Thomm Quackenbush, author

Darryl Strawberry

America is all about the potential to achieve rather than any actual accomplishments. Take stem cell research for example. They're never going to get paralyzed people to walk. To think otherwise would be falling into the trap of optimism. Besides, without a world of cool crippled people, we'd never know the joy of watching wheelchair-bound humor mills attempting to do the little things, like going down a hill. Without the laugher generated, this world would surely descend into a land of madness where the leader of the free world talks to Jesus and that is frankly nuts. So rather than achieve, we should fail and maybe that's the whole point to this life. That and laughing as paralyzed people roll uncontrollably into oncoming traffic while a gaggle of onlookers applaud as a tractor trailer hits its mark. Darryl Strawberry, for all intents and purposes, is the Christopher Reeves of Major League Baseball, which degenerates into funny in my book.

It was 1983, and Regan was in the midst of creating jellybeans or some kind of laser guided missile system and the Mets once again sucked. See, as a fan of the team, I understand that I must go through periods of suck before getting a year of success that ends when our center fielder blows the finger of a fan off with a firecracker. I'm looking at you, Vince Coleman. Anyway, breaking into the majors was that sweet swinging lefty Darryl Strawberry and the press jumped all over him as the future of America's pastime. For a while it all worked out, the press touted him with the potential of being the next Babe Ruth. Granted, Ruth was an overweight alcoholic who needed a younger player to run the bases for his fat ass later in his career, but I digress. Strawberry had it all, a strong bat, a gaunt figure that lent itself to decent defense field play and a last name that practically lent it to various jam makers endorsement. After a World Series ring in 1986, the world was bright. Five Sports Illustrated covers and a Staring Lineup figure later he took his overrated bat to Los Angeles, and that's where the fun starts.

After signing with the Dodgers in 1991, something within the man snapped. Some say it was his habitual drug use, others claim the Los Angeles spotlight dimmed his soul, and others say the pressure of potential finally got to him. Ever the statesman drug user, Strawberry once said he wished Los Angeles would "burn in Hell". Which to some seems an insult, but believe me in the case of L.A. it rings true. I haven't forgotten about the 1988 playoffs, you West Coast jerks, and I never will. Anyway, after bouncing around the West Coast, and testing positive for cocaine, he found himself back in New York, this time with the Yankees, and once again captured the hearts and minds of the New York audience. As it happens, another former drug-ridden superstar, Dwight Gooden, happened to be his teammate, which is odd considering in 1998 his numbers increased dramatically. What can I say, pot is a hell of a drug. After collecting a few more World Series rings, Strawberry retired in mediocrity with 355 career home runs and 1,000 RBIs.

In the end, a potentially great player reduced into a good player with hilarious personal trauma. In 2005, he divorced his wife and to this day, his son disavows his father's presence. Marge Simpson once said, "Aim low, aim so low that if you fail no one will care." The great irony about this whole article is that one day a truck will run me over. Karma works like that sometimes. If it makes you feel any better, he survived cancer. Anyway, I feel terrible about the opening of this article. Oh, well no need to dwell in the past, what can you do about it?

Great Words From Great Americans
"We don't talk about the things that happened to us... If we didn't have some issues, I mean, what coulda been, coulda been." -Darryl Strawberry

Stevehen J. Warren was born in America. He knows people. American people. You should contact him if you are an American. Or if you aren't an America, but have ever met one.
He writes just to spite you.


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