Is he a member of Rev. Wright’s church? Another anti-social pyschopath outfielder in the mold of Albert Belle.
by Lynn Zinser and Andy Newman
Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested outside a Manhattan hotel early Friday morning after an altercation in which Young screamed anti-Semitic epithets at a group of tourists and a panhandler, the police said.
Young, who arrived with the Tigers on Thursday night for a three-game series against the Yankees starting Friday, was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, and booked at the Midtown North precinct. He was not with the team for Friday night’s game.
The police said that a “heavily intoxicated” Young was standing outside the Hilton New York on Sixth Avenue around 2:30 a.m. Friday when a group of four men were approached by a panhandler wearing a skullcap and a Star of David around his neck who asked them for money.
One of the men gave the panhandler $25, prompting Young to respond with an anti-Semitic slur. The men said they told Young to calm down, and that he began to grapple with some of them, the police said.
“He started pushing them around,” a law enforcement official said. As they grappled, Young scratched a 32-year-old man on the arm, the police said. The tussle continued into the lobby of the hotel, where Young was a guest. He went up to his room and the police were called.
They arrested Young on charges of second-degree aggravated harassment, under the provision that defines it as someone who “strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects another person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same on the bais of the victim’s race or religion.”
The incident is being investigated as a possible bias crime, the police said. The man with scratches on his arm declined medical treatment. Young, the police said, was taken to Roosevelt Hospital because he was intoxicated, before being taken to the Midtown North precinct.
Young, 28, has gotten in trouble with his temper before. In April 2006 when playing for the Class AA Durham Bulls, Young was ejected for arguing a strike call and threw his bat, hitting an umpire in the chest and arm. He was suspended for 50 games.
As the Tigers gathered in their clubhouse for Friday night’s game, Manager Jim Leyland declined to comment on Young. But Young, although not present, eventually issued a statement in which he said, “I sincerely regret what happened last night.”
“I apologize to everyone I affected, the Ilitch family, the Detroit Tigers’ organization, my teammates, my family, and the great Tigers’ fans that have supported me since day one,” the statement added. “I take this matter very seriously and assure everyone that I will do everything I can to improve myself as a person.”
Mike Ilitch is the longtime owner of the Tigers, who issued their own statement, saying they were aware of the situation.
“As we understand it, this is an allegation and we need to allow the legal process to take its course,” the Tigers said. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”
Young was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 but has had an up-and-down career. He played several seasons for the Twins and was acquired in a trade by Detroit last August for two minor leaguers. He was an instant success for the Tigers, hitting a home run in his first at-bat, and boosted Detroit’s offense as the team won the American League Central, beat the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs and then lost to Texas to the American League Championship Series. Over all, Young hit five home runs in the playoffs.
The Tigers signed him to a one-year, $6.75 million contract in the off-season. He has struggled this season, hitting .242 with no home runs.
The Tigers have dealt with alcohol issues before, with the slugger Miguel Cabrera having two highly publicized incidents and a three-month stay in an alcohol treatment center in 2009. In October 2009, Cabrera was involved in a domestic dispute and his blood-alcohol level at the police station was reported to be three times the legal limit. He was also arrested for drunken driving in 2011.