The baseball community has been left shocked by the sad plight of former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles, who was arrested on Monday after he was found sleeping behind an airport.
The 28-year-old player was detained at the airport in Key West, Florida on a trespassing charge.
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A report by the sheriff's office said Toles was found sleeping behind a Federal Express building and refused to move after several warnings by deputies that he had to leave or be arrested.
Toles, who had been with the Dodgers as recently as 2018, was homeless and had only a black backpack in his possession.
Since then there has been an outpouring of support for Toles, especially from some of his former Dodgers teammates.
Toles’ family open up on sad plight
But in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Toles’ family revealed that support isn’t the issue — it’s that Toles has been suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which has led him to consistently resist help and run from city to city.
Unless he’s been arrested, his family rarely knows where he is, or if he’s even alive.
Morgan Toles, Andrew’s sister, told USA Today that while her brother has a history of erratic behaviour that sometimes affected his baseball career, the real trouble didn’t start until about 18 months ago.
Following the end of the 2018 baseball season, Toles’ family placed him in a mental health facility. He left after two weeks, and since then he’s been in and out of 20 different mental health facilities.
Toles’ mother reached out to the Dodgers for help in February 2019 after Toles crashed his car in Phoenix and was found wandering around the desert, disoriented and dehydrated.
The Dodgers didn’t hesitate, which led to Toles’ longest stint in a mental health facility. He was released and continued to be carefully supervised, and his family believed he was making real progress.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. It’s unclear if Toles stopped taking his medication or if it simply stopped working, but after a few months in Phoenix, he demanded to come home to Atlanta.
His uncle and father, former New Orleans Saints linebacker Alvin Toles, came to Phoenix to drive him home, but Toles refused to go with them. He ran from them and stayed out of contact.
Toles’ family seeks guardianship
Morgan Toles told USA Today that the help they really need is guardianship over Toles. Without it, she believes that the cycle they’ve been through will keep happening.
Toles will be arrested, and either sent to a mental health facility or his family will place him there. He’ll stay a short time, taking medication that clears his head, and then request his release.
Since they have no authority to force him to stay, he’s released, and with his baseball earnings (over US$1 million) he can travel pretty much anywhere.
Toles family originally elected to keep Toles’ condition a secret from everyone but the Dodgers, but now that the world knows about it, Andrew’s father Alvin is relieved that it’s no longer something they have to hide.
“You cry every day, you pray every day,’’ Alvin Toles said. “It’s a relief that you know he’s alive. And now there’s no need to hide anything. Everyone now knows he has a mental illness.
“Maybe this is how God meant for this to end. Now people know. People are reaching out and asking how to help.
“We just need to find him. We need to bring him home. But he keeps running. He’s in this state of paranoia. He’s running from people. He just keeps running like someone is after him.
“He really needs help before it’s too late.’’
The way I want ro remember our pal Andrew Toles, a very kind and cordial man. Hung out and signed about 12 other people's stuff.— Backdoor Breaker (@Manic42Hispanic) June 27, 2020
This was Ryu's last assignment in Reno before getting back to the regular rotation after a groin injury. pic.twitter.com/vkQjjaBMxC
Andrew Toles has fallen on hard times so I think today is a good day for a Tolesy appreciation tweet. My favorite moment of his from 2016. A go-head grand slam vs. the #Rockies. pic.twitter.com/Y63JLF0p5t— Jake Reiner (@Reiner_Jake) June 27, 2020
Please pray for Andrew Toles tonight. Please. And check in on those you know who may be going through something.— Micah Johnson (@Micah_Johnson3) June 27, 2020
Toles never reported to pre-season training in 2019 because of a personal matter and did not play that year.
He rose from the low minors to the majors in just months and became a postseason star for the Dodgers in 2016.
He was the starting left fielder in the second half of 2016 and early in 2017. In May of that year, he tore a knee ligament and spent most of 2018 at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
With Liz Roscher and Associated Press