I want to send a copy of TRADING MANNY to Dustin Richardson, the 26-year old relief pitcher who just became the latest ballplayer to get tagged with a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug agreement.
It was reported by the New York Times in this story that Richardson’s had an astounding cocktail of banned substances in his system that included some five different steroids. Richardson was no big-league star; he knocked around for a couple of years with the Red Sox during the ’09 and ’10 seasons before returning to the minors last year. When his drug test came back at the end of last season, he was found to have been stacking drugs like one of those champion cup-stackers, a dizzying amount of chemicals.
I was especially struck in the story about the comments from his mother, reached at her Kansas home, who said, “Dustin realized it was the biggest mistake of his life.” And she hoped someone would give him another chance.
I want to send him a copy of MANNY — and her, too — not as a nyah-nyah-we-caught-you exercise. There’s plenty of that going around without me adding to the noise. But I truly believe that ballplayers like Richardson have somehow forgotten the spirit that got them into baseball in the first place as kids, and the childlike wonder that still makes kids fall in love with the game and its players. TRADING MANNY is kind of a reminder that it’s okay to play clean and resist the pressures to do something so dangerous to yourself in order to try to get ahead. In baseball or any other walk of life.
I hope for Dustin Richardson’s sake — and the sake of his mom — that he can come back to the game and his life without needing drugs.