Thursday, April 23, 2009

Say it ain't so, Lenny

In today's struggling economy, the line between athletes being stupid and unlucky seems like it can be increasingly blurred.

Make some bad investments and trust some of the wrong people, and it's just bad luck.

Blow all your savings frivolously a la Mike Tyson, and it's plain stupid.

I'm going to give former Major Leaguer Lenny Dykstra a break on this one and say he falls somewhere in between. put investigative reporter Mike Fish on the case after several articles were published detailing Dykstra's erratic behavior and money problems.

Just a few years ago, Dykstra was being praised for his handling of life after baseball, which was rich with car washes, a recently-launched athlete-specific magazine and lots of big dreams. MSNBC's Jim Cramer has and does support the former Phillie as a genius investor.

The picture painted by Fish is equal parts sad and disappointing. Dykstra's personal and financial life are spiraling into ruin, according to Fish, done in by the struggling economy and overambitious real estate maneuvers.

There doesn't seem to be a happy ending in sight for Dykstra, who doesn't seem to realize he has a problem despite mounting legal trouble and a thirst for chartered jets.

He stands to lose millions on his investment of Wayne Gretsky's former home, and that's at the bottom of his list of worries behind alienating his family and facing legal trouble.

As a Phillies fan, it's tough to watch 'Nails' struggle like this. With the steroid allegations and now this, it is hard to believe he has any positive legacy left, completely overshadowing his tremendous work in the 1993 playoffs.

But in this struggling economy especially, there's a lesson to be learned from Dykstra for former players that they won't find in the glossy pages of his magazine:

You need to be smart with your money and surround yourself with people who aren't afraid to disagree with you.

The Dude found out the hard way, and at this point, his problems are far from over.

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