Fox Sports Midwest has announced that long-time Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin is going to get a third chance.
He'll be back in the booth calling Redbirds games after a lengthy suspension due to his second arrest for driving under the influence. From a baseball standpoint, I am glad. McLaughlin's an excellent broadcaster who makes the Cardinals more fun to watch. But from a human standpoint, I'm more than a little worried.
McLaughlin has a serious problem with drinking. If the evidence wasn't proof enough, he's admitted it. And the life of the major league baseball traveling party isn't exactly the best atmosphere for someone who is weak against temptation. Imagine a life of being in fancy hotels, away from your family and support system for days at a time hanging out with guys to whom money is no object.
I've seen the players out after games on road trips or during spring training -- and some of the broadcasters and supporting staff are right there with them.
If I was his boss, I think I would give McLaughlin a chance to come back -- but in 2012 I would only allow him to call home games. Maybe that would give him a chance to work on his sobriety in a more supportive environment. At the very least, if I sent him on the road I would send along a person to room with him and keep an eye on him 24 hours a day. I'd call them both into the office and explain that Mclaughlin's shadow was there to make sure he didn't have even one drink while he was traveling on official business. And if he did, he's out.
I don't mean to be unforgiving. And I am not trying to be judgmental or to point fingers. I am genuinely worried about the guy. What if things for McLaughlin would have turned out more like what happened when Josh Hancock or Leonard Little got behind the wheel after drinking? The person designated to watch him shouldn't be someone McGlaughlin resents. He could very possibly be the talented broadcaster's best friend.
There's nothing worse than watching someone with enormous ability throw it all away. If it doesn't end in tragedy, it at least will result in them wondering 20 years down the road how they could have been so stupid as to let such a good thing slip between their fingers.