Yesterday, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested for shoplifting less than $60 worth of t-shirts from a Macy's Department Store in downtown Cincinnati.
This incident is bewildering. After all Leake is earning a salary of $425,000 which doesn't include a $2 million signing bonus. At the time of his arrest, Leake had $250 and two credit cards on him. So clearly his motive was not financial nor does he have any previous involvement with the criminal justice system. It would appear this behavior is quite out of character. Nevertheless he put himself into this situation.
What is interesting about Leake is that in 2010 he became the first player in a decade to make his major league debut without having played in the minors. Leake, who pitched collegiate ball at Arizona State University before being drafted by the Reds in 2009, was considered "a finished product." Much was made of Leake's maturity. A decade ago, Leake played on the same little league team as Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg. In those days, Leake was a catcher. When Strasburg had a rough game it was Leake who tried to console him.
So what the heck made him do it? Was it just for the thrill and excitement? Or was it a cry for help? Assuming it's the latter I couldn't tell you why Leake needs help. But if he does need help I hope he gets it.