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Pills, Bullies and Pink Weights


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Hayherst. excerpt.

I shook the bottles of oxycodone and sleeping pills like maracas, then sat them on the kitchen counter and opened the refrigerator. A twenty-four pack of Yuengling lager stared back at me. I pulled one of the cold, sweaty green bottles out of the box and popped the cap off. Then I shook out a pair of sleeping pills from its bottle and swallowed them with a swig of Pennsylvania's finest suds.

I'd been feeling things I didn't understand, but I decided that I didn't have to understand them. I just had to turn them off. The sleeping pills made it all go away. Without them I'd get home around noon, fiddle with the Internet, panic about how I was wasting my day, get in the car, go nowhere, get out of the car, go back into the apartment, hate myself, feel strangely emotional, hate myself some more, call Bonnie, tell her everything was fine, then lie in bed for a few hours, wondering why I couldn't sleep. With the pills it was clean, simple, easy. I'd pop a few after my rehab, go to sleep and wake up around six a.m.—after fourteen or so hours of sleep—rested and ready to face a day of pink weights and social isolation.

By early March, however, I was taking a trio of pills every afternoon, along with several beers. I didn't think anything of it, honestly. Normal tolerance building. It was similar to how I made it through my first year with the Blue Jays. I learned it from watching other guys on the team. I believed that I just needed to ride out whatever it was that was making me feel down . . . and that I shouldn't have felt down in the first place, since I was making such great money and would have my job all year.

Because I didn't have the cross-country-flights-screw-up-my-sleep excuse to get more sleeping pills should my supply run out, I started mixing in the oxycodone (which also made me drowsy), or more alcohol, or both. I never turned to hard liquor because that sounded like something a guy who had a problem would do, and I did not have a problem. I just liked sleeping.

I rationed out the pills to make sure they'd last, stocked up on beer, and made sure not to spend too much time at the park, where I often felt isolated in the training room, inadequate because of my injury, and angry because of Brice. As long as my routine didn't change, I'd make it through spring training by hitting my internal snooze button repeatedly. I projected that I'd run out of pills just after spring training, by which time I'd be throwing again and Brice would be gone. That, I believed, would make all the difference in whatever was bothering me.

Of course, this was all based on the assumption that things wouldn't get worse.

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As the BJ turns.

Great writing from the excerpt though. Toronto players & coaches from then seem like pretty big jerks.

I don't get that necessarily. It's a freaky tangent of insight, but insight nonetheless into the Jays' or probably anyone's ST camp. I did a little research and this was probably about 2003? The window into ML players ... I don't know the word... psyche, mindset. It's fascinating. From Hayhurst's wiki page, he went into broadcasting after his career too, Hayhurst and the PBP guy made some comments about Bucholz doctoring the ball, Zaun also into broadcasting and made some comments too. The reaction was swift and harsh. "You were NEVER a good pitcher, and their [PBP guy]was never even a waterboy." Not an old boy's club so much, but a successful players' club. If you didn't make it you were less. Like royalty and underlings.

"By this point in camp, some cuts had been made and the team was starting to bond, forming a sense of who was going to stick around and who was heading to Triple-A. In many ways, I was cut, and my presence around the club was like that of an outsider—like someone who gets kicked off a reality television show contest but then gets invited back for a reunion."

I'm rambling but it's one of the few deep insights I've ever read.


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Those guys didn't hold back that's for sure. I think I'd like to read his first book and then check out this next one in full. If anything he seems to be pretty descriptive about baseball life.

I liked the first book. Then I made the mistake of following him on Twitter and grew to dislike him. I haven't tried his later books.

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That's also the feeling I get just from reading that bit.

Maddon is no Genius?

“Winning has a way of making people look smarter then they actually are. The meager budget of the Rays versus the massive budgets of their division rivals inflated Maddon’s success to near super human proportions. It was said he could skipper a team of little leaguers to an AL division title like some kind of managerial McGyver. It was said that he understood the game so well he felt it in a metaphysical baseball sense; baseball in relation to the ebb and flow of the universe or something. The truth, however, was that Joe Maddon was simply an excellent salesman.”

“To many, Maddon was outside the box. But a lot of that had to do with the fact that “the box”, as it pertains to baseball, is an easy container to spill out of. Most of the techniques Joe used were used by managers in the business world and had been around for years. Managers talking with players one-on-one was only unique because so few managers did it. Baseball, so slow to change and adapt, has a way of making geniuses out of people who do things folks in the real world have been doing for ages. Managerial decisions based on big data? That’s not new. Neither are ice-breaker meetings, team building exercises, or fun group functions based around building team identity. Joe Maddon just dressed it all up in a baseball uniform and taught it how to speak the lexicon of a major league athlete. He was charismatic and a natural leader. He read people well and understood the games value system. But if he’s a genius, it’s only because he had the courage and foresight to breakaway from the draconian rules that have governed baseball’s social morays for decades.”

“He had various artifacts scattered around the office, some baseball, some personal, including a ten-speed bike was parked against the wall. He’d been known to ride it into work, although I don’t know why he’d bother considering he drove a finely restored 1972 Chevy Malibu. I guess when you’re Joe Maddon, you do whatever you want.”

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