I wasn’t a big baseball fan growing up. I knew who Reggie Jackson was (I LOVED his candy bar) and I knew the names of most of the Yankees he played with.
Then for some reason, I started to hear less about the Yankees in the mid 80’s and more “How ’bout those Mets??” THE METS??? I didn’t understand. How could a NY team have a name that sounded like a NJ basketball team (THE NETS), but have the same colors (orange&blue) as the NY basketball team? (THE KNICKS) So confusing!
For me though, the popularity of the METS grew because of two players: Darryl Strawberry&Dwight “Doc” Gooden. And I remember one day in particular sitting home&watching “DOC” pitch. The camera ZOOMED in close on his eyes: I guess to create “drama,” but at 14 I looked in his eyes and thought….”he seems like a nice guy.”
I have NO IDEA why I thought that. Maybe GOD planted that (mental) seed for our future encounter, but as a teenager it was confusing as hell thinking someone could be nice AND be on drugs. Real talk: “DOC” Gooden was the 1st celebrity that I remember thinking, “He’s FAMOUS. WHY does he do drugs?”
CUT TO 2013
“DOC” was coming to the show to promote his new book, DOC: A Memoir. I was able to get an advance copy so I PROMISED myself that I’d read the book in it’s entirety because I wanted to know 2 things: HOW&WHY he got on drugs.
285 pages later the answer came: While BORED during the off season in Tampa, he went to his cousin’s house to buy some weed: Although he’d NEVER smoked before. His cousin (a pimp&cocaine dealer) was out of weed, but told Doc to “Sit tight while he went to go get some.” AND “To stay away from the 2 prostitutes that were in the other room.”
Distracted by the giggling in the “other room” not only did he not “stay away”…Doc tried the cocaine they offered him and described it as “love at first sniff.”
An hour later the cousin came back; Realized what happened, Cursed him&they girls out and told him to “Get his act together!” Before Doc left though, he asked for MORE cocaine. The cousin said, “NO!” Threw him out, but unfortunately those 60 minutes had already changed the course of his life for the next 25 YEARS.
“DOC” walked in the studio, greeted EVERYONE: Then commented on how “friendly” the room was. (He almost seemed taken back by it.) Unfortunately though, we had to jump right in to the interview AND start with the heavy stuff first.
I was ready for the whole “Say no to drugs thing,” but instead he shot from the hip and answered EVERY QUESTION…The honesty was refreshing.
“Cocaine completely DESTROYED the inside of my nose.” “No. I never did crack.” “Never did steriods.” And….”I just recently heard of Molly, but I’m not really sure what it is.” I wanted to say, “DOC, you don’t need to know either!” LOL!
Off air, I noticed how comfortable he’d become as he opened up about his kids, grandkids, and ex wives. It was all very interesting to hear, but I wanted to KNOW the one thing it seemed he never came clean about…HOW come he seemed so uncomfortable with fame?”
To me, it was his discomfort that “distracted” him. Baseball was his dream, not fame. And while some may think fame goes hand&hand with being talented or rich…I stand to correct you. FAME (on ANY LEVEL) can be EXTREMELY hard to deal with.
Honestly, I think “DOC” is still getting used to being famous. And maybe the only way he can ever REALLY get comfortable with it is by continuing to come clean: Actually saying, “Doing interviews is intimidating.” “The media is manipulative.” OR by just saying “No….I don’t wanna do that.”
This may sound like wishful thinking, but if Dwight “DOC” Gooden would’ve been able to tell just ONE PERSON (that wasn’t on the payroll) (or wasn’t gonna feel disappointed) how uncomfortable it was for him living up to the “DOC” imagine…Things may have been different.
I’ve been BLESSED to be able to make a living at what I LOVE. Travel around THE WORLD and be recognized by my peers, but honestly there is nothing more precious than having someone around that you can keep it 100 with.
My nieces often ask me, “Aunt Heather…Do you like being famous?” I should’ve been telling them…”I don’t know” because up until exchanging with DOC, I’m JUST realizing what fame is.
The next time my nieces ask me about “fame,” I’m gonna use the opportunity to come clean and share my new found wisdom: “FAME is a DRUG.” “And like any drug, you can either destroy or cure with it. “I wanna be on the curing side.”
And for the record, Your eyes don’t lie….”DOC” was one of thee NICEST people I’ve ever met. Here’s a clip of some of the interview: Just CLICK to see.