During my daily boredom induced web surfing, I came across yet another reason why being a Mets fan can sometimes be painful. As we all know, Michael Vick has just been sentenced to 23 months in prison. In “celebration” of that, Sports Illustrated (si.com) has put together a photo gallery of famous athletes who have gone to jail. Lo and behold, 2 of the top five are …you guessed it…METS!!! The first one listed is none other than our beloved Dr. K, Dwight Gooden. This is the caption next to the photo:
“NL Rookie of the Year in 1984 and the Cy Young winner in 1985, when he led the majors in wins, strikeouts and ERA, Doc has a long history of cocaine and alcohol abuse. He began serving a one-year prison term in April 2006 related to probation violations.”
Of course, not far behind him is my all time favorite player…Darryl Eugene Strawberry. This is the little blurb accompanying the photo:
“The 1983 NL Rookie of the Year and an eight-time All-Star, Strawberry has had numerous run-ins with the law. He served 11 months in prison for probation violations stemming from a cocaine-possession charge.”
Ironically these two men are forever linked, in infamy rather than baseball immortality. I realize not all of us remember Docs blazing fastball or Darryl’s mammoth homeruns, but for this Mets fan, their exploits (however shortened) helped to seal the passion and loyalty I carry in my heart for the Mets to this day. I wish so badly that they would be next to each other in Cooperstown rather than a book of mug shots. Today as I look on the faces of my heroes, somehow they don’t seem as large as they used to be. A sobering reminder that even if you reach the top you better be careful, because the fall won’t leave you looking pretty. No matter what, Docs’ leg kick and Darryl’s sweet swing will forever be etched into my memory, and that is as it should be. After all, everyone needs a hero…Who’s yours?