Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles was arrested last week in Key West, Florida, after being found asleep behind a Federal Express building at the airport. The police report listed his address as “the streets of Key West,” per the Miami Herald.
Toles was released on $500 bail, and now his family is searching for him.
Bob Nightengale at USA Today talked to Toles’ sister Morgan, an assistant basketball coach at Kent State, and his father Alvin, a former NFL linebacker, who said Toles has been in at least 20 mental health facilities since last year.
“The last time I saw my brother, I don’t even know,’’ Morgan says. “I haven’t heard his voice in, Lord knows how long. The only difference in my brother and the homeless walking the streets in LA is that he made money. That’s it. We want to help him so badly. We are doing everything we can.
“But the loved ones are the ones he runs from.
“How do you help somebody that doesn’t want to be helped?”
Toles was placed on the restricted list by the Dodgers when he didn’t report to spring training in 2019, saying only he was dealing with a personal matter.
Nightengale provided details, including that Toles was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia:
The next time the Dodgers knew about his whereabouts was when they received a call from the Phoenix police in early February. He crashed his car and was walking along a desert highway disoriented, and dangerously dehydrated, unaware of his whereabouts. He was admitted to a Phoenix area hospital, and Toles’ mother, Vicky, contacted the Dodgers, seeking help.
“He recognized me in the hospital from our time together in Tampa,’’ said Dodgers medical director Ron Porterfield, who had spent 21 years with the Rays. “He said my name, but he didn’t even know how he got from LA to Phoenix. He asked me to take him home. I said, ‘Where are we going?’ He said, ‘To my apartment.’ But he didn’t know where his apartment was.”
Alvin Toles told Nightengale he heard from several former teammates and current Dodgers last weekend, and that third baseman Justin Turner offered to pay Toles’ medical bills.
This is all so incredibly sad. Here we are about to start up a baseball season during a pandemic, and all the dangers that brings. It’s important to keep in mind what really matters in life, and it sure doesn’t seem to be baseball right now, even as much as we might want it to.
Pedro Moura at The Athletic wrote a wonderful profile of Toles during the 2018 season, when Toles was healthy and playing baseball. Toles opened up about dealing with anxiety, his past, and mental health, among other things.
“You just gotta know that you’re not the only one with an issue,” he said. “You gotta know that there are other people out there with problems, and you’re not the only person on the planet who is having this type of issue. That’s just peace of mind, knowing you can get through it, because other people have.”
All we can hope for is that Toles gets the help he needs, and that he can once again find that peace of mind.
As his sister Morgan told Nightengale, “I don’t particularly care if my brother plays baseball again. I just want him to be a functioning human being in society.”