Have you ever gone into something so nervous that the only thing that could calm you down was a healthy swig of Bacardi or Grey Goose?
Well, I’m pretty proud to say this has never occurred in my lifetime, BUT Cardinals Pitcher Rick Ankiel just openly confessed it happened in his. He stated that the pressure of the 2000 postseason got to him and and because he blew his start in the NLDS, he needed a healthy chugging of vodka before his first start in 2001.
“Before that game… I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this.”
Wild man… I couldn’t imagine the pressure of getting on the mound sober for a start in the MLB. I’d probably shit myself. Kudos to those who get after it… But imagine getting up there blasted? I guess it knocks off the fear a tad, but what the hell do you do when that vodka kicks it into high gear?
Listen, I’m a beer drinker. Can’t really handle my liquor too well and I’m glad I know that. But it must’ve been wild up there Rick. My world would be spinning and a different animal would come out. How you “tamed your monster” impresses the hell out of me. Almost makes me wonder, was C.C. Sabathia just “Boozin’ B Anthony” up there when he was throwing meatballs to people from 2012-2015?
How the hell does the MLB figure out a way to get this apparent “performance enhancing drug” eliminated from play? Does the Commish need to throw a scout in the clubhouses to search for players popping bottles in the locker room? Crazy to think about. Wonder how many pitchers need some alchy to calm them down!?
Anyway, congrats Rick on successfully opening some eyes on the matter. Hope to play some beer league softball with you and discuss some day. Probably wouldn’t be able to hit anything if you were knee deep in Bud Light cans, but it would be a fun challenge.