Thursday, June 01, 2006

That's not MY pot!

(Late on a Sunday afternoon about ten years ago -- Candlestick Park Baseball Stadium -- Players Entrance)

THE CINCINATTI REDS BASEBALL TEAM has just been swept four straight by the San Francisco Giants, and is now heading to the airport. Most of the Reds are riding in the team bus, but the pitcher and second baseman have called for a cab. I pull up to the players' gate at the back of the stadium, and the pitcher signals me to hang tight. In a moment the second baseman and a long-haired friend wearing wrap-around shades (he's not a ballplayer, but a friend of one or maybe both of the two major leaguers) come out of the locker room, and all three of them climb in. The pitcher sits up front with me:

"Hey, buddy... We need to make a couple of stops before we go to the airport. First: The nearest liquor store.”

At the liquor store he gives me a $50 bill, and asks me to go in and buy a six-pack. "Nothing light!" the long-haired friend calls after me.

When I'm back, the pitcher asks, "Can you find us a place that's kind of secluded?”

I drive them several blocks to the thick green woods of McClaren Park. They get out of the cab, disappear into the trees for a few minutes, and when they re-emerge all three of them are wearing shades. I know the smell of marijuana, and I figure I’m going to catch a pretty good nostrilful, but not a whiff...

At SFO the second baseman pays me for the fare, and the pitcher tells me to keep the change from the $50.

A year or so later I read in the paper that the pitcher has been arrested after cracking up his pickup truck, in which marijuana is discovered. The pitcher swears his innocence: "That's not MY pot!" He has lots of friends who borrow his truck, and it must belong to one of them, he says. Himself? He never touches that stuff!