Indians OF Choo arrested on DUI charges
Shin-Soo Choo spent Tuesday afternoon talking to each of his
teammates, one by one, to express how sorry he is for his off-field
arrest on suspicion of drunken driving and the embarrassment it
The Indians outfielder was arrested Monday after a breathalyzer
test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .201 – more than double
Ohio’s legal limit of .08.
”I don’t want to make trouble on the team,” Choo said in the
dugout before the first-place Indians opened a three-game series
against the Athletics. ”Every person has to learn. I regret that
this happened. … I apologize.”
After speaking to each player in the clubhouse, Choo also pulled
the Indians into a tight huddle near their dugout before the team
began warmups and batting practice.
Choo, the sixth major league player to be cited on a drunken
driving charge this year, was arrested by police in Sheffield Lake,
Ohio, after he failed a field sobriety test. An officer following
Choo’s white Cadillac SUV said he was driving erratically before he
”I talked to him. He’s human, just like every one of us,”
Indians manager Manny Acta said. ”He made a mistake. We all make
mistakes. The main thing is he’s learning from it. He’s very
remorseful. He’s a guy I’m not going to look at any differently
because of that. He’s a great kid, very high character and we’re
Choo on Tuesday also formally apologized to fans, the team, the
club and his family ”for the attention stemming from this
”I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to
the Indians organization while we remain focused on continuing to
play winning baseball,” he said in a statement released by the
The 28-year-old South Korean traveled with the team and was in
the starting lineup in right field and batting third against the
A’s. Cleveland began the week with the best record in the
Third baseman Jack Hannahan said Choo’s approach with his
teammates was sincere and appreciated.
”He’s a great guy and a great teammate,” Hannahan said.
”Choo’s a big leader on this team. He’s tough as nails. He’s being
a man about it and accepting it. It’d be easy to kind of hide and
let it blow over. He’s not letting it be a distraction. Now it’s
behind us, we’re moving forward and we’re not going to let it
affect the team.”
Acta doesn’t expect Choo to have any issues with his teammates
because ”they know what he’s about.”
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the club spoke to
Choo about the incident.
”The Indians organization takes these issues very seriously and
we are disappointed in the matter,” Antonetti said in a statement.
”We will continue to monitor the situation and we will not have
any further comment at this time.”
According to police, a patrolman first spoke to Choo at 2:25
a.m. He told the officer he was lost and needed directions to Avon
Lake. Choo was allowed to continue driving, but was later pulled
over when he twice crossed the double-yellow lines and drifted into
a bike path. He told the officer his GPS had broken and he was
unable to get directions home.
Choo’s eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of ”an alcoholic
beverage,” police said, and he was ordered out of the SUV.
Choo was unable to complete a heel-to-toe walking test, losing
his balance and he failed two other sobriety tests, the report
said. He was taken to the police station and was given the
breathalyzer test. Choo was charged with operating a vehicle under
the influence, having an excessive blood-alcohol level and a
He was released without bond and was driven home. While being
escorted outside by an officer, Choo reportedly smashed his camera
in the parking lot.
The case has been scheduled for Sheffield Lake Mayor’s Court at
5 p.m. Thursday, according to David Graves, the city law director.
Choo’s attorney may enter a not guilty plea on his behalf without
Choo present or may ask for a continuance, Graves said.
Acta said this is a bigger problem than just in baseball or
”It’s a society issue,” the skipper said. ”Everybody needs to
be responsible for their own actions.”
Arguably Cleveland’s best all-around player, Choo joins teammate
Austin Kearns, Seattle’s Adam Kennedy, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera,
Oakland’s Coco Crisp and Atlanta’s Derek Lowe as players arrested
since Jan. 1 on suspicion of DUI.
One of the game’s most underrated players, Choo batted .300 last
season. He was the only AL player to hit .300 with at least 20
homers and 20 steals. He entered Tuesday’s game batting .250 with
four homers and 15 RBIs for the surprising Indians, who are 19-8
and lead the AL Central by 4 1/2 games.
Choo said he will do all he can to block out his mistake and
stay focused on his job.
”It’s OK. I’m good,” he said. ”This happened outside the
team. I’m going to be the same guy.”
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers and Associated Press writer Thomas
J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.