One of the top ten best opening scenes of all time. Not joking. Try not laughing once in that nine-ish minutes.
Predictably, when I heard the reports about Elijah Dukes being taken into custody as he tried to eat a bag of pot at a traffic stop (via, one place of many), I began laughing uncontrollably as I imagined him licking the window in the police cruiser declaring, “the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.”
This is one of those stories that is entertaining for a variety of reasons. Having lived in both Boston and Washington D.C., I have a measure of respect for the Washington Post, especially its sports reporting. So imagine my delight in reading their story about this when I saw a Super Troopers reference in their piece, and what that means for my credibility as someone pretending people are reading, referencing my favorite movies.
This is not going to be a long post. This is not going to be a fantasy baseball post. Well, sort of. Elijah Dukes is a prime example of a simple rule across baseball, both fantasy and reality – you cannot, cannot, cannot underestimate character. There are some people, despite their talents, that are simply not capable of handling the big stage. I’m not talking about the Daryl Strawberries of the world. Strawberry made it and was successful. His downfall was a combination of his fame, his city, and the era he lived in (i.e. the cocaine 80’s). I’m not making excuses, these are just facts.
For every top round pick that flames out, there is a Mark Buehrle (38th round). For every can’t miss prospect, there is a guy who slips through the cracks and ends up producing. We can hype guys like Bryce Harper all we want, but sometimes it is the guys who are taken when no one is watching who end up helping their teams the most. This is important to remember as you draft for your fantasy leagues.
But in a larger sense, this is a sad story. Dukes had all the talent in the world and has squandered it in such a way that his story borders on the absurd. He is a sad human being, and clearly a borderline crazy one. From threatening women to eating a bag of drugs, his story seems like, and is, a joke.
So yes, I am laughing at each and every one of the stories I read, especially the ones that reference Broken Lizard’s masterpiece. It’s hard not to. Not that I condone drug use… but trying to eat a bag of pot so you don’t get caught should be funny to pretty much everyone. At that point, you might want to just take your lickin’ – for saftey’s sake. But Elijah Dukes highlights a point I’ve been stressing in everyone I’ve talked to about drafts – you cannot, simply cannot, trust the youth. You are welcome to take Eric Hosmer in the 4th round. By all means, do. But Elijah Dukes should, in my book, solidify the notion that talent does not equal success.
His situation(s) provide a caricature of what should be a basic principle. With the unproven, you just never know. Hot rookies could have sup-par second seasons. That’s just a base level. Young players could underperform, but as Dukes shows us, that’s the least exciting of the ways they can fail you.