When heroes fall: Lenny Dykstra and muddled vision.

As an American League follower, I can’t recite any stats about Lenny Dykstra, but baseball fans of his era will certainly remember the player. He was active in the late 80s and early 90s with the NY Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies and was a member of the Series Champion Mets in 1986.

He’s on his way back to the slammer.

After a solid career in Major League Baseball, Len fell off the straight and narrow. He isn’t the first to do so, and won’t be the last, certainly. When I noticed the headline about his legal problems, I thought “Ahh, Lenny…What in the world happened?”

There was that automatic sympathy extended, because he was a pro ballplayer.

Then, I read the article.

It turns out. he is going back into custody, because he was only out long enough to get formally sentenced for his “no-contest” plea to the charges against him. He’s been in jail for a year already, which will reduce the three-year sentence he is going to have to serve.

Like other convicted criminals, he isn’t happy with the idea. Right away, he wanted to change his plea and fight the charges, in an attempt to keep himself out of jail. Sending him to jail is “disgusting,” says his attorney, who says the judge is trying to make an example of a celebrity.

Maybe the judge is making an example of a celebrity criminal. Like others convicted of crimes, Lenny believes he has been wronged – if the judge would just let him change his plea, he would be completely exonerated of all charges.

Here is the list of problems Mr Dykstra got himself into, part of which includes charges to which he pleaded No Contest after prosecutors dropped more than twenty items:

Grand theft auto. Providing false financial statements. (These were in tandem as part of a scheme orchestrated to have several high-end cars leased to him, even though he is broke.)

Bankrupcy fraud: charges that came about (and to which he will stand stand trial for) after he declared personal bankruptcy over $31-million in debts against $50-thousand in assets. $31,000,000 against $50,000. Them’s some debts. Furthermore, prosecutors claim that Lenny – after his bankruptcy filing – hid, sold, and destroyed almost half-a-million dollars worth of the stuff from his $18.5-million dollar mansion. He wasn’t supposed to do that. Maybe the people he owed money to might have been able to use those things against his debts.

When the police arrested the celebrity former ballplayer, they found in his home the drugs Ectacy, cocaine, and synthetic human growth hormone. Those were among the charges that prosecutors dropped in exchanged for the “No Contest” plea on the grand theft and financial charges.

He has also pleaded Not Guilty to charges filed after he was arrested in connection with complaints that he had exposed himself to women he met through Craigslist ads. He’ll still face trial on those counts.

Lenny points out that he chose to enter a drug treatment program on his own, which – it goes without saying – is a fair indication that Mr Dykstra has had troubles with substance abuse, too.

Still, he says, the charges are trumped up and he doesn’t deserve jail as punishment.

Oh, contraire, says the car dealer who was taken in by the scam, who says it is about time the former MLB star has had to be held accountable for his criminal activities.

After reading the article in its entirety, I’m inclined to agree with the car dealer. It sounds a lot like Lenny Dykstra has believed himself to be in that elite group of people who are above the law that regulates the rest of the common folks, like us. Even in his squirming, he doesn’t quite get it, believing most of the accusations were groundless.

“I do have remorse for some of the things I’ve done,” he said. “But because I wasn’t a perfect person am I a criminal? Everyone wants to make me out to be a monster.”

No, Len.

You aren’t classified as a criminal for failure to be a perfect person. You are a criminal because you broke the law. Several laws, in fact. If that wasn’t enough, you agreed not to contest those charges in exchange for a plea that would get your former-ballplaying-self out of jail sooner.

No one is making you out to be a monster.

Just a common con-man and suspected pervert.

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