Yovanni Gallardo arrested for OWI, and the Brewers need to take action

According to ESPN Milwaukee’s Drew Olson, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo was arrested early Monday morning for OWI.

Here’s the nuts and bolts from Olson’s report:

“Gallardo, a 27-year-old right-hander, was driving westbound on Interstate 94 near Miller Park when he was pulled over at 2:10 a.m. for driving slowly and deviating lanes. (Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Fran) McLaughlin said Gallardo failed a field sobriety test and later registered a blood-alcohol level of .22, nearly three times the legal limit in Wisconsin (.08).”

It’s obviously an incredibly  irresponsible move on the part of Gallardo who, with the $30 million contract extension he signed in 2010, can clearly afford a cab ride home.

Yovani Gallardo was arrested for OWI Monday morning.

Gallardo will apparently receive $778.80 in citations combined for the OWI, the level of intoxication and deviating lanes.  That’s just what the state of Wisconsin will assess for this kind of behavior.

Recent history suggests Major League Baseball isn’t likely to do anything in the form of fines, penalties or suspensions in Gallardo’s case. That opens an opportunity for the Brewers organization to step in.

The partying image of Milwaukee is alive and well, even within the park.

Milwaukee is a city, quite literally, founded on alcohol. The Miller brewery is situated within city limits and provides not only the naming rights for the Brewers’ stadium, but also the nickname for the team itself. Milwaukee is a drinking community, as you’ll find every fest, parade and celebration with large quantities of alcohol of all kinds.

A 2012 report from “The Daily Beast” ranks Milwaukee as the 3rd-drunkest city in America, citing the town’s high average of drinks per month and percentages of heavy and binge drinkers. In 2006, Forbes released a report naming Milwaukee as “America’s Drunkest City.”

It’s a reputation that some Milwaukee residents are proud of, but it’s one that the vast majority would like to shake. It is behavior that should not be tolerated, especially by one of the state’s highest profile residents.

If I were Brewers owner Mark Attanasio or general manager Doug Melvin, I wouldn’t send Gallardo to rehab, but I would certainly suspend him. It would sent a message to the community that behavior of that sort is unacceptable. An $800 fine is a drop in the bucket for the ace pitcher, but if you don’t let him on the field, he’ll surely take notice.

Gallardo is slated to start Thursday against the San Francisco Giants, but the Brewers’ front office should suspend him for at least one start, and probably two.

Far too often players get off with just a fine. In a town like Milwaukee, the Brewers have an opportunity to do something different and take a stand against drunk driving. Make Gallardo film a series of PSAs or have him become a spokesperson for MADD. There’s an opportunity for the Brewers to do something significant here.

I live in Wisconsin, was raised in Milwaukee and have been a Brewers fan my whole life, and it would make me a proud fan if they took this opportunity to right a wrong and send a message to a community that needs it.



About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.

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