Monday, June 15, 2009

Slade Heathcott's "Character Issues"

I wrote a post last Wednesday, talking about the Yankees first round draft pick, Slade Heathcott. Naturally, there was a lot of hype about the five tool high school outfielder out of Texarkana, Texas, and I wanted to spotlight him a little bit on the site here for those who hadn't really followed the draft. One of the things that emerged from many of the scouting reports were whispers of "off-the-field problems" and "character issues".

Specifically, he was declared academically ineligible for a short time, some said that he was cocky, and various sources claimed "his father is in prison on drug charges while his mother reportedly has drug issues" or things to that affect.

Yesterday, we received an anonymous comment on the post I wrote from someone claiming to be Slade's mother, Kimberly. I recognize that this is not the most infallible source, but the post had been up for four days with little activity beyond the first day and there were details within the comment that I personally don't think it would be likely for a random person to fabricate. Giving the timing and the content, I would tend to assume it was her. That's my opinion, you can judge for yourself:
Yes, this is Slade's mother Kimberly and I am not sure where all this mess about me being out of his life and drugs is coming from , but I assure you I am in regular contact with my son and attend his games. I moved to another town recently due to getting remarried. I also have a 16 yr old and he does live with me. Slade stayed in TK to finish high school. I am a very devoted and loving mother whom has given her whole life to her kids. I don't touch drugs or cigarettes and never have, I appal them. His father has had problems in the PAST due to a car accident. He is not in prison and is clean. However, I do appreciate you very much taking the time to write about my son. We are very proud parents of both our boys. They are great, great kids as anyone will tell you! Thank you...
Take it for what it's worth. I tried to verify what Slade's mother's name was, and see if I could verify any of the information in the comment, but basic Google searches and reaching out to other Yankee bloggers who had written about Slade came up empty.

During my research, I came across an interview with Slade by Lane Meyer from No Maas which was conducted before the Yankees actually drafted him. It's pretty lengthy, but a really interesting read if you are looking to find out more about Heathcott. He says "yes, sir" and "no, sir" constantly and comes across as anything but cocky.

Lane Meyer: Scouting reports said there were “character issues” that may be a problem with you. What would you want to tell the fans that ask about that?

Slade Heathcott: I checked into that myself because I was kind of curious why that came up. I haven’t lived with my parents for two years due to various issues between them - things that happened that I have no control over. Historically, society has a tendency to see kids having troubles when they don’t have parental guidance in their life, that if they have parent issues it tends to carry over onto them. Well that’s not the case with me. It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t change me, I don’t get into trouble, and I’m not going to get into trouble. But the parents issue is why that popped up, and that makes sense to me, but I’m not like everybody else or the stereotype that people want to associate with my situation - It doesn’t affect me in anything I do.

Lane Meyer: Great to hear. You said you haven’t been living with your parents - whom have you been staying with?

Slade Heathcott: I had been staying with my friend’s family and I finally moved in with my Grandpa. He had gotten sick about a year ago and was seeing a bunch of doctors, so I ended up moving in with a friend’s family, and they were wonderful about it. Finally everything got straightened out with his health and I moved back in with him about four months ago.
Slade's comments would seem to be in accordance with comment we received, that he hasn't lived with his parents, but doesn't say anything about that "being out of his life" as was originally intimated. Not that your relationship with your parents is a perfect indicator of what kind of person you are, but it sounds like he's got a fairly stable living situation, which is an important part of growing up.

As someone who was part of spreading the initial rumors about his supposed parents drug usage, I wanted to do my part to set the record straight. I haven't been able to determine where this notion actually originated, but it seems to be an off-the-record source. It's possible, I suppose that a team with the intentions of drafting him could have propagated some false rumors to knock down his value. This type of thing is face more common in the NFL draft, but I wouldn't put it past an MLB club to try and pull such a stunt. Since the internet can sometimes be like one big game of telephone, all it takes is on salacious tidbit for it to spread like wildfire and teams should be aware of this by now.

So there it is. If anyone close to the situation has anything to add to this post, please find my email on the left side of the site, as opposed to leaving an anonymous comment. Thanks.

19 comments:

  1. The Yankees have never had a player whose parent(s) have been involved with drugs. Ever.

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  2. Certainly not, um, Joba Chamberlain.

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  3. Good post. I was wondering what his "character issues" were, thanks for providing the info.

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  4. I just ran across your post. I am Slade's great uncle (on his father's side). I know Kimberly and from what I read I would say that it is totally true. I know Slade's father had a car wreck and had some trouble about that but I'm not sure of the details. Both of Slade's parents tried to encourage him in sports since he was very young. Slade was a natural athlete in everything he tried from his grade school days. Slade was a normal, very active kid growing up. His grandparents, on both sides, will encourage and help him all they can. I haven't seen Slade since he moved to Texarkana a few years ago but I am proud of him.
    I hope Slade is successful and can handle success. I hope he is under the influence of good coaches who keep him focused on using his natural abilities.

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  5. Thanks alot for the post I too was looking into his character issues. but from all i've and seen so far looks like the yankees got themselves a great player and a good kid. as kid(now adult) who came from a house where things weren't so "normal" i give him all the credit in the world for being in the position he is in right now. he obviously worked hard and has a strong will and mind. sometimes family stuff can derail you and with slade it did not. good luck slade.

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  6. I am from Texarkana and I have a son who played with Slade at Texas High. His mother is indeed named Kim. Slade is very devoted to baseball and he thrives when he is focused on his team and team mates, be it at practice, during games or off the field. He considers them his family. He has a great work ethic and is not easily discouraged. He's certainly head strong and intense. That goes with being a great athlete. He is also a young man with a maturity level that corresponds to his age. At times he has needed a mature person to rein him in a little bit, but no more so than anyone else his age. Many many people in Texarkana have taken an interest in Slade. His love for the game of baseball is undeniable and my guess is that he will be a great asset to the Yankee organization.

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  7. Slade is a good ballplayer and if you want to try to bring him down by his parents then you are the lowest reporter in the world. He will represent the Yankees very well no doubt in my mind. See you in the bigs buddy.

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  8. Slade is a good baseball player and all around athlete for that matter. I have known Slade for a little while now and he is a good kid. Tk is behind you bro, do your best.

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  9. He's a little cocky but maintains respect for those with his best interest at heart. If anything, I would be worried about the injuries he has already suffered rather than some grade problems in high school.

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  10. You guys need to relax, the kid plays great baseball thats all that matters he is not running for freaking president he is trying to play baseball, who cares what his family is like. He obviously has a good enough head on his shoulders to make it a whole hell of a lot further than anybody commenting on this post, so back off of him and let him play baseball. The fact that you spend your time worrying about his family proves to me that you are a complete tool.

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  11. This is Zane Slade's brother and you know everyone has family problems and yes our family is pretty spilt up but we all still love each other if it would have been for our parent neither one of us would be where we are today Slade is one hell of a athleic he has put a 120% into baseball and football his whole life that all he knows is baseball. And I race go karts with team intrepid on the pro tour and our parents unlike some parents spent every extra dime on me and my brother so we could travel around the world to do the thing we loved. An you knowost parent would have even thought about doing something like that. I mean we would be in Kansas with Slade playing baseball and turn around when he got done and get on a plane to go to Denver for a race the next day that is truly to parents who love there kids. So who ever says stuff about my family need to lay off cause everyone make misstakes and no my mom "Kimberly" has never touched drugs. And yes my dad has had problem do to having a really bad car wreck so I would really like you all to stop saying everything about the familys past. Thanks

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  12. Excellent article and comments. I always mistrust the scouts who bring up "character issues". They are looking for someone to fit into a nice neat box and if he doesn't, well then he's a bad guy. So he parents split up, so what? How many people do you know that would have had a happier upbringing if their parents had taken the hard decision to break up instead of prolonging the agony?

    Slade sounds like a great kid and I will be rooting hard for him to fulfill his vast potential. Go get 'em, Slade!

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  13. Hi this is Rex, Slade's dog, and I just want to say Slade is an awesome owner, he feeds me on time every day and he can really hit a curve ball. Kimberly is really nice to me but Zane kicked me a couple times so I don't know. Thanks.

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  14. I met Slade last year in Mich. before he signed and have watched him play in Tampa and joined him for dinner recently. Forget the character issues, he is an extremely polite and respectful young man who is a hell of a ballplayer. Go get it Slade!!!! 4-1-10

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  15. Good Luck today Slade!!! We love you so much!

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  16. Bobby Patton4/4/10, 9:32 PM

    I actually know slade and played on a team with him. He is very confident in his ability which he should be because he is an awesome player. I truly think he is one of the most respectable guys I have ever meet and is a great guy. Slade you the man!

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  17. I AM SLADES NEIGHBOR HE IS A GOOD BOY VERY KIND TO IMMIGRANT BLACK MEXICAN SPANISH PPL N PEURTO RICAN 2 AND FOREIGN PPL HE HELP MOW THE LAWN VERY FRIENDLY AND SLADE U DO GOOD AND MAKE A LOT OF MONEY IN BASEBALL WE SUPPORT U!!!!!!!!!!

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  18. Hi, this is glove, Slade's baseball glove. I just stumbled on your article and wanted to say Slade is a great guy and always cleans and oils me when i get stiff and wears me with respect. I can't vouch for Rex, Zane or great uncle Jeb but from my perspective Slade is very respectful. Great hands, too!

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  19. Slade is an amazing athlete, and no one's family life is perfect!

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