East Bound and Down with Lenny Dykstra
Lenny, just tending the rabbits.
Chaw. Chewed up and spat out. Despite the psychopathic tenacity that characterized his days on the diamond, good old Nails has got to be feeling a lot like the tobacco juice that he used to drool about the dugout. Currently penned up in San Fernando, California after being picked up for leasing cars with phony business and credit card info and possession of a solid stash of cocaine, ecstasy, and HGH—the necessary ingredients for any good-timing shenanigans—this is Dykstra’s second run in with the law in as many months. In addition to the 25 state counts of fraud, identity theft, possession, and GTA, the former Philly star also faces federal charges relating to his 2009 bankruptcy (bankruptcy fraud, obstruction of justice, etc.) which depicts the Dude in over his head for about $31 mil. Fuck.
With the extravagant sums of money he made playing baseball and as the seemingly successful car-wash magnate, all Lenny really had to do was tend the rabbits. But a dude that wound up just can’t get comfortable sitting still. Instead he ventured to test his luck as an entrepreneur, an investment analyst (even appearing on Mad Money, illustrating the extent to which Jim Kramer’s got his head shoved up his own ass), a publisher, and a real estate mogul. The disaster that ensued should have come as little surprise to any that followed his career on the field, and though tragic to a fan that idolized the manic slugger and drug-fueled all-star, it seems to be a simple case of destiny unbound—the ultimate culmination of baseball’s most colossal train-wreck.
The blind leading the blind.
(For a very prescient piece written about one of Dykstra’s crazed exploits at an Atlantic City Baccarat table before the ’93 season, please follow the link: “We’re On a Fucking Role, Dude”.)
Let me be clear. Lenny Dykstra, the man, the myth, the soon-to-be-convicted felon, was and will always be unequivocally my favorite baseball player on my favorite baseball team—the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies (Kruk, Philly H.O.F. interview on the ’93 Phillies)—of all time. I wore number 4 all throughout little league in the hope that I’d emulate his impassioned play, and would stuff entire packages of Big League Chew into my right cheek and spit shredded gum to emulate his reckless abandon—and because it looked Bad Ass. I was emotionally shattered over the baseball strike of ’94 and now, despite the large repository of evidence suggesting that Nails was always little more than a cheating, fraudulent bastard with unused and abused latent talent, I find myself seriously distressed over Dykstra’s demise.
However, I do find the whole situation laughably entertaining. It’s absolutely hilarious that anyone would take financial advice from, let alone enter into any sort of business arrangement with, a known lunatic with a propensity for hard drugs and burning through large stacks of cash with minimal regard for the consequential damage. I mean, he was the guy sitting next to Darryl Strawberry when he was on the Mets blowing lines on the back of bus (Yes, a bus. While all other teams surely had planes at this point, fuck the Mets. They get a bus.)Shit, he’d do key-bumps between innings just to keep limber—fired up and ready to ignite at any moment.
Dynamite on the field and hazardously explosive off of it, Dykstra’s antics (like smashing his Benz all loaded up on booze and benzos with Darren Daulton in the passenger seat following a John Kruk Bachelor Party) led many to gawk in awe, wondering how long the freak-show could possibly sustain itself. But as it turned out, Nails sort of spontaneously combusted and will now almost certainly be left to fizzle out in a jail cell.
Well, cocaine’s a hell of a drug and Lenny…he was a hell of a ball player.