Friday, May 04, 2007

Wasted Sympathy

Last weekend, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died in a car accident at age 29. There is something about an athlete dying in his youth which is particularly sad, there is a sense of a race unfinished, of a future denied, with a truncated historical record left behind to remind us of the vagaries of life. His Cardinals teammates were understandably shaken – if the young feel invulnerable, surely young athletes, at the top of their profession, with riches and success beyond most of our dreams, feel particularly so. The Cards are the defending World Champions, and they can look forward not just to competing together in the near future, but to come back and relive their mutual glory 20 or 30 years down the road. Suddenly, one of them was gone, and it was hard for them to take.
Today the police report on the accident which took his life came out, here are the “highlights”:

1. His blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit
2. There was 8.5 grams of marijuana and a pipe used to smoke it in the car – the toxicology report isn’t out yet, but I know which way I’m betting on this one
3. He was going 68 MPH in a 55 MPH zone – there was no evidence he tried to stop, just swerved a bit.
4. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
5. He was on the phone at the time of the accident with a female acquaintance – let me quote the AP article on this one:
“Hancock was speaking with a female acquaintance about baseball and baseball tickets and that the conversation ended abruptly, apparently when the accident occurred. A police report said Hancock told the female acquaintance he was on his way to another bar, and that he planned to meet her there.”

That’s right, 12:30 AM, already loaded, and he was heading for another bar.
Considering that three days earlier he had been in an accident with a tractor-trailer at 5:30 in the morning, he was probably a long way from ending his evening’s fun.
So all in all, we can stop feeling sad for this asshole, and be glad that he only killed himself and not anyone else.


Blogger Patrick D. said...

Right there with you. Please check out my Hancock post. I plan to quote you. You have a great line at the end that really sums it up.

11:47 AM  
Blogger sam.gurka5 said...

Surpised you made no connection to Corzine although he wasn't driving not, seemingly, drugged.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...


Corzine's story wasn't as big nationally as Hancock's. I would have had a little more sympathy for Hancock if he was just drunk. It was the repeat nature of the accident and all the other stuff that made it so repulsive.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...


Thanks for the kind words and the quote.
Some of the respondents on your site seemed to think you were a little too happy that he was dead. I don't revel in his death so much as I am glad that no one else was harmed by his behavior. Far too many people have been on the wrong end of an accident involving a drunk driver and I'm glad this one involved only the drunk, not an innocent victim.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Patrick D. said...

You're summarizing that correctly. I think they think that somewhat as well. And I'm not 'glad'. I would hope he could have got some treatment. But if he was going to do this stuff...repeatedly...then I'm relived he's off the streets now.

9:48 PM  

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