The good news Monday morning was that you responded to my text.
I simply said, “Doc, thinking of you bro, Rob.”
Just two minutes later, you hit me back on my smart phone. “What’s up….i am good my brother.”
With that, my concerns were reduced a little. But definitely not enough to totally eliminate my fears. Your timely text didn’t mean I thought life was all good and that there was nothing to worry about.
It’s just that when I read the story about you in the New York Daily News, I, like many who have followed both your life and baseball career, had to be alarmed and worried about your well-being.
The Daily News picture of you rail-thin almost made me believe that life is, indeed, tough right now and you’re in a bad place.
(Photo Credit: nydailynews.com)
When loved ones – including former teammate Darryl Strawberry – come out publicly and say that you have started using cocaine again, it’s hard to ignore.
And we get that you want to put out this public fire. It’s definitely the reason you spoke to the Daily News on Monday afternoon from your Jersey City apartment. And you denied Strawberry’s claim and proclaimed that you are doing fine.
“There’s a lot more to the story than you’d think,” Gooden told the Daily News. “I respect you coming by, it’s your job.
“But I’m going to make a written statement. It’ll be best for my family and for me. I’m doing good. Unfortunately, I just have to deal with this mess. It happens.”
Most wish they could believe you, that words on a piece of paper could eliminate the danger you appear to be in.
We all know both you and Darryl have been through Hell since bursting on the baseball scene in NYC with the Mets in the 80s.
Both of you have had issues with drugs and alcohol. You both spent time in prison.
And through all the bad times, it’s hard to remember once when Darryl said a bad word about you, put you and your business on full blast.
It’s so telling.
Strawberry seems hopeless, fearful for you.
Doc, Darryl isn’t dropping dime in a hurtful way. To the contrary. Darryl wants to help you before it’s too late.
This quote from Straw had to be as hard to deliver as it was to read Monday morning. “He’s a complete junkie-addict…I don’t think he weighs 150 pounds soaking wet right now.”
Straw added, “I have to try something before he’s dead.”
I know you are mad, furious at Darryl. You said youre ending your friendship with him. You said this to the New York Post.
“I am an addict, but when you have someone like Darryl, who you are trying to establish a relationship with…when it’s somebody you think is your friend, if he felt like that, come to me.”
Straw isn’t alone with sounding the alarm, Doc. Friends and your family are also concerned that your current condition is dire.
“I am healthy,” Doc said. “I don’t have a drug problem. I mean, I am an addict…that don’t mean I’m an active addict.”
We get it. You don’t want to believe you’re in a bad place. You are now mad at Strawberry for bringing attention to your plight.
Straw has said that he did all the behind the scenes stuff he could. That he has only come public in an attempt to help you.
That makes total sense.
This tugs at a lot of people.
If you’re a black man who was growing up in the 80s, especially in NYC, you and Darryl represented so much.
It wasn’t just that the lowly New York Mets finally had developed real superstar players from their minor league system. Oh no. It was bigger than that.
Indeed, you and Straw moved the needle.
The Mets had two of the biggest Black MLB stars on the same team at the same time. It was a dream come true for African Americans. Doc, you had the big arm and were a strikeout machine. And Darryl was a sweet, lefty-swinging bona fide home run hitter.
That’s the reason Sports America went crazy, more than 30 years later for you two after ESPN’s 30-for-30 “Doc and Darryl” aired last month.
Twitter was abuzz about your stories – how both careers and lives went array due to drugs and alcohol.
It was seeing you thin and gaunt on that show that started the whispers that maybe you had had a relapse.
If it’s true, please get help.
Trust me. Many more are rooting for you now than when you were the best pitcher in the game.