clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Matchup/Game Thread at Cardinals 7:05 CDT

New, 68 comments
Adam Wainwright Woody Williams
1 - 2, 6.14 0 - 4, 5.66

Let's talk about drunk driving.

In the wake of the death last Saturday of Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, a lot has been written about the macabre nature of the similarities between Hancock's death and Darryl Kile's death almost five years previous.

We all like to fit the round pegs in the round holes, and the media likes to do it more than most. But sometimes in our rush to pigeonhole events, we find that the easy categorizations bear little relationship to the truth.

I've never been afraid to talk truth about DK's legacy, either, but the one incontrovertible thing about Kile's death is that it was a tragedy. He died, it seems, as a result of caprice of the Gods, from an undetected congenital condition. One moment his heart was beating, the next moment it could not.

When news of Hancock's fatal accident began circulating, it seemed that the spin doctors were already at work. We were told that Hancock had been in a car accident, and we were told that no alcohol containers had been found. It's as if somebody at the AP had been told to make sure that the dangerous loaded question was addressed--and defused. And from that point on, the media was able start using the "T" word, and the stories could start going out over the wires and over the internet about what a great teammate Hancock was, and about having "lots of thoughts about just having the opportunity to be here on Earth."

And we read these things, respectful of a ballclub, and respectful of a family, even as they all turn out to be lies. Turns out, Josh Hancock's death was NOT a tragedy, and he may not have been all that great a teammate. Josh Hancock, it seems, had been prone to making stupid decisions about alcohol and drugs. He made them repeatedly, it seems, until he got a bad break, and found himself unable to react, found himself unable to save himself.

There is a pathos to this, yes. But it is not tragedy, and I find myself bitter at once again having my sympathies and my natural compassion toyed with.

Do I think that Hancock deserved to die because he was young and foolish? Of course not.

I've been there myself. That's what you do in your twenties: you work hard, and you party harder. You try to establish yourself in a professional environment all the while doing your best to dissipate yourself in a social one.

Some many years ago now, I'd left a bar in the wee hours, and because I was so inebriated I purposely took a highway I knew to be little-used for the long ride home. And sure enough, as I drove home, hypnotized by the tape deck and whatever it might have been spewing out, there was only one other vehicle on the four-lane highway with me.

Then, in a very slow and very trippy way, I watched, unable to comprehend as a very large object flew across my field of vision through the windshield. The object--whatever it had been--was well past me and well behind me by the time I realized what I had seen: the topper to the pickup truck in front of me and to the right had come loose, and it had sailed past me as I looked on dumbfounded.

It could have very well collided with my car for for all the comprehension of the situation that I had. For all the evasive action I was able to take, it could have smacked the living shit out of me and my little Chevy Cavalier, all because I was too drunk to react in a crisis.

Even as drunk as I was, I realized what had just gone down, and I understood that it was luck and luck only that kept me from being killed in a "freak" and "tragic" accident. Except that it wasn't all that freaky and it wouldn't have been all that tragic.

Looking back and thinking on how I might have been killed that night, I recognize the luck, sure, but I also know that had I died that night, "tragedy" would not have been the word to be used.

I got lucky, I wish Josh Hancock had gotten lucky. But don't disrespect me by calling the manner in which Hancock lost his life a tragedy.

It was not that at all.