‘Bases loaded’ or some other pun about weed

*This post is not an endorsement or a condemnation of marijuana use, but rather a thought exercise*

Marijuana activists in my home state of Arizona are trying to get an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana on the November ballot and, hold on, I promise I’m going to make this post about baseball.

A clinical psychologist at the University of Arizona has recently been granted federal permission to study the effects of marijuana in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder in military veterans (full story here). This is considered a major breakthrough for marijuana advocates, because the federal classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance has greatly inhibited the ability to conduct an appropriate clinical trial. Clinically validated data would be the only way to get beyond the anecdotal evidence of therapeutic benefits that advocates would have you believe. With these types of culturally loaded issues, data is more important than anything else. I promise this post is about baseball.

Jon Singleton, who is a baseball player and therefore this post is about baseball, has recently admitted that he considers himself a drug addict. Specifically, he said that he really enjoys getting high and that he doesn’t enjoy being sober, even when confronted with the drug suspension provisions written in to the current Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement and Joint Drug Agreement. He also admitted that smoking weed interferes with his performance on the baseball field. As a prized prospect, Singleton is worth millions and millions of dollars to his employers. And this is where I think it gets interesting. 

If there was eventually significant clinical data to suggest that marijuana was an effective anti-anxiety medication, an effective pain reliever or anti-inflammatory agent, than Major League Baseball would have to consider changes to the JDA when the next CBA gets hammered out. It would be a financial decision rather than any kind of moral or cultural statement, which would be hugely convenient for the league and the 30 team owners.

It’s totally fine right now, in the eyes of the league, for a player to get a prescription for Adderall as a ‘therapeutic use’ exemption to the JDA. And there aren’t very stringent safeguards in place to prevent athletes from abusing this exemption to get what is essentially methamphetamine for a person who doesn’t have a valid medical need for it. There’s also not any reason for the league or the players association to address this until the CBA/JDA expires after the 2016 season (Full documents available here if you hate yourself and love reading legal documents). 

So what should the league do about players who smoke pot? I wouldn’t put it past the league to try to look into this under the radar. Culturally, would it be worse for the league to be seen as distinctly Oregonian? Medically, would it be worse for a player to smoke pot rather than take a cortisone injection (provided that clinical data eventually showed a benefit)? MLB isn’t generally fond of making culture news, or changing any thing for any reason. But priority number one is always going to be money. Adderall has no doubt helped plenty of players stay on the field, and thereby helped plenty of owners extract value out of players that would otherwise be sunk cost in a guaranteed contract. Could an ounce of weed be as valuable to a Steinbrenner as a compensation pick is to a small market club?

Planning on Pitching

 In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

-President Dwight D. Eisenhower

 Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

-Professor Michael Tyson

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 March To-Do List:

  • Frequent tweets about Tucson weather directed towards East Coast friends/family
  • Applaud extensions for key young players, renew confidence in Wren
  • Andrelton Simmons love sonnet
  • Teavana: try a new rooibos. Peppermint? Would that work in an Arnold Palmer? Experiment with this
  • Get excited for a full year of Medlen, Minor, Beachy, Teheran and the pitching prospect potpurri. Gavin Floyd available in case of emergency
  • Man can you imagine maybe JR Graham makin’ a few starts in August, then he’s available to shoot hellfire missiles for an inning at a time in October? Man that’d be cool
  • Need some new briquettes and woodchips if going to do this bbq thing properly

March To-Do List revised:

  • Find panic goggles, wear them everywhere
  • Blend all of your meals and consume with a straw
  • Stay indoors
  • Call Ben Sheets re: 2014 regular season availability
  • After call, power down cell phone because radiation
  • Is Freddy Garcia our current #2? How did that happen? How the fuck did that happen?
  • Purchase mason jars, begin pickling desert flora/fauna for long term survival

March To-Do List v3:

  • Okay fine, Ervin Santana for a year isn’t horrible. The money’s fine and that draft pick probably comes back next year. There are still about 500 innings unaccounted for, but there are worse contracts out there
  • Resume normal life, apologize to new wife about unrefined apocalypse instincts
  • Back to basics: black tea for all future Arnold Palmers
  • Find more funny quotes about planning for things
  • Maybe abandon “make lists” as only life organization strategy
  • Forget about the major question marks around Beachy, that might be a sunk cost
  • How long is Minor going to be down? Can we count on 200 IPs? 180?

March To-Do List Final:

  • Freddy Garcia’s advise: Don’t panic, just make pitch
  • Seriously, the games start this month. Just be happy about that
  • Hi temps in the 80′s this week + no rain in the forecast = grilling weather. Send pics to Hartford family. They’ll love that

Welcome to Duck on the Pond

I honestly can’t tell you what the deal is with me and ducks.

One of my first words was an indignant accusation, directed towards a duck. I screamed  “DUCK!” while pointing at what I believed to be a duck. I’m pretty sure it was a duck. Much of my subsequently formed identity relies on this having been a duck and me having yelled at it. It was definitely a duck.

In high school we had to pick a Spanish word to use as a name in class, and I went with “El Pato.” My classmates liked that I could get away with sarcastically adding an -o to the end of my first name and have it be an actual Spanish word. I happily pretended to be so xenophobic, secretly thrilled that a group of strangers thought me to be clever or racially edgy. I just like ducks.

One of my two idiot dogs is named Ducky. The other is named Goose. I am not sorry for this.

I have written blog posts and in baseball comment sections sporadically under the pseudonym of Ducky Medwick. My friend and I liked the idea of pretending to be grouchy old timey baseball folk because we are, in reality, grouchy present timey baseball folk. He was High Pockets, I was Ducky. We were Deadballers.

My career highlights as Ducky Medwick included not ever being asked to apologize for stealing the name of this legendary Cardinals outfielder, once getting linked by Craig Calcaterra, and another time yelling at some comment troll for using a feminized pronoun as an insult (both comments subsequently removed).

Anyway, I am going to write non-anonymously here about baseball and the type of weird things I used to think about as a ball player. You see, I was not good at baseball, because baseball is a game that’s easy to overthink and overthinking it is one of my most tangible skills. An absence of innings pitched or at bats afforded me lots of time to think of weird things and teach myself how to juggle.

Anybody ever wonder if, like, just one of these sunflower seeds might be ready to germinate, and we could save ourselves a bunch of money by harvesting our own  seeds?

No. Nobody else ever wondered that.

-Patrick

PS: I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the Medwick family for so brazenly adapting the persona of a  deceased man in order to make a few of my friends laugh with penis jokes, baseball Hall of Fame complaints and performance prediction analytics. I will donate 100% of the money I made off of the glorious name to the charity of your choice. Contact me in the comments below. I made zero dollars.