A good barometer of how fans feel come from wbsites and blogs, and it is almost universal that people in the Washington region give a big thumbs down to the move.
It looks like Rays' fans are elated that Dukes is out of their hair; however, a lot of Nationals fans are livid and some outright fearful that he'll do something crazy.
I read a lot of blogs, and besides the sordid Michael Vick affair I've not seen this much anger towards an athlete, incident or a transaction in quite a while.
As a baseball move, I think the Nationals once again got a another potential boon providing Dukes can progress as a ballplayer and live up to his potential. He's only 23, blessed with great athleticism, and power; thus, if he can lay regularly, he may be an effective, if not very good player. However, he needs to be a lot more selective at the plate and be patient, but the tools are already there.
Well, for the off-the-field issues, I am going to give my opinion as succinctly as I can.
In life, people make dumb mistakes; however, when you cross the line of a mistake and go into darker territory, such a committing a crime, or making threats to someone, it's a whole other ball game with me.
Elijah Dukes to me is just an athlete who will help the Nationals in their quest to be a better team; however, personally, I hope he knows that he's got an opportunity and gift that very precious few have.
From what I have read on his life, he's had it hard in this time on earth, and has gone through stuff no child should have to go through.
Not that it should excuse the anti-social and sordid behavior he's engaged in. In reading some of the posts, a few people have mentioned Dmitri Young as an example of man a who also was a in state of crisis before he joined the Washington organization, but he picked up the pieces of his life and career.
From that point, he's become a fan favorite in Washington. As crazy as it may sound, I kind of hope the same happens for Elijah.
Not because he's a ballplayer, but he's a young man who needs to learn what he's got. I'm not talking about baseball -- I'm talking about his family, and his own self-being to look after.
Well, I have another reason to hope Dukes does well in Washington; he reminds me of my brother, who is around his age that has gone through a lot of issues with drugs and crime, but has managed to turn his life around through faith, working hard and trying to be a good person.
If he can change, he might inspire others to, and that's more than he can possibly do on any ball field.
As we have learned in the past two weeks, it could be gone in an instant.
In the end as a fan and also a person, I hope Elijah changes his life as he and his family would be better for it.
If he's not changed at all, then the court of public opinion will deal with him.
America likes to give people multiple chances, but people who waste it get zero sympathy.
It may be wishful thinking, but I'm hoping by this time next year, we'll be talking about Elijah Dukes with the same affinity fans have for Dmitri Young.
Here are a few posts on Dukes from the various Washington National, Rays, and other baseball blogs: