In the minds of most baseball fans of a certain age, Doc Gooden and Daryl Strawberry are joined at the hip. They each won a World Series ring with the Mets, each were part of the mid-late 90s Yankee dynasty at the end of their careers and, unfortunately, each had a good deal of their promise as baseball players destroyed by substance abuse.
Moreover, they have always been portrayed as — or assumed to be — friends. And at times they have been friendly. But Doc Gooden says that’s no more. Here are some of Gooden’s comments from Kevin Kernan’s story in the New York Post from the other day:
“I’m tired of him taking shots at me . . . I don’t understand why he constantly tries to take shots at me when I was there to support him. It’s not worth it to reach out to him anymore. What’s the point?”
Gooden is referring specifically to comments Strawberry made about Gooden last summer when, after Gooden did not show up to a public appearance both were scheduled for, Strawberry publicly speculated that Gooden was doing drugs again and suggested that Gooden’s life was in danger. Gooden refuted that and continues to.
No matter what was or was not going on with Gooden, he certainly did not appreciate the public speculation from Strawberry. Speculation that, from Strawberry’s point of view may have been well-intended, though Gooden tells Kernan that he believes jealousy and self-promotion on Strawberry’s part may have been involved.
It’s a sad situation all around. Those guys were super important to a lot of baseball fans at a certain point in time. They also taught a lot of baseball fans a lesson about human frailty and the risk of making a hero out of an athlete. The public saga continues. For better or for worse.