A kiss from Elijah

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Elijah Dukes put on quite a show Wednesday night at Shea Stadium, nearly getting into a brawl with Mets pitcher Mike Pelfry, hitting a home run and then inciting the fans in the Nationals final game at Shea Stadium. Like a said a week ago, don’t fall in love with Elijah Dukes. I still have my doubts he will be here next season. If he is not, it won’t be because of the stuff he has done on the feeling — the excessive celebrating, the spitting in the face of baseball protocol. They would rather he not do that, but his talent is so immense that it trumps that sort of behavior. No, if he is not back, it is because of other issues. Remember, just because someone’s name doesn’t show up on a police blotter doesn’t mean everything is fine. There are different levels of expectation of behavior we are dealing with here. There are the field behaviors. There are the legal behaviors that are required in a society. But there are also organizational behavior standards and team rules and regulations that are a different level. We can see the field behaviors. And the legal issues will be part of the public record. What we don’t know about is what happens on that other level — the organizational expectations of rules and regulations. The Nationals are hardly forthcoming about those problems (see Dukes this spring, when he was completing probation work when supposedly doing baseball workouts), so we really don’t know how Dukes is coping with that. If he does not return, and there are no legal problems on the record other than his past transgressions, it will be because Dukes failed to meet the behavior expectations of the organization off the field. It won’t be because he blows kisses to Mets fans.

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