The Rush: Darryl Strawberry on bat flips, brawling and coping with addiction during COVID

Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry joins Jared to discuss whether new owner Steve Cohen can turn the New York Mets into the Yankees of Queens, why bat flipping doesn’t belong in the game, how being booed by Yankees fans is a sign of respect and the release of his second book, Turn Your Season Around, on January 15, 2021. PLUS: Darryl discusses his work with Monument, a first-of-its-kind online treatment platform for those looking to change their relationship with alcohol.

Video Transcript

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: New York fans are very knowledgeable of the sport, and I can tell you right now they-- what I liked about the fact they booing you, they letting you know that you suck, and you need to play better. And that's just the way it is.

JARED QUAY: On the show with me is former MLB All-Star, Darryl Strawberry. Darryl, how you doing, brother?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: I'm doing good, man. Great to be with you.

JARED QUAY: Just last week we have one of your former teammates on our show, Bernie Williams. And one of the things he said-- and he actually thought was a good quality of you-- he said if anybody got into an altercation, you were the first one out to the dugout to make sure that you handled that. And I know now you're in the ministry and you're a pastor, so I'm wondering, what does Pastor Strawberry have to say to the Darryl Strawberry that was first out the dugout for a round of fisticuffs?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, I kind of like the guy. That's what he was when he had a baseball uniform on. And it was nothing wrong with that. You know, you got to protect your own home turf, you know.

JARED QUAY: Besides being a great baseball player, you had some documented struggles with alcohol. And you came a long way, and now you're working with Monument, the first ever online addiction treatment platform. Can you tell me a little bit more about the work you're doing with them?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, yes, I did an event put them, Monument, it was just great to be able to be online. With so many people struggling right now in this time that we're in with the pandemic and everything and lockdown, and no treatment centers are open. And, you know, for them to have the kind of facility that they have in this difficult time I think is very important, because you lose so many people that might be just on their way to getting into recovery.

I've been in recovery for a very long time, 17 years now. It's about having places to be able to go and be able to share to your pain and your struggles and what you're going through. So people need people, and anybody that has a substance abuse problem needs to be around, you know, positive affirmation and everything like that. I do know one thing, it can be fixed inside if you give somebody a chance to work through their process.

JARED QUAY: One of your former teams, the Mets has been in the media a lot. First of all, Steve Cohen recently bought the team. He's worth $14.5 billion, meaning the Mets have the richest owner in baseball. Do you think this makes them ready to be the Yankees of Queens?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: When you look at the Yankees, the Yankees have players. They can do more than just one thing. And the Mets don't really have that. You know, they need players that can be able to go first to third and be able to steal bases, because that's part of baseball and they've gotten away from that. And they've gotten-- everybody's more consumed with the home runs. You know, your home run hitters are going to be the home run hitters. But it's about the little things that teams have to do to win.

JARED QUAY: They've been letting the ball players have a lot more fun, and home runs are more entertaining to your average fan. But now they're letting people flip bats and use social media. And as you being a player from the day where they didn't allow that, do you feel like you were constrained on the field because of the unwritten rules?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: No. I thought it was much better. The rules of baseball should be what it was back in our days, in the early '70s, '80s, you know, and probably those '90s years. I think it's a little bit overrated when guys, you know, flip bats. You know, if you're not a consistent home run hitter you probably will flip a bat. But a home run hitter usually know that he's going to hit plenty more. That's not going to be the last one I hitl

If you played in our days, you know if you flipped bats you going to get drilled. There's no question about it. Somebody's going to throw one at your head. Someone's going to drill you in the back. Someone's just going to hit it to you.

- Darryl Strawberry's out there mad.

JARED QUAY: You became an author. You have two books out now. Your most recent one is "Turn Your Season Around." Just to see the growth that you got from being, like, you know, somebody who has so much problems, did you ever think that you would be a two-time author of books that are genuinely trying to help people?

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: No, you know, because you never know how your journey's going to go. Coming out of South Central and, you know, today you talk about South Central side and Crenshaw and California. But I actually came from Crenshaw High. I actually came out of South Central and was a part of all that growing up and seeing all that, the gangs and the streets. But, you know, I made a choice to stay away from all that and play baseball, and to be the number one pick, you know, and to kind of live up to the expectations because sometimes a number one pick--

JARED QUAY: There you go.

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: --does not live up to the expectations. And, you know, playing in New York, the expectations are high, and they were very high for me.

[LAUGHING]

So I'm grateful for New York. I'm grateful for Met fans and Yankee fans and the entire New York City.

JARED QUAY: So I'm just grateful that you were part of this episode of the "Rush," man. Thank you again for coming and spending your time with me.

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Well, thank you. I appreciate you letting me "Rush" with you, brother.

[LAUGHING]