen on hard times or whose house has burned down.

7 The Mick536   ~  Jan 4, 2011 10:06 pm

After OJ Simpson, everyone thought they understood the criminal justice system and its denizens. Stick between the lines and don't believe anything that you read in the papers. It is never about what happened and its never about justice no matter what they say.

8 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jan 4, 2011 11:37 pm

[3] Hhahahahahahahh!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver