For­giv­ing Yan­kees fans awed by 100 mph closer

San Francisco Chronicle - - BASEBALL -

The raised voices, the gasps, the screams of dis­be­lief that have fol­lowed Aroldis Chap­man since the day he first put on pin­stripes are not born of out­rage or dis­gust. Just the op­po­site. Chap­man served a 30-game sus­pen­sion for do­mes­tic-vi­o­lence al­le­ga­tions this sea­son, but was nei­ther ar­rested nor charged. And when Chap­man takes the mound at Yan­kee Sta­dium, as the closer did Fri­day night to pro­tect a 5-3 lead over the Twins, peo­ple no longer seem in­ter­ested in the ugly in­ci­dents of the past.

The only thing fans are fix­ated on is the score­board, and par­tic­u­larly the radar gun, which crack­led Fri­day with triple-dig­its: 101 ... 102 ... 103 ... 104.

What­ever ini­tial shock the base­ball pub­lic dis­played at the Yan­kees’ trade for Chap­man in Jan­uary has al­most com­pletely dis­solved to awe. The trans­for­ma­tion from ac­cused do­mes­tic abuser to bullpen mar­vel is just about com­plete. Not only that, but should the Yan­kees choose to trade Chap­man in the next month, there also will be no short­age of suit­ors.

Six months ago, Chap­man was ra­dioac­tive, with the Dodgers choos­ing to walk away from an agreed trade with the Reds when the do­mes­tic-vi­o­lence al­le­ga­tions first sur­faced. But the Yan­kees, af­ter what gen­eral man­ager Brian Cash­man de­scribed as ex­haus­tive re­search into the Oct. 30 in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Chap­man and his girl­friend, turned out to be com­fort­able ac­quir­ing him.

“I think we men­tally pre­pared for tur­bu­lence,” Cash­man said Fri­day. “But I think we took the ap­proach of be­ing very hon­est in how we com­mu­ni­cated about it, and what­ever was go­ing to oc­cur was go­ing to oc­cur.”

It’s worth re­vis­it­ing the Yan­kees’ process, along with Chap­man’s cur­rent rock-star sta­tus in the Bronx, in light of the Mets sign­ing Jose Reyes, who just served a 52-game sus­pen­sion for al­leged do­mes­tic abuse, to a mi­nor-league con­tract.

There are some im­por­tant dis­tinc­tions to make, as de­tailed by the po­lice re­ports. Reyes was ar­rested on Hal­loween in Maui for al­leged do­mes­tic abuse, and his wife, Kather­ine, was treated at a hos­pi­tal for her in­juries. Charges were dropped af­ter Reyes’ wife re­fused to co­op­er­ate for the trial.

Chap­man’s case didn’t make it that far. Ac­cord­ing to the Davie, Fla., po­lice, Chap­man al­legedly fired eight gun­shots in his garage af­ter an ar­gu­ment with his girl­friend, who ac­cused him of chok­ing her and later was found hid­ing in the bushes. Chap­man told po­lice that he had “poked” her on the left shoulder dur­ing the ver­bal al­ter­ca­tion.

Ma­jor League Base­ball, af­ter its in­de­pen­dent ex­am­i­na­tion of the de­tails — in­clud­ing an in­ter­view with Chap­man — de­cided to sus­pend him for 30 games, mak­ing Chap­man the first player dis­ci­plined un­der the sport’s new Joint Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence pol­icy.

Chap­man de­clined his right to ap­peal Man­fred’s rul­ing. But he did not nec­es­sar­ily agree with it, nor did he ex­plic­itly ad­mit any wrong­do­ing.

“We’re happy to have him,” Cash­man said. “He’s been a very pro­duc­tive mem­ber of our team . ... He han­dled the cir­cum­stances as well as you could ask some­body.”

Patrick Se­man­sky / As­so­ci­ated Press

Aroldis Chap­man was sus­pended af­ter do­mes­tic-vi­o­lence al­le­ga­tions.

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