Ex-Pitcher Matt Bush Struggles With Alcoholism
In a turn of events that is becoming common place in professional sports, another promising young career has ended. This is the story of Matt Bush. Just a few weeks ago, Bush pleaded no contest to his third DUI offense since being selected first overall in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres. Bush was touted as a ‘can’t miss’ shortstop coming out of high school in 2004 with an abundance of potential. However, in the past eight years, Bush has continually made very poor decisions and now faces a 51-month prison sentence that will undoubtedly end his career having never played a single game at the major league level
Matt Bush’s High School Days and 2004 Draft
Bush had incredible stats at Mission Bay High School in San Diego, California. He maintained a batting average close to .500 while still hitting with decent power including 11 home runs. His real strength however, was his defense and arm strength. He was the pitching ace on his team and had a .073 earned run average that came from solid command of a curve ball and a 94 mph fastball. Having a 94 mph fastball when he was only 17 years old made him a very desirable prospect. The Padres, located in Bush’s hometown of San Diego, seemed like a perfect fit for the up and comer, and they selected him first overall in the 2004 draft. The Padres gave Bush a $3.15 million signing bonus which was the largest bonus they had ever given a prospect.
Bush’s Legal Problems Begin
A mere three weeks after the Padres drafted Bush in 2004, he was arrested for felony assault and underage drinking after he fought a security guard at a bar in San Diego. Bush played single A ball for a few seasons, but struggled at the plate. In 2007 he was converted to a pitcher and showed a lot of promise with a 98 mph fastball, but tore a ligament in his elbow. He missed all of 2008 season recovering from the injury and then got in more trouble in 2009. In early 2009 he beat up a high schooler with a golf club while he was heavily intoxicated and was arrested for assault. Only a month later he drunkenly threw a baseball at a woman and then slammed her head into a car windshield in Florida after she drew on him with a marker at a party.
During Bush’s several years of drunken and disorderly conduct off the baseball diamond, he was bounced around several different teams who could not control him. In 2012 the Tampa Bay Rays gave him another chance, which he quickly blew in spectacular fashion. In March 2012, Bush was driving drunk and hit a 72 year old motorcyclist, running over his head which would have killed him instantly had he not been wearing a helmet. Bush fled the scene and was arrested 3 miles down the road with a BAC of .18 (3 times the legal limit in Florida). He was charged with 2 counts of DUI with property damage and 1 count of DUI with serious bodily injury. On Oct. 6th the Tampa Bay Rays released Bush.
A few weeks ago Bush entered a no contest plea to the charge of DUI and since it was his 3rd DUI conviction in the last 10 years he was sentenced to 3-4 years in prison. He was offered a choice of three years in probation and seven years probation or four years in prison with no probation. He chose to take the extra year in prison because he can’t trust himself to stay clean during probation. Hopefully Matt can use his time in prison to get over his alcohol addiction and better himself, but for now this is the end of Matt Bushs career in baseball. He will be only the 3rd player in MLB history that was taken first overall and never played a single game at the professional level.