Matt Bush was the 1st overall pick of the 2004 MLB Draft by his hometown Padres straight out of high school, but after eight years of unfortunate injuries, excessive drinking, and reckless behavior, the 26-year old has reached the end of his once promising baseball career. On the afternoon of March 22 in Charlotte County Florida, while driving a teammate’s vehicle at a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, Matt Bush rear-ended a 72-year old motorcyclist.
Bush was arrested for multiple DUI-related charges, driving with a suspended license, and fleeing the scene of an injury accident. He also admitted to Florida Highway Patrol officers that he had hit a pole with this vehicle earlier the same day. The victim still lies in a coma (as of this posting) with a fractured wrist, broken ribs, several broken bones in his back, hemorrhaging in his brain, and a collapsed lung. Matt Bush, being held in jail without bond, awaits his May 21st arraignment. His third and most current team, the Tampa Bay Rays, have announced that they are finished with him. It’s finally and deservedly the end of MLB dreams for Matt Bush!
The San Diego phenom was originally signed as a shortstop for the second highest bonus ever given by the Padres ($3.15M). However, during his signing day celebration at Petco Field, closed circuit cameras caught his entourage stealing silverware from the Padres luxury suite. Also, less than two weeks after being drafted he was arrested following a drunken altercation outside a nightclub. No doubt this kid was a punk from the beginning, but because of his rare athletic talents Matt Bush was given more chances to succeed. Early on, Bush admitted that he took his first drink at 10 or 11 years old and that should have been a sign of things to come, or at least all the counseling and detox that would be needed. His hitting floundered with a career .219 batting average over his first three minor league seasons, and so he re-invented himself as a relief pitcher with a mid-90s fastball and devastating curveball. He quickly developed elbow problems requiring “Tommy John” surgery by late 2007, and was subsequently released by the Padres. Then, he was cut by Toronto in less than two months for violating their zero-tolerance policy.
Before signing with the Rays in 2010, Bush already had TWO DUI arrests and a suspended license, and even spent 120 days in court-ordered rehab. After working through all this, he was expected to start at AAA Durham this season for the Rays and finally be called up to the big show possibly by mid-season. “Everything was going really, really well for him and us……..and all of a sudden this thing happens”, said Rays skipper Joe Maddon. Maddon also defended his position of being one of the few teams that continue to stock beer in the clubhouse saying, “It did not play a factor in what transpired (with Bush)”. Really, Joe? Didn’t anybody remember this guy was an admitted alcoholic? Free beer in front of Matt Bush is NOT a good scenario, you know what I mean? Just ask Josh Hamilton about that. Oddly, Bush does hold one MLB distinction…..…….he is one of only three #1 overall MLB draft picks to have never played a single day in the majors. The other two are Steve Chilcott (a catcher with the Mets selected in 1966), and Brian Taylor (a left-handed pitcher selected by the Yankees in 1991). To this day, the Padres regret their selection of Bush over such now accomplished MLB stars as Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver who were available in the draft at that same time.
Matt Bush was projected to be the next Allan Trammell (also a San Diego native); however things quickly spiraled out of control for Bush. He’s made a ton of poor decisions along the way, but always thought his talent could overcome any personal problems. The Rays have learned once again (as with Josh Hamilton) that promise doesn’t always translate to production. Witnesses at the accident scene on March 22 say Bush drove right over the motorcyclist’s head when fleeing the scene, and without a helmet the motorcyclist’s head would have been crushed instantly. Maybe now with the victim’s life hanging by a thread, Bush will finally be shocked into being held accountable for himself. Hopefully, this latest incident does not end with a fatality. Like Josh Hamilton, Bush says that he too prays to God to help him stay sober. But unlike Hamilton, chances for a major league career have now totally evaporated for Matt Bush. It’s time to forget about baseball; get your LIFE back in order, Matt!
Tagged with: Matt Bush
Filed under: Pro Baseball
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