Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thrown Another Curve By His Own Demons

Dwight Gooden, once a marvelously talented pitcher, has struggled for years with drug addiction. In the last few years, however, he seemed to have gotten his life on track. After working as an executive for the Newark Bears, a minor league team, he was hoping to land a job as a coach for the New York Mets, the team with which he rose to stardom in the mid-1980s. The Mets had invited him to spring training as an adviser.

Then the former pitcher threw it all away - again. With his five-year-old son in the car, he rear-ended another vehicle and was arrested. New Jersey authorities charged him with driving under the influence of drugs, child endangerment, DWI with a child passenger, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Gooden, 45, has tried drug rehab at least five times, has a half-dozen previous arrests, and served seven months in jail in Florida in 2006. Now comes this incident, in which he put his own son at risk. New Jersey police are not saying which drug they suspect Gooden of using, but he has a history of cocaine abuse.

How will this play out, I wonder, as the years unfold, in Gooden's relationship with his son?

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