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Wow, it’s just over two months till baseball season begins again. A new stadium, a Plan that is arguably working, some hellos, some goodbyes. Fare-thee-well, Robert Fick. I shall miss the easy pun. Welcome home, Ray King! You wouldn’t have enjoyed the off-season here anyway.

But the player I’m most looking forward to seeing in red and white is Elijah Dukes. Dukes’ signing, in concert with that of aspiring music mogul Lastings Milledge, raised eyebrows among the sort of people who raise their eyebrows.

Dukes, you see, is quite a character. Here, from a fine piece of reporting in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, some highlights from his tenure with Tampa Bay:

  • Burst in on his estranged wife’s classroom, stating he was gonna beat her ass and kill her
  • Left his ex-wife several death threats on her voice mail, including this charmer:

    “Hey, dawg. It’s on, dawg. You dead, dawg. I ain’t even bulls———-. Your kids too, dawg. It don’t even matter to me who is in the car with you. N——-, all I know is, n——-, when I see your m——-f———- a— riding, dawg, it’s on. As a matter of fact, I’m coming to your m——-f——— house.”

  • Sent ex-wife a text message with a picture of a handgun.
  • Caught a marijuana-possession charge.

OK, that’s 2007. Here are some fun ones from the years before.

  • Was suspended for refusing to leave the dugout after being ejected from a game and rebuked for saying that minor-leaguers “shower in sewer water”
  • Arrests for assault, “obstructing an officer without violence,” battery (twice), and a sworn request for prosecution for this gem:

    According to the Tampa Police Department, one of Dukes’ ex-girlfriends filed a sworn request for prosecution against him on Jan. 24, 2005. The ex-girlfriend, Zanquesha L. Jefferson, told police that Dukes choked her with his right hand and forced her into a chair. He squeezed her cheeks while demanding a kiss, the records show. The outcome of the complaint could not be determined Wednesday.

  • And five children by four women, which at least demonstrates time-management skills: His first two children were born eight days apart; his three youngest were all delivered in June or July (his schedule in October is relatively light).

The Nats have “support systems” in place for Dukes. Going forward, consider this space one more.