The ’86 Mets Have Not Grown Up Yet
Former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra was arrested for investigation of grand theft, a day after he was charged with a federal bankruptcy crime, authorities said Friday. He was arrested at his Encino home for suspicion of trying to buy a stolen car. Dykstra, who was known as “Nails” because of his rowdy behavior, was part of the bad boy Mets team that won the 1986 World Series. Much to the Mets’ dismay, Dykstra was also part of the Mitchell Report in 2007, which claimed he used steroids during his tenure as a player. A team that was filled with notorious athletes like Dwight Gooden, obviously still seems to believe they are invincible.
Even more telling of Dykstra’s recent troubles is the fact that this arrest is just the latest legal debacle he faces. Dykstra was arrested a day after he was charged with embezzling from a bankruptcy estate in an unrelated federal charge. Dykstra faces up to five years in federal prison if convicted. Dykstra who has been the focus of many ESPN news pieces is not a stranger to bankruptcy. Dykstra claims himself a market whiz, but nonetheless, filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming that he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets. Dykstra’s business ventures included a car wash and a stock-picking column on a famous website, but none have panned out favorably for the former star.
The prosecutors going after Dykstra allege that he hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of objects from the $18.5 million mansion without being permitted to do so by the trustee. Dykstra literally threw the kitchen sink in this latest debacle; the objects he allegedly disposed of include items such as sports memorabilia and a kitchen sink valued at $50,000. The prosecutors claim that “at one point, he sold ‘a truckload of furnishing and fixtures’ for cash at a consignment store.”
Dykstra’s issues are also a prime example of the glaring problem in sports regarding retired athletes. Most athletes, if they don’t take the sports commentator or announcer route, are lost in a world that doesn’t find value in them. Without college educations and proper backgrounds, a lot of athletes are poor financial planners and might not be able to afford one with no source of steady income. Also Dykstra might be a product of the times during the 1980s where sports like MLB did not have tight enough reins on their players. Today, the regulatory system governing players is much more vast and responsive; however, I would not be surprised if more instances such as Dykstra’s arise in the future. Let’s just hope it’s not players from the Mets; for their sake, that is.