Former Cy Young winner and perpetual train wreck Dwight Gooden has signed with the Cubs through the end of the season to give their much maligned starting rotation some depth. Though generally considered useless to society following a March 2010 traffic accident while he was high on cocaine and driving with his 5-year old son in the back seat without a seat belt, Gooden instantly becomes starting pitcher Numero Uno for the North Siders. He will take the mound for them in the opener of the Yankees’ series on Friday.
Gooden is the star of season five’s “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” but Cubs skipper Mike Quade says he doesn’t want any prima donnas on his team.
“I’m familiar with pranksters, having seen a lot of the nonsense Ryan Dempster pulls,” Quade said, and adds that he once saw his Taurus on fire in the Wrigley parking lot and Dempster standing near the blaze, laughing fool heartedly. “Gooden won’t be treated like a celebrity and he won’t be allowed to take the resin bag home with him. Who does he think he is? Steve Miller the Stanley Cup hockey referee? Resin bags aren’t meant to be snorted–or sold on eBay.”
Jim Hendry is taking a chance signing Gooden, who might appear to have too many distractions going on at once.
The right-hander who pitched 16 seasons and won 194 games, including a no-hitter for the Yankees and a World Series with the Mets, must serve probation and undergo outpatient drug treatment stemming from the traffic accident.
“Dwight has his troubles, but he also has far more ability than my assortment of Number Three starters,” Hendry said. “He’ll also bring fans back to Wrigley, something I doubt Chris Carpenter could do.”
“We’re the Chicago Cubs, not some rehab facility,” Cubs Marketing Director Wally Hayward said regarding the maelstrom surrounding Gooden. “Well, maybe we are some rehab facility, come to think of it. But if Lenny Dykstra shows up to try to break our ace out of here, he’s going to have to buy a ticket to get in. Our paid attendance is down this year.”
By Rob C. Christiansen