Jim Leyritz' Long Road to the Bottom

World Series hero keeps sliding downhill

In November, the New York Times profiled former Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz. They found a man living on handouts to eke out a living financially while he was awaiting his trial on DUI manslaughter charges after the 2007 car accident that killed Fredia Veitch.

In February, we learned that Leyritz was headed to prison for violating the conditions of his bond. He was unable to stay away from alcohol, and, more damningly, got behind of the wheel of a car after driving. His lawyers were able to get him released after five days, but it wasn't the end of the bad news.

Thursday finds Leyritz in a Florida hospital after a relative called police to tell them that Leyritz was threatening to take his own life. A police spokesman said that Leyritz became frustrated Wednesday night when his car, outfitted with an alcohol-monitoring device, wouldn't start. There's no indication at this point that he was drinking, although there's no other explanation for why the car wouldn't start either.

It's also unclear if this will affect the start of Leyritz's trial, which is currently set to begin on May 25th. Back in November, I wrote the following about Leyritz.

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As for Leyritz himself, it’s hard not to feel a mixture of sympathy and disgust. He lived his life in a spoiled, immature way and it caught up with him. Hopefully his punishment will be commensurate to his crime, and he can use this incident as a springboard to a more productive life.

It's hard to know how much that's changed, although the story is a lot sadder at this moment. Hopefully he gets the help he needs so that he doesn't hurt himself, but you have to wonder if there's any way Leyritz's story has a happy ending regardless of the outcome of his trial.

Prison is awful, even if it is what Leyritz deserves for his role in the car accident that touched off this spiral, but the outside world doesn't seem to hold much promise for him either. What an awful spot to find yourself in, especially when you got there on an express elevator from the top.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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