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Story pick: A close-up of Lenny "Nails" Dykstra

By Theresa Vargas


Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post.

I don’t like baseball. Never really have.

But I’ve always been a little envious of people who do. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to care so much about a team that when it won, my world would feel right and when it lost, well, my family would know to leave me alone. I always wished I felt an allegiance so strong to a player or team that I would want to wear my loyalty on my head until the edges of my cap frayed.

But I don’t. And probably never will. Still, I can appreciate good writing about the sport and its players, which is why I found myself clicking on this story in the L.A. Times this week.

It is a profile of Lenny Dykstra, a baseball star turned financial adviser turned financial flop. Through thoughtful details, we see less of the Dykstra who was nicknamed “Nails” in his major league days than of an aging man trying to cling to a lifestyle that included a luxury car, private jet and $17.4-million mansion he bought from hockey star Wayne Gretzky.

The reporter, former Washington Post reporter Alejandro Lazo, writes:

At age 47, the Nails who posed bare-chested for an '80s-era New York Mets glamour poster has turned beefy and grizzled. He has a thatch of graying hair and is missing several teeth. His marriage has crumbled. His baseball pals have made themselves scarce. The bejeweled 1986 World Series ring was pawned, then sold.

The piece is a nice follow-up to this New Yorker story on Dykstra, written at a time when he could afford to be a “luxury-hotel junkie” and was about to launch a magazine for pro athletes called The Players Club. The venture folded, Lazo tell us “as lawsuits from creditors and unpaid business associates began piling up.”

By Theresa Vargas  | October 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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Plenty has been written about Lenny Dykstra long after the New Yorker piece, and it's not pretty. Mr. Lazo's front page article is just the tip of the iceberg: a recent Dykstra employee has filed for a restraining order against the former diamond great, alleging "daily use and abuse of: drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes:

Posted by: photostation | October 9, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

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