On the field, Ken Caminiti’s all-out style served him well. Off the field is where it got him in trouble.
The 1996 National League MVP, who later admitted using steroids during his major league career, died Sunday. He was 41.
Already the guy is presumed dead from steroids. It’s true, Ken Caminiti used steroids, but given the details we know about his life I suspect on the list of potential causes steroids is near the bottom. Now, I could be wrong (it has been known to happen), and none of the news stories are directly linking steroids to death. But, why is this the first thing I am reading about him in every story? His problems with cocaine (of the crack variety) and alcohol are as widely known as his use of steroids. Certainly, these are much more likely culprits. Caminiti, like many famous people, could not handle the weight of fame. It is a sad and too commonly occurring problem. If there is a lesson to be learned from Caminiti’s passing, it is not just that steroids are a bad idea (if this really is a lesson), but that fame often brings depression. And the cures for this depression offered by alcohol and cocaine are worse than the disease. To divert attention from the far more dangerous drugs in Caminiti’s life, plus his depression, is a bad thing. I hope that we remember this during the inevitable moment of silence before the Astros-Braves game tonight. RIP, Ken. Hopefully, your demons are no longer taunting you.