Summers at the ballpark. What lovely, little memories. Fresh-faced kids learning the game of baseball. Grass stained pants and dirt covered jerseys. The promise of a new tomorrow; even after a hard-fought loss.
Who can forget those summers? Those magical nights. Mosquito bites and Cracker Jacks. The dreams only youth can dream. Dreams of big league ball. Visions of long-gone home runs and 100mph fastballs. They’re just kids, after all.
Those boys of summer. Many of whom have grown up to be the baseball players aspiring youngsters idolize today. The new heroes of the game. The men who made it all the way. The Big Leaguers.
Of course, with all that money, fame, and pressure, not all these men are meant to be role models. There are things they do that they wish their fans didn’t know about. They’re only kids at heart, after all.
Here Are 15 Things MLB’s Biggest Stars Want You To Forget:
15. Matt Kemp: Alleged Dating History
Matt Kemp currently plays for the Atlanta Braves, but, before his time in Georgia, Kemp was caught up with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And Kemp was certainly taking advantage of his surroundings.
Kemp was once involved in a high-profile relationship with Rihanna; a relationship which placed the outfielder directly in the middle of paparazzi snapshots and a great deal of media attention. Which was not always great for Kemp’s game.
There were even rumors of Kemp and Khloe Kardashian floating around for a while. Although, they were denied by the ballplayer. Either way, the attention was negative for Kemp as his relationships were often blamed for poor play.
14. Yasiel Puig: Arrest Video
Yasiel Puig is just one of the colorful characters you can find in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ locker room. Puig is a hot-headed, cocky slugger whose narcissism more often than not comes back to haunt his career.
With Puig, you either get a cool-hand hitter who will consistently drive in the runs, or a slumping star caught up in his own head. Thus, leading to outbursts in the dugout and frustration at the plate.
So, does it come as a surprise that Puig – a player who views himself above all others in MLB – would also view himself as above the law? Of course not. Back in 2013, Puig put this theory into practice when speeding in Florida.
13. Justin Verlander: Birthday Suit Selfie
Justin Verlander is living on Cloud 9 right now. The veteran pitcher just won a World Series title as a member of the Houston Astros before marrying long-time girlfriend and super model, Kate Upton.
There were many who believed that the former Detroit Tiger was washed-up and done. That Verlander’s best days had come and gone. However, Verlander was a nightmare for batters once he moved to Houston; helping contribute to the team’s success.
Throughout the postseason, Upton was often shown in the crowd cheering on the Astros as they marched towards glory. Images of Upton at the ballpark were quickly circulating the internet, which must not have bothered Verlander as much as pervious pictures.
12. Jayson Werth: Jail Time
Jayson Werth, the 38-year-old outfielder, is currently on the free agent market. And while he may have lost a step or two, someone is bound to pick up the Major League caveman for his veteran bat.
Werth, a member of the 2008 World Series winning Philadelphia Phillies knows what postseason pressure is about and could easily provide some much-needed leadership to a younger squad on the hunt for a title.
Of course, Werth will definitely like his new team (whomever they may eventually be) and their fanbase to forget about a past indiscretion: a reckless driving incident to which Werth pleaded guilty.
11. Josh Hamilton: Partying Past
Josh Hamilton comes in as another seasoned veteran on the free agent market. At the age of 36, Hamilton is another player whose better years are certainly in the rearview mirror. However, the importance of experience once again plays a factor here.
Baseball is rough on the psyche. These ballplayers take the field 162 times throughout the regular season. That’s ten times more than football. And, while baseball does not leave the same physical marks as football, the physiological scars are vast.
Hamilton has been through the ringer as it pertains to her personal life. A known addict, Hamilton has recovered and relapsed on multiple occasions. Thus, Hamilton is well aware of the dangers of the road.
10. Bryce Harper: Choked in Dugout
Bryce Harper: the best player in baseball? Maybe. To some, Harper can do no wrong on the field. He truly is a player who can leave a stadium packed full of fans in awe. Harper just knows how to play ball.
However, if you truly believe in the Harper Hype, then it may come as a surprise when he is struggling. Perhaps that’s what happened when Harper and teammate, Jonathan Papelbon exchanged words in the dugout following a Harper pop out.
According to reports, Papelbond was unhappy with Harper’s lack of hustle down the first base line following the pop fly. So, when Harper returned to the dugout, Paelbond made his feelings known. In fact, the former pitcher went as far as choking Harper.
9. Albert Pujols: Restoring Honor Rally
Albert Pujols will go down as one of the best sluggers in MLB history. Pujols, currently 37-years-old, has a few good season left and has already belted 614 home runs. If all goes well, he could become only the fourth player in history to crack the 700 mark.
Throughout his Major League career, Pujols has tried to lead by example; providing charity to communities and teaching the values of compassion to those up-and-coming ballplayers of tomorrow.
And while Pujols has been honored numerous times, one must call into question just how “distinct” of an honor it was to be awarded a medal at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally; a faith restoration rally which took place in 2010.
8. Dustin Pedroia: Dissing Hometown
Dustin Pedroia was born in Woodland, California; where he honed his baseball craft and became one of the best players to ever play ball for Woodland High School. Certainly, Pedroia would one day make his hometown proud.
When his time at Woodland was up, Pedroia made his way to Arizona State University, where he excelled as a Sun Devil. At this point it was clear that the kid from Woodland was going to play professional baseball.
And that’s when the Boston Red Sox came calling. Soon enough, Pedroia was a prominent part of their lineup. As for Woodland? Well, while they were expecting praise, Pedroia called the town a dump and claimed they never embraced him while living there.
7. C.C. Sabathia: Missed Postseason for Rehab
C.C. Sabathia, like many human beings, has fallen victim to the bottle. So much so, that the imposing pitcher was once forced to miss postseason play as a member of the New York Yankees.
Back in 2015, while the Yankees were gearing up for a run at another World Series title, Sabathia was making his way to a rehab facility. Sabathia’s problems had reached a “now-or-never” point.
In regards to leaving the most storied franchise in all of baseball during postseason play, Sabathia said the following: “It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right.”
6. Pablo Sandoval: Weight Issues
Pablo Sandoval has never been a picture of the ideal athlete. “The Kung Fu Panda” has always carried a little extra weight over his belt. And that was fine; as long as Sandoval continue to perform.
As a member of the San Francisco Giants, Sandoval won the hearts of a city by moving in ways most players his size could never accomplish. Sandoval played major roles in revitalizing a franchise and World Series success.
However, that all changed when Sandoval packed his bag and headed for Boston; where “The Panda” was showing up more bloated than ever and not performing at the expected level. Sandoval even broke his belt while taking a swing.
5. Miguel Cabrera: Arrested
Miguel Cabrera currently sits on 462 career home runs. At 34-years-old, Cabrera is on track to join the exclusive 500 Home Run Club. Which should occur over the course of the next two seasons.
Yes, Cabrera, like many of his peers will be remembered as a pure power hitter. Inside the ballpark, Cabrera is a force; a beast of a hitter. However, there is a different kind of beast that dwells within Cabrera.
This beast lives in the bars, and takes its evil antics out into the streets. Evidence of this beast comes by way of Cabrera being arrested back in 2011 on suspicion of drunk driving in Florida.
4. Ryan Howard: Al Jazeera Documentary
Ryan Howard is yet another veteran ballplayer sitting on the free agent market. Howard is 38-years-old, but when needed, can provided the big swing. While his days in Philadelphia are done, expect somebody to pick up Howard.
As it pertains to that aforementioned big swing, Howard has been accused of having help along the way. An Al Jazeera documentary, titled, The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, has linked Howard to a clinic selling human growth hormone (HGH).
This of course infuriated Howard, who decided to take legal action and file a lawsuit against Al Jazeera. As we all know, performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) have become a major issue in professional baseball.
3. David Price: Contract
David Price definitely looks like an ace pitcher; at times. So, it must have been these performances that prompted the Boston Red Sox front office to hand out the largest contract in franchise history.
In December 2015, Price inked a seven-year, $217 million contract with the team. The new ace was bought and paid for, but the question now was, could Price deliver? The answer: no, not really.
Year one in Boston saw Price put up a record of 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA. These numbers aren’t terrible, but they sure don’t reflect that price tag. In year two – an injury-plagued season – Price posted a record of 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA.
2. Clayton Kershaw: Postseason Choking
Clayton Kershaw can dominate any Major League team; as long as he takes the hill prior to October. The month where Kershaw has been known to fall apart on a consistent basis as the Los Angels Dodgers take their exit from the postseason.
This past year was a little different as the Dodgers did play all the way to the very last possible game of the season. However, the result was all the same: Dodger lose and once again, go home empty handed.
While Kershaw did step up his game this particular postseason, there is no denying the numbers. In twelve postseason series’ thus far, Kershaw has posted a 7-7 record to go along with a 4.35 ERA.
1. Madison Bumgarner: Dirt Bike Accident
Madison Bumgarner is a rare breed in today’s MLB. Bumgarner is a legitimate ace who can also hold his own at the plate. Bumgarner is considered to be the best hitting pitcher in all of baseball.
There are times when the San Francisco Giants even allow Bumgarner to bat in the eight spot, ahead of the reserved pitcher slot, ninth in the order. Needless to say, Bumgarner is a very valuable asset to the Giants franchise.
Which is why devastation set in quickly for fans around the Bay Area this past season when it was revealed that Bumgarner had injured his shoulder in a dirt bike accident. The ace was out and the season as a whole was looking bleak.
However, 2018 (an even year) is looking up for Bumgarner and the Giants, who are looking to reclaim their spot atop Major League Baseball.
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