Former Mets legends Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry are much in the news lately following the release of the Doc & Darryl edition of ESPN's 30 for 30 sports documentary franchise. As I wrote at the time of the show's debut, one came away worried about Gooden. His history of substance abuse is well-chronicled, and throughout the film he looked gaunt and tired and seemed almost palpably uneasy.
Consider what follows to be troubling news on that front.
On Thursday, Gooden and Strawberry were to appear for a live interview on WFAN with a studio audience. Strawberry showed up at the appointed time. Gooden, though, was going to be late, organizers were told, and then a representative said Gooden wasn't going to be able to attend at all. As you'll see from the following footage via CBS New York, Strawberry saw this as a troubling development:
Man, that pause before Strawberry answers the question says it all. Here's a transcription of Strawberry's response:
"I'm worried. A lot. It's a real struggle. It's very difficult to talk about because I know the drill, I know the deal. It's very sad. It's hard. 'Cause even though we weren't as close, like everybody wanted to make us out to be, he's a friend. And it's a very challenging, very difficult time of his life. It's tough.
"It's really, really, really tough to sit here and just know that he was supposed to be here, too, and he's not here. It's really tough. And I think a lot of times people just keep thinking it's all right, and it's not all right. My fear is that -- and I know addiction -- and my fear is people that don't change, they die. They die this way. I just hope the light comes on soon before it's too late."
Gooden and Strawberry have of course coped with drug addiction over the years, and Gooden even spent time in prison as a result. Whereas Strawberry seems to have gotten the better of his demons, though, Gooden still struggles. As you can plainly tell by watching the clip above, Strawberry is gravely worried about his old friend.
Here's hoping that Gooden, after all these years, is able to change. Strawberry lays out the alternative path above, and it's a harrowing one.