Remember the '80s?

Sports Blotter: All-Star Break edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  July 11, 2006

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TOO CRAZY FOR OJ: Pedro Guerrero
Times have been tough for professional baseball this year. It’s bad enough we had the nervous commemoration of the Most Awkward Moment in Sports History, also known as Barry Bonds’s 715th homer. But now we have an entirely new scandal, this one based on a sniveling middle reliever named Jason Grimsley, who’s both guilty of taking human-growth hormones and of not being able to get outs in the sixth inning. Imagine being Bud Selig and having to take that call. It’s painful even to watch Jason Grimsley — think about how horrible holding a press conference about him must be.

That said, as we head into All-Star week, it is easy to forget that baseball has endured plenty of worse times. Thank God America has no cultural memory, otherwise we’d still be smarting over the state of baseball in the early ’80s. While the NBA was taking off with its snazzy commercials and it’s ebony-and-ivory Bird-Magic storyline, baseball made like Al Pacino in the last scenes of Scarface, burying its face in huge mounds of coke while fate and consequence rushed the gates outside. Remember Dave Parker? Kent Tekulve? The Pittsburgh Pirates were so crooked in the ’80s that their mascot — the Pirate Parrot — ended up in jail for dealing coke.

I bring this up because in celebration of All-Star week, the Phoenix has decided to chronicle the most arrested baseball all-stars of our generation. You’ll notice right away that the early ’80s era is overrepresented. But our little tribute is also timely. Last week, reliever Steve Howe, a 1982 all-star and one of the game’s most tragic figures of the period, was killed after he took some meth and crashed his car. He’s a current reminder of his generation’s sad fate. So, without further ado, here’s a rundown of the men who would have made this column a goldmine.

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Pedro Guerrero(five-time all-star): Guerrero has the dubious distinction of being crazier than O.J. Simpson. O.J. called the cops on him in 1999, after he reportedly swiped O.J.’s post-trial girlfriend, Christine Prody, and went on a two-day coke binge with her. “I’m trying to get a girl to go to rehab,” O.J. told the 911 operator. “She’s been doing drugs for two days with Pedro Guerrero … ” Guerrero had already been arrested on cocaine-trafficking charges, but would later be acquitted when his attorney successfully argued that Pedro’s IQ was too low for him to be held responsible.

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Dwight Gooden (four-time all-star): His crimes are too numerous to list in full, but they include domestic abuse, open-container arrests, probation violations, and driving with a suspended license. Plus, he pioneered the beginning-of-spring-training drug/booze/wife-slapping arrest. He’s currently in custody.

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