Braves’ Lowe bounces back from arrest and first inning

Derek Lowe settled down after a three-run first inning but wouldn't discuss if he felt the effects of an arrest a few days earlier. (AP photo)

Derek Lowe settled down after a three-run first inning but wouldn't discuss if he felt the effects of an arrest a few days earlier. (AP photo)

Professional athletes are creatures of habit. So it’s not a reach to suggest Derek Lowe probably felt slightly off-kilter at the outset of his start Sunday.

Why? Because lying on a prison cot for several hours three nights before a start is not part of his usual routine.

“Something like that has a way of humbling you,” Braves teammate Chipper Jones said Sunday. “Derek is one of the class clowns in here. He’s one of the more outgoing, funny guys. He’s one of the guys who keeps the clubhouse mood light. But you can see it affected his personality a little bit.”

It also may have affected his performance at the outset Sunday — not that we’ll ever know because Lowe wouldn’t let anybody peek into his cranium.

After being arrested for DUI, reckless driving and improper lane change late Thursday night, Lowe returned to the mound against St. Louis on Sunday at Turner Field. It didn’t start well. He got slapped around in the first inning for three runs and four hits, including two doubles. But returning thereafter “probably hot under the collar” (Jones’ words), Lowe limited the Cardinals to one run in the next four innings.

The Braves rallied to win 6-5. Brooks Conrad (.083) delivered the game-winning RBI single off the bench in the ninth. All was well with this typically non-film-at-11 franchise once again – well, unless you count the two-week suspension to pitching coach Roger McDowell for saying unbelievably stupid things.

This certainly ranked as one of the more bizarre weekends in franchise history, but Lowe wasn’t in the mood for perspective. He was lobbed a couple of softball questions about overcoming a difficult week and abruptly he cut them off. It was unusual for a player who’s generally accommodating with the media vultures (though he did answer a few other questions.)

Vultures: “After everything that was going on during the week …”

Lowe: “Next.”

Vultures: “Given the events of the past few days, was there any affect at all …”

Lowe: “Again, I’m not even going to – it’s not even a question.”

Vultures: “What’s wrong with the question? That’s twice you’ve declined to …”

Lowe: (He walks away without commenting.)

Officially, he didn’t get credit for a complete game or interview.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t speculate if Lowe was pressing at the outset, but he acknowledged the possibility.

“That’s a question that — I don’t know what these guys have mentally,” he said. “I know he gave us everything. From the second to fourth, he was nails. It happens sometimes. You’re dealing with human beings. I’m sure it would be hard to put something like that off.”

Nobody will ask about the arrest after Lowe’s next start. As Jones said, “This will fade. … There’s no better sanctuary for getting something like that in the rear-view mirror than to go out and face the crowd and play three hours of a ball.”

The Braves could be pleased for a few reasons. Lowe rebounded. They salvaged a game after blowing late-inning leads the previous two nights. Their pitching coach still has a job.

McDowell was handed a two-week suspension for homophobic slurs and inappropriate language with San Francisco fans. That allegedly included him telling a fan, “How much are your teeth worth?” (Baseball never confirmed specifics of the dialogue.)

Fact is, both the pitcher and the pitching coach should be thankful. Lowe didn’t kill anybody. McDowell was suspended for only two weeks. He could have lost his job. A suspension of at least 30 games certainly could have been justified, especially after a San Francisco Chronicle story Sunday quoted another fan that corroborated pretty much everything that had been alleged by a previous fan.

Ask yourself this: If a Braves’ employee other than a valuable pitching coach (or player) had done something similar, would he still have a job today?

McDowell released a statement saying he was “embarrassed by my actions.” He is eligible to return next week. On Friday the 13th, of course. Maybe then, the Braves can return to some sense of normalcy.

By Jeff Schultz

Earlier today

Roger McDowell lucky to be suspended only two weeks

LIVE: Lowe starts as Braves try win one vs. Cards

Braves can’t go lightly on discipline for McDowell, Lowe

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

76 comments Add your comment

todd grantham

May 1st, 2011
7:05 pm

Both guys will get off easy. what did we expect?

todd grantham

May 1st, 2011
7:08 pm

Lowe CANT admit to anything until his lawyer makes a deal. Just like a politician.

D(UI) Lowe

May 1st, 2011
7:09 pm

“Braves’ Lowe Staggers back from arrest and first inning”

fixed that for you

Kyle

May 1st, 2011
7:18 pm

The Braves can extend McDowell’s suspension and I fully expect them to double his suspension. The least Lowe can do is admit to his mistake and advise others against making the same mistake. Neither McDowell nor Lowe have been media worthy troublebefore so if they pay their fines and openly admit their mistakes all will be forgiven.

Benjamin

May 1st, 2011
7:18 pm

Top five finish?

Maybe we needed this. Maybe we needed a couple days of guys getting kicked in the butt region of the pants. All I know is, Lou Brown may need to be channeled eventually, as well.

In fact, take it away, Lou… tomorrow, this should be the pregame speech for our boys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnVrSZHnvYY

dawgsfan1990

May 1st, 2011
7:19 pm

Both guys are human. We all make mistakes. Some mistakes are more idiotic than others of course…

Dennis Reynolds

May 1st, 2011
7:27 pm

D Lowes the man. Hes only human. Who cares what he does in his own life? As long as he doesnt do anything to affect me personally, I couldnt care less. Just go win 15 games and get us to the playoffs.

Hank

May 1st, 2011
7:29 pm

McDowell should have been fired. Lowe the drunk should also been let go. Neither of them is worth a hoot to the Braves. There are thousands of great players out there who would do more for the Braves than these 2 louts.

The Other Guy

May 1st, 2011
7:30 pm

I was the guy he “raced” down peachtree. Theres no way you could even consider that a street race. We were riding next to eachother for 3 lights and I gunned it to the next red light. We both took off and didnt exceed 55mph. Not 15 seconds later, we were pulled over.

Reid Adair

May 1st, 2011
7:31 pm

If Derek Lowe doesn’t want to discuss the off-the-field issue, that’s certainly his prerogative. I wasn’t surprised to see that, after he said he wasn’t going to talk about it, the “vultures” (Jeff’s word, not mine) kept asking.

[...] Lowe reportedly apologizes, explains DUI arrest to teammatesAHN | All Headline NewsLowe bounces back from arrestAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Yahoo! Sports -The Olympian -NorthJersey.comall 566 [...]

JSS

May 1st, 2011
7:50 pm

He better have a revelation… No one expects Derek Lowe to be perfect. What most rational want is not Chipper Jones called: “Something like that has a way of humbling you,” We want the good sense that a 37 year old man should have… With that “good sense” comes the clear vision of right and wrong… You can’t go through life being a loaded gun… Not Mel Gibson, not Dany Heatley, not Grover Cleveland Alexander, and certainly not Derek Lowe can get away with it, the lack of accountability…

UGASlobberknocker

May 1st, 2011
7:54 pm

What can Lowe say, really, that he hasnt said already in his earlier statement.? anything else is just beating a dead horse..I dont blame him for not answering anything and once he said he wasnt going talk about it. then why ask it again? Cant blame him for walking off.

Richmond Braves Fan

May 1st, 2011
8:01 pm

Mr. Shultz it seems a little disappointing that you may no mention of Lowe’s career record against the Cardinals or the batters in the lineup. 1-7 win loss with a 6.85 ERA. The cardinals also added Berkman whose career line against Lowe is also impressive. While I am not saying that his jail stay did not affect him but professional athletes the caliber of Lowe have to have an enormous focus. That is one of the things that separate them from just as talented but not focused minor leaguers. So the assumption while possibly true has other just a credible explanations. Just because he does not wish to discuss his feelings does that really warrant this article without pointing that out?

Braves .....lol

May 1st, 2011
8:08 pm

Die hard Braves fan is hanging it up this yr for P 90x till Braves have winning record….see ya…wdnt want to be ya!

Ekim

May 1st, 2011
8:19 pm

“The Other Guy” – Your post is interesting. Why don’t you contact Jeff Schultz or Dave O’Brien or Carroll Rogers or someone and let a real journalist vet your story. Somehow a blog post just doesn’t do it for me.

true braves fan

May 1st, 2011
8:25 pm

ok ok you people are losing it! Lets not forget that before spring training even got statlrt a popular baseball player was arrested for doing the same and even running or trying to from the police and everything was a ok with all that and not to mention his second offense. So to try and hang d lo out to dry for a mistake he made is crazy and you all need to grow the f up and realizw everyone makes mistakes and everyone has to be forgiven bc we are all human. And for roger come on people there are different sides to the story. On one hand you have a guy looking to bring a coach down for speaking the wrong way toward some so called homos. Yet the people he was talking to did not come forth and say anything yet several people came forth to talk on the behalf of the coach. So don’t speak out of ur ass and make it a bigger deal than it really is. Be a true braves fan and forgive and forget and hope for a great season from our loving BRAVES. Good win today hope for more. And that Mr. Quinn is a money hungry douchebag himself. And he will get his when he realizes he can’t finish paying that big time lawyer he got for such a small matter.

tomahawknation

May 1st, 2011
8:25 pm

Zach

May 1st, 2011
8:35 pm

Mark, why do insist on calling Lowe’s alleged statements homophobic? Stupid yes, but not homophobic. People need to get a life.

I-town brave

May 1st, 2011
8:40 pm

I’m glad lowe sobered up in time for the game today. Hopefully, he gets a braves gofer to take him around town from now on when he’s partying late.

JSS

May 1st, 2011
8:46 pm

Miquel Caberra is in the MLB sustance/drug program. That is for the State of Florida/Bud Selig/the Tigers/MLBPA to answer too… As a guy who went to college in Michigan during the glory seasons on the 80’s there, go to MLive and see the bonfire that exists because of Caberra.

Be for real, in the light of Damon Evans, Dany Heatley, DA Howard, and the history of what happens to DUI related prosecutions here; Lowe deserves every bit of the heat he is getting,,,

Oh, and @ 8:35, are you suffering from a case blog dyslexia?

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 1st, 2011
8:50 pm

Jeff, I’m not a professional athelete or “Chef” for that matter, but I do take pride in the fact that my “work” is my sacntum: It’s the place where I lay it all aside for compensation. It’s an ethic. Whether you make 15 mill or whatever, doing your best for your employer keeps you employed. Embarrassing your employer is tolllerated only by contrition and production. If Lowe put the public at harm, the rules change.

Boswanger

May 1st, 2011
8:53 pm

Ok, they are both over with,a much needed come from behind win today, lets move on. If you are a real Braves fan you will, but if you are from Chicago, or some other place up north that loves it when we lose, then get a life.

godoggo

May 1st, 2011
8:55 pm

todd grantham: great valid comments

……….And That my friend is what will bring mega Karma to my Ex : )))

1eyedJack

May 1st, 2011
8:55 pm

“arrested for DUI, reckless driving and improper lane change”.
Look on the bright side, at least he wasn’t accompanied by a undergarmentless soiled dove.

Jeff, I get the feeling you were one of the “vultures” DLo walked away from? He must have read some of your columns. Have you managed to alienate yourself from yet another local sports figure?

Boswanger

May 1st, 2011
8:58 pm

yea Jeff, you seem to be agin all the Atlanter ball teams, what the heck? Is you from Chicargo too??

mikeDW

May 1st, 2011
8:58 pm

Lowe can’t admit to anything, true; but not like “a politician”; but like a normal person with rights. Stupid comment Todd.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 1st, 2011
9:02 pm

I always find it funny and I’m a Braves fan how the John Rocker thing is the litmus test.

Bobby Cox has an altercation with his wife.

John Schurholtz hides ( or was late?) with a positve drug sample of Otis Nixon.

Just saying.

D. Lowe

May 1st, 2011
9:03 pm

At least I didn’t have any red panties on my lap….

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 1st, 2011
9:11 pm

Here’s hoping Blackjack’s apology includes the term “Media whore” to G-L-O-R-I-A…

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah , yeah, yeah.

Bulldog

May 1st, 2011
9:13 pm

Lowe needs to be suspended and McDowell needs to be fired or suspended for a minimum of 60 games – McDowell should not be allowed to represent the Braves in any shape or form.

true braves fan

May 1st, 2011
9:27 pm

go cry some where else! Or shut the hell up and be a true braves fan. Damn go cry on a stupid yankees or phillies blog and get off this one.go braves look forward to seeing great may baseball.

bravesfanforever

May 1st, 2011
9:50 pm

Let it go.Both made mistakes.Both apologize.2 weeks is enough for Mcdowell,We really don’t know what was said in San Fransisco.We just heard what a fan said he said.Remember Mcdowell play for the Dodgers and I am sure there is resenment there,but it doesn’t give him the right to say what he supposedly said.It is over move on.

Glenda Westbrook

May 1st, 2011
10:38 pm

Let me see if I got this straight, you make obscene gestures and politically incorrect comments, which at the very worst, offended people; you get 2 weeks suspension. If you get loaded and, not only speed and drive recklessly, but you race down a busy city street, endangering the lives of who knows how many people; you get to put on your uniform and pitch on Sunday. Unbelievable. We were so disgusted to see this lowlife on the mound today, we turned it off. First game missed by us this season. Just could not stomach watching. LOWE NEEDS TO GO. Does not belong in a Braves uniform or in the city of Atlanta. I wonder what stuff was swept under the rug in Boston? I don’t think they were very sorry to see him go.

Dr. Phil

May 1st, 2011
10:38 pm

Lowe doesn’t have to talk about the DUI if he doesn’t want to, but on the field, Lowe has certainly not lived up to our expectations.

Richmond Braves Fan

May 1st, 2011
10:59 pm

Mrs. Westbrook since Lowe went 3-0 in the postseason (including all three series clinching games) helping them to win their first World Series in almost 100 years Boston WAS very sorry to see him leave. Secondly he was accused not found guilty. Wasn’t there an Atlanta politician who was recently falsely accused of DUI? To not be able to “stomach a game” seems a bit over the top especially until he is found guilty of something. I am also not endorsing the behavior he is ACCUSED of. You just might want to wait a see what happens first. Just a thought.

Kelly Jeter

May 1st, 2011
11:02 pm

Solid info! I wonder if this’ll show up on CoachWatcher. CW is the place to go for all the coaching info, news, and rumors. http://www.CoachWatcher.com

bruce

May 1st, 2011
11:19 pm

bill W.

May 1st, 2011
11:29 pm

mebbe he’ll become a member of
D-drunks
A-against
M-mad
M-mothers

Glenda Westbrook

May 1st, 2011
11:30 pm

I am just trying to reconcile the MCDowell situation with the Lowe situation. While what Mcdowell said and did was abhorant to me, no lives were at risk. Maybe my family is a little oversensitive to this issue since our beloved eldest son was taken from us by a drunken driver. McDowell has not been convicted, let alone charged with anything. His suspension is a knee jerk reaction because his behavior, if it proves out, is a public relations nightmare for the team. We have family in the New England area who follow the Redsox and have told us of similar situations with Lowe while in Boston. If any of the numerous charges against Lowe pan out, He needs to go. In the meantime, why is he being given the benefit of the doubt while McDowell is not?

Richmond Braves Fan

May 2nd, 2011
12:09 am

Well first of all I am very sorry to hear about your son.

The difference between the two is that McDowell was accused, investigated, and found guilty (albeit by MLB and the Braves not a court of law). He has admitted and apologized for his actions. Lowe is being given the benefit of the doubt because he has not been found guilty of anything. Further complicating Lowe’s situation is that what he did took place off the field as opposed to McDowell. Like most employers there is a limit to what the Braves can do to a contract employee who even if found guilty has not violated his contract.

Now more importantly Bin Laden is dead. So rest assured the guilty always pay.

jrs77

May 2nd, 2011
12:10 am

Glenda Westbrook you are dum or can’t read there done with mcdowell situation and asked around and found out what happen.With lowe he has to go to court and the blood test is not back so he is the one that you can wait and see on and Mcdowell thing is done so learn to read and find out things before you talk

Glenda Westbrook

May 2nd, 2011
12:59 am

Sorry to disagree with you about the guilty pay. Certainly not always in this life. Our son is dead. His killer is walking (and still driving) around free as a bird after a plea deal and a small slap on the wrist; and he did not have nearly the resources that Derek Lowe has available. As for you jrs77,if you are as smart as you think you are, you should be able to read my comments well enough to understand that I just am contrasting one set of actions, by Mcdowell, and their potential consequences to Lowe’s actions and their potential consequences. Maybe you are one of those who thinks star atheletes should be always be given benefit of the doubt. I, on the other hand, was raised with the adage that ” From those to whom much is given, much is expected”. In the case of Lowe, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that where there is this much smoke, there’s got to be at least some fire. I have no faith in the justice system in his case. He’ll buy his way out, just like always. And as long as he keeps performing, the braves will choose to do nothing until one day maybe he kills or seriouly injures someone.

Mitchell

May 2nd, 2011
1:00 am

From the second to fourth, he was nails.

Jesus Christ. If that isn’t the second coming of Bobby Cox, I don’t know what is.

Not even Bobby Cox himself could come up with such a kiss ass line of defense. I actually didn’t see the game so D-Lowe may very well have been nails… for two innings at least. Okay, three.

Sure glad we didn’t get swept. Kinda thought we were gonna.

MWC

May 2nd, 2011
3:35 am

jrs77 go have another …

Elmo

May 2nd, 2011
3:55 am

I think that something ought to be said about abusive fans. I would just like to ask what kind of taunting Black Jack got before he exploded ? Is that right ? Perhaps – the damn fan should had been tossed out of the stadium in the first place.

Brave Fan

May 2nd, 2011
4:49 am

You know it would be really nice to be able to read an article about the Braves without every other paragraph or whatever harping on Lowe’s DUI arrest and McDowell’s incident. They both know what they did was stupid and that there are and will be consequences for those actions. How about it guys – think you can write some articles without all this? AJC didn’t beat up on Rocker like this so how about backing off.

Ted Striker

May 2nd, 2011
5:33 am

“Something like that has a way of humbling you.” – Chipper Jones, on Derek Lowe

Perhaps. However, interrupting people and then just stalking off doesn’t appear all that humbled. I’m not for crucifying the guy over what he did last week. However if he can’t even stay through his first post-game press conference he is going to be eaten alive by fans on the road.

johhny

May 2nd, 2011
7:36 am

Lowe class act, Left Boston as a party animal and then wrecked his marriage with an affair in LA. Nothing like drag racing in Buckhead. Great father figure!

urban redneck

May 2nd, 2011
8:02 am

d-lowe had to know that was coming in a post game press conference. he should have just skipped it if he was gonna bail like that. did he really expect all the questions to be about the jam he got into in the 1st inning?

how bout linebrink? taking out the NL, one bone at a time. next time please get someone that rakes the braves like uggla used to.