(former Mets hurler Grant Roberts, presumably before the introduction of a Shea Stadium Green Room)
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan recently penned a piece in which Major League Baseball clubs were accused for promoting minor leaguers to their 40 man rosters to avoid minor league testing for marijuana. If you think that means affiliated teams have a cavalier attitude towards weed, former Padres reliever/Jays broadcaster and author Dirk Hayhurst claims in a Sports On Earth column that said organizations “totally condone” consumption (“one big-league team even had a “green room” where you could toke up while you were at the ballpark,”)
As far back as I can remember, players were getting high. Guys in the minors, on or off the 40-man, would take apples from the locker-room spread, hollow them out and then sneak behind dumpsters and smoke an apple pipe. In Triple-A, the now-defunct Portland Beavers would hide in stadium supply tunnels doing the old puff-puff-pass before jumping a knuckleball fight over the Rocky Mountains. I’ve even seen coaches toking up with their players.
No one says a word about any of it. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. It all falls under the code: What happens within the team stays within the team. If that weren’t the case, a guy could snap pics of another player getting high and turn it in to the organization, in the hopes of expediting his own career over someone else’s. Never happens.
It’s a long season, and smoking isn’t remotely the worst thing ballplayers are capable of doing in their idle time. I’d much rather see a guy baked at the hotel — giggling hysterically over a rerun of Jackass — than passed out in a random neighborhood kiddie pool after a night of heavy drinking courtesy of breaking into the stadium beer concessions. (The owner of the kiddie pool was furious!)
There was only one thing in Passan’s article that I took exception to. An unnamed source claimed that getting off weed had made him play better, “as if a fog was lifted.” I don’t know about that. Based on the guys I know who smoked regularly, your mileage under the influence will vary. Some of them were so freaking good baked, I can’t imagine how awesome they would’ve been clean.