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Pitching coach Neil Allen suspended following DWI arrest

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Allen suffered a well-publicized battle with alcoholism as a player in the '80s, and was denied help by MLB before getting sober on his own. Apparently, however, his demons have returned.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Twins pitching coach Neil Allen was arrested this morning in Minneapolis for DWI. The Twins have suspended him indefinitely and named Eric Rasmussen, the Twins' minor league pitching coordinator, as interim pitching coach. The team also released the following statement:

"The Minnesota Twins are aware of the pending DWI charge against Pitching Coach Neil Allen. Mr. Allen has been suspended, with pay, indefinitely and the matter will be handled in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club."

I joked earlier today that one positive about the 2016 Twins season is that it could not possibly get worse. I was wrong.

Look, I know we joke a lot around here about rally beers and the Twins driving us to drink, but this is not a joke. Neil Allen has a long and well known history of battling alcoholism.

During his playing career in the '80s, Allen's heavy drinking came up frequently. He was known to spend entire nights out drinking after games, never even going back to his hotel room before returning to the ballpark. Once while with the Mets in 1983, Allen went missing for days before asking the team for help with his alcohol problem. The Mets took it as an excuse to get out of work and had doctors tell him he was not an alcholic.

Allen told reporters about frequently "puking and shaking and having the dry heaves in the bullpen" after his all-nighters, and drinking beer before games just to stop the shakes. Once, when Allen actually returned to the hotel after being out, teammate Rickey Henderson confronted him and the two got in a shouting match over his habits. Rickey later called Allen out in the media for drinking too much.

The Chicago Tribune wrote about Allen trying to get sober in 1990:

A few weeks later he was in the Indian farm system rehabilitating a broken hand when a friend, concerned by another stupor, gave Allen a Breathalyzer test. The result? "I was .285," Allen recalled. "Someone told me I was one drink from death. That was June 19. That was my last drink."

Allen went for help and spent a month at the Valhalla Clinic in Sarasota, Fla. He now attends AA meetings three to four times a week. He hasn`t forgotten how far he fell and how far he has to come back.

"I remember in the clinic, they wouldn't even let me use my Listerine," Allen said with a smile. "But everything is fine now. I feel the best I've ever felt. I go to bed about 10 at night and wake up at about 6:30 in the morning and get to the park at 8:30. The only time I ever have a problem is about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., you know, what used to be happy hour. But I just go to a movie and when I come out, I'm OK.

"I just feel different. I handle myself differently. I was a mess back then. I can't believe I`m alive. I shouldn't be standing here."

That period of sobriety didn't last long, however. Allen told the Star Tribune last year about his desperately ill father begging him to stop drinking again in 1994. "My two brothers were also home to be with Dad," Neil said. "There was a six-pack of Falstaff in the refrigerator. We sat at the kitchen table, drank two beers apiece, and I haven’t had a drink since."

Maybe that was true then, but we know it's not true now.

The Twins are absolutely right for suspending Neil Allen indefinitely. This is not just a bad mistake, this is a serious problem. Allen needs to get help, and everyone here at Twinkie Town is rooting for him.