It is the ultimate fall from grace and everyone in Los Angeles is talking about it. Dodgers star pitcher Julio Urias was on top of the world. A lefty hurler from northern Mexico, fans were certain he was the second coming of Fernando Valenzuela and hugely popular. Plus, Urias is in the final year of his contract and in line for a new mega deal. Now, because of an assault against a yet unidentified women in a stadium parking lot, Urias may never throw another pitch for the Dodgers or any other MLB team.
The incident in question occurred late Sunday evening on September 3rd after a soccer match between Leo Messi’s Inter Miami team and LAFC at BMO Stadium in Exposition Park. Urias attended the match with several celebrities and two Dodger teammates. What happened after the event is somewhat murky. However, a physical altercation between a man and a woman was reported to authorities patrolling the area, and Urias was arrested. In addition, police are in possession of a cell phone video documenting the entire confrontation. As a result, the Dodgers were forced to put Urias on “administrative leave,” a requirement in accordance with MLB and the powerful players union pending a detailed investigation.
Initially, this tabloid-style news didn’t surprise me very much. I know Julio, albeit casually, and believe every person in this country, citizen or not, is innocent of any crime until proven guilty. That being said, the current Julio Urias is far from the droopy-eyed kid the Dodgers signed as a 16 year old teenager. Money and life in the fast lane has had an adverse effect on his personality. He’s arrogant, at times violent and has a history of abusing women.
Many fans might remember when Urias was first reprimanded in 2019 for domestic abuse, and was ordered to participate in a 52 week counseling program. He was also suspended for 20 games. But this recent episode marks the first time a player has been a repeat offender of MLB’s strict domestic abuse, sexual assault and child abuse policy in place since 2015. Julio’s first court appearance is scheduled for September 27th and with his legal issues mounting, the Dodgers have already said gracias and adios. His absence will put a strain on the team’s already thin starting rotation for the post season, but they’ll figure it out. What bothers me most is all the kids in East L.A. who looked up to Urias as an older brother and role model. They are the real losers in a city that is nearly 50% Hispanic. Julio broke their hearts.
Maybe after all this blows over sometime next year, Urias will end up pitching in Japan like Trevor Bauer, another ex-Dodger with a checkered past. But one thing is certain. Julio will have plenty of time to think about his bizarre behavior, how it cost him millions of dollars and further tarnished what was left of his reputation. He’s a talented young man and I sincerely hope he gets the help he needs.