Way Back Base Ball: April 2009 Archives

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Many a Phillies fan I know was not able to get through the playoffs last season without the use of some sort of intoxicant. While some may have enjoyed the playoffs with one of baseball's traditional drugs (steroids, amphetamines, beer, LSD), it's clear a lot of Phillies fans needed a lot of weed to get through the first meaningful playoff baseball since 1993. I know, I smelled it on Broad Street after the World Series win.

The Phillies apparently did, too, and have rewarded the team's faithful stoners by holding a dollar dog promotion today, 4/20. It might get rained out, so this intro is kind of ruined, but whatever: Grab your dugout, get out your one-hitter and put in your harmless tobacco, people. It's time to learn what I could learn about marijuana and baseball in five minutes of Googling.

• We all know that beer has done good (Babe Ruth:beer::Popeye:spinach) and bad (Mickey Mantle's liver) for baseball. But did you know the demon weed has done bad for baseball, too? Former Braves prospect Joe Winkelsas blew his chance at baseball because he couldn't stop smoking pot.

Winkelsas loved two things when he entered the Braves farm system as a free agent in 1996: baseball and marijuana," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote. "But probably in the reverse order." Hey, I write the jokes here! He pitched once for the Braves in 1999 and registered a 54.00 ERA. But Winkelsas kicked the wacky weed and returned to the majors in 2006. While that's a pretty cool comeback time-wise, he wasn't much better as a pitcher. But his ERA was a little lower!

• Ha ha, remember in 2002 when every single player on the New York Mets was a pothead? You'd smoke every day, too, if your GM was Steve Phillips. The New York Times reminds us of the controversy, which started when Newsday wrote at least seven (SEVEN!) players on the Mets and in their farm system smoked a little pot. GASP!

Grant Roberts, a pitcher, acknowledged that he was the player shown smoking marijuana in a photograph that was published with the Newsday article, but he said the photo was provided by a woman who was extorting him. ''I'm sorry,'' Roberts said to a roomful of reporters and television cameras at Shea Stadium. ''I'm very embarrassed by the situation. I made a mistake. The picture that you all saw is from the off-season in 1998. The woman who gave up the picture has also tried to threaten me and do other things, to get me to do stuff and give her things. And obviously I did not. Again, I'm sorry and I apologize to the New York Mets organization and to their fans. I love and respect this game a lot and I'm going to continue to play and I look forward to putting this behind me and moving on.''

As you no doubt remember, Roberts lost his sponsorship deal with Kellogg's.

There's a bonus with this story, too, since it's from 2002: A Bobby Valentine sighting!

The developments made for a bizarre scene at Shea, where team officials departed from their usual policy and closed the clubhouse and adjacent hallway to news media representatives for nearly two hours. When it was opened, reporters swarmed around players and team officials. At one point, Manager Bobby Valentine, trying to illustrate the potential dangers of playing under the influence of drugs, struck a pose as a disoriented hitter swinging an imaginary bat. The day ended with the Mets losing to the Montreal Expos, 6-1.

Geeze, if this was how the Mets spent September of 2002, what were they on in September of 2007? (My best guess: PCP.)

• That's it! Every other thing I found while Googling was about college baseball teams being busted for weed, or some random baseball-related people getting hit for possession. Even Rex Hudler! Enjoy the rest of your day!