Despite my happiness in a title full of alliteration, the fact that Anthony Alford has been arrested is not good news for Jays fans. As per this article, the charges are a bit more serious than a cliche university student arrest of public drunkenness and the like.
I may have been a bit flippant above, as not only is it bad news for Jays fans, but all those involved really. A quick look at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines aggravated assault ‘as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.’
Reading the University of Southern Miss’s student write up on the event, two handguns were found on the scene and both Alford and fellow student Korey Hathorn were being held without bond. This is a serious situation.
I was going to expand on Alford and the struggles of USM’s football team this season when I got to the second last piece in my series on the 2012 draft class. In short form, I am no football expert, although I do enjoy college football. But when you combine the fact that USM went 0 and 12 this past year, fired their coach, and Alford’s statistics include a 44.9 completion percentage and a meager 3.1 rushing average, you would think that the freshmen quarterback would be having second thoughts on playing baseball part-time. Best case scenario, Alford packs in his football cleats for baseball full time. Starting the 2013 season in the Gulf Coast League as an 18 year old, and effectively rejoining the development curve before it is too late. As, make no mistake, Alford is a very raw talent, who, if he were to complete four years of college football and then decide he wanted to revert to full-time baseball would have dug himself a hole that may have been too deep to get out of.
I am sure the Jays brass would have done all sorts of research on Alford’s football pedigree, making their decision to draft him and spend 750,000 dollars to sign him while letting him play football seem wise in the wake of USM’s and Alford’s personal struggles. However, this incident brings all sorts of additional issues into the equation.
Without speculating, if Alford is able to continue his baseball career come spring training, and that must be considered a bit ‘IF’ given the seriousness of the charges, the Jays have always said they are willing to give players a second chance. But Alex Anthopolous has also stated that third and fourth chances would not be given. Now we have an 18 year old, with potential character issues, on his second strike.
I’m an optimist, and, again, if Alford is able to resume his career, one can only hope that he handles the incident in a similar vein to how Marcus Stroman has dealt with his PED suspension. Apologize, educate, and work your tail off to prove you are the player that Toronto thought you were. Let’s hope Alford takes notice.