I’m a diehard Redbirds fan, and I am also a recovering alcoholic.
Pitcher Josh Hancock crashed into a tow truck in St. Louis with twice the legal BAC. Luckily he didn’t hurt anyone else.
A few weeks prior to that, manager Tony LaRussa got nailed for DUI during spring training.
90% of alcoholics relapse at least once in a 4 year perioed. One in 12 adults abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent. So far I’ve beaten the odds 6 1/2 years into my sobriety.
I recognize that baseball is a game. I don’t expect it to be populated by saints. I personally prefer that my kid look up to my stepson in the Marines than some overpaid, pampered sports star – so I’m not going to trot out that line about “what does it show to the kids?” Frankly, it doesn’t matter.
However Josh Hancock wore the Redbirds uniform, as does Tony LaRussa. That uniform has only been worn by a select group of men who have earned it. Some of those men, like Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst, have become legends on and off the field. Others, great men as well, have drunk themselves into the gutter after having worn it.
Tony wears that uniform, and even though I’m a big fan of him as a manager, I’ll call for his head if he keeps disrespecting that uniform by allowing his players to ruin their lives while they are wearing it. The same goes for him.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is a veritable rogues gallery, and that’s part of the appeal of the sport. However what happened with Hancock could have been an even worse tragedy, one that could have damaged the Cardinals team beyond repair had he gotten drunk or stoned and killed somebody.
So I’m calling you out, Tony LaRussa. You get your kiester in rehab fast, and get your players into treatment before something awful happens to my beloved Redbirds.