June 27, 2012

Dude Puts on Twenty

Lenny Dykstra, 1989 Score

It seems silly now, considering his much publicized fall from grace, but in his heyday Lenny Dykstra was literally the most popular person in the universe. Imagine if David Eckstein chewed tobacco and was good at baseball, and you have only a fraction of an idea of how beloved Lenny Dykstra was. I mean, his name was Lenny for crying out loud. It doesn't get more blue collar than that.

He won over two rival cities with his charm and elegance. He had many nicknames, including "Nails" for his tough-as-nails persona (note: nails are very tough, except when I try to hammer them and bend them because I am tougher than nails and also terrible at hammering); "Dude," apparently; and, along with former teammate Wally Backman, "Wild Boys," for, according to Wikipedia, their scrappy play and propensity to serve as the spark plugs for a star-studded lineup. Wild boys = spark plugs for a star-studded lineup, and has nothing to do with off-the-field activities, in which neither Dykstra nor Backman ever participated. There is indeed something very wild and animalistic about getting on base so Darryl Strawberry can drive you in with a home run. That type of untamed spirit is typically locked in a zoo.

Dykstra was Nails, a dude, wild, a spark plug, a scrapper, a hustler, white, a bunter (above), a hunter (of runs ... and also bears, maybe), a ferocious competitor, a throwback, gutsy, and owner of big heart that pumped the blood necessary for winning baseball games by any means. Another thing Dykstra was good at, according to this baseball card, was increasing in mass size over the span of only a few months:

Lenny, the Mets' fiesty leadoff batter,

Hey, I forgot to mention that Dykstra was also fiesty. It's kind of a given, yes, but still -- I apologize.

bulked up during the offseason by lifting weights and went into 1988 with some 20 extra pounds of muscle.

All on the up and up. Obviously this card is more incriminating than praiseworthy, but this is just one of many "guy dedicated himself to lifting and gained X-amount of weight during the offseason" anecdotes we have all read about forever. Now, even though I blog about my old baseball cards, I am not a doctor, so I do wonder: what is a conceivable amount of weight for a grown man to gain naturally as a result of intense weight-lifting? I would say -- again, not a doctor -- zero pounds, unless that person is also eating the weights. If the person is supplementing these intense workouts with a consistent diet of extra large bananas (heavy in weight-mass protons), then I would say ... five pounds? Twenty pounds is a lot of pounds. In Lenny's defense, it's difficult to pose shirtless for a Beefcake poster when you're not adequately beefed up. From Wiki:

he even removed his shirt to pose for a "beefcake" poster under the "Nails" nickname.

What is a beefcake poster? Is that a thing? I will Google that later and get back to you. (I think they mean it literally -- he was shirtless under the headline "Nails" -- but I like how it reads that he posed "under the 'Nails' nickname," as if it was an alias to protect his true identity. I am going to pose for a Beefcake poster under the nickname "Mike" and see if anyone notices.) Anyway, upon seeing the new Super Lenny, fellow Wild Boy Wally Backman commented, "I'll have what HE'S having!" and then expounded upon the joke by stating it was from the new movie, When Wally Met Lenny. When no one laughed at that reference, he punched everybody in the face like a wild beast.

Steroids were just one of Dykstra's vices. In recent months and years, everybody has piled on ol' Lenny, and rightly so because, man -- he does NOT come across well in every single thing that has been written or said about him of late, and also he is in jail. But if Lenny Dykstra the person is very flawed, let us then focus on Lenny Dykstra the player, who, although he kind of sort of cheated, was really good at playing baseball. It may have been the only thing he didn't fake.

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