The Lenny Dykstra saga continues

So I needed to do anything I could to protect my job, take care of my family. Do you have any idea how much money was at stake? Do you?… Real money, bro, there’s no way you can’t do everything and anything you can to maximize that.

Lenny Dykstra on steroids.

As Michael O’Keefe and Andy Martino point out in the linked piece, the revelation that Lenny Dykstra took steroids isn’t exactly breaking news. Randall Lane’s new book puts it in context with Dykstra’s personality and provides more evidence that Dykstra uses the word “bro” in about every other sentence, but Dykstra was named in the Mitchell Report.

I like this quote, though, because of the way it speaks to Dykstra’s motivations, and I assume the moviations of many of baseball’s steroid users. Major League Baseball is a massively competitive undertaking and its players are massively competitive people. Many of them were (and many probably still are) willing to jeopardize their longterm health for an additional edge, or, once steroids became pervasive, to be on even footing with their juiced-up brethren.

I wrote this about Dykstra last July:

Look at Lenny Dykstra. He’s a punchline now, filing for Chapter 11 after all that posturing about his financial wizardry. But the things that endeared Nails to the fans — that grit and hustle and desire that so many are looking for and that no one ever doubted in Dykstra — are likely the same qualities that prompted his downfall. Maybe Dykstra couldn’t stop competing, so he thrashed and flailed to stay afloat and took out loans all over town.

Is it a coincidence that, according to Moneyball, Billy Beane called Dykstra “perfectly designed, emotionally” for baseball? Probably. Is it a coincidence that Dykstra was named in the Mitchell Report?

Probably not. I don’t know the guy, and I’m certainly not here to say all steroid users are just like Dykstra, but no one stumbles backwards into the Major Leagues. It takes a ton of work, and anybody who completes that work has to be seriously driven.

It’s sad, really. Everything you read about Dykstra’s career in finance essentially tells of a narrow-minded man striving desperately to get ahead. When Dykstra did everything in his power to win on the baseball field, we celebrated it. He was one of the great dirty-uniform guys in Mets’ history. When Dykstra did everything in his power to win off the baseball field, it was tragic and pathetic. Probably not the type of reward he was used to for his mindset.

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