Should We Have Pity For Strawberry?

The legendary Darryl Strawberry — he is one of those “”what might have been”” kind of guys. His numbers during his early days with the Mets were outstanding. He was on pace to destroy many career home run marks, including the total career home run mark.

On pace, that is.

At a young age, he was part of a World Series championship team, the 1986 Mets. He later went on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, signing for what was, at the time, an insane amount of money. Strawberry was a future Hall-of-Famer and a perennial All Star.

What happened?

It is hard to say exactly what happened, but it culminated last week. Strawberry, suffering from a double whammy of colon cancer and cocaine addiction, revealed that he would prefer to be dead.

It is a sad thing to read when a baseball hero, a one-time unmistakable figure (for all the right reasons) falls to the point of suicide.

The question is whether we should feel sorry for him.

It is almost natural to feel sorry for him. It is natural to feel for someone who has fallen to the lowest depths of life. Killing oneself is not a laughing matter. It is something to take seriously, no matter who it is.

Then, upon further consideration of Strawberry’s life, why should we feel sorry for him? I look at it this way: He has had everything handed to him, has been given numerous second chances which he has squandered, and has just given up.

After being the king of the baseball world, Strawberry fell just as fast as he rose. Tax problems were only one part of it. There was also the cocaine addiction.

Cocaine kills a person physically, emotionally and mentally.

Despite all of this, the Straw man was given repeated second chances. It’s disgusting. If anyone else were found with coke as much as Strawberry has, that person would have been placed in jail for years, perhaps never to be seen again.

Not so if it’s a star baseball player.

So some team gives Strawberry a chance, he gets caught with coke, gets a slap on the wrist along with some “”rehab,”” and waits for some other team to pick him up. It has been going back and forth this way for awhile. He has been given every opportunity to bounce back, to get his life together, yet he keeps using drugs.

Colon cancer, too, is no joke. Strawberry is suffering from this disease like many others in the world. Straw, unlike the masses who also have this cancer, has had every opportunity to fight it. He has access to the best doctors with the best treatment. He has made progress against the disease, but now he seems to have given up.

Strawberry is a tragic character, of which Shakespeare himself would be in awe. While it is easy to feel sorry for his addictions and for his disease, it is also reasonable to be angry at the repeated second chances and the opportunities he has squandered.