Sports

STOVER: The dangers of addiction

My name is Andrew, and I am an addict.

Nothing gets in the way of addiction.The majority seems to downplay its hold on you. “You can quit if you really put your heart in to it,” they say.

“If you get your priorities straight, you’d be off the stuff,” they cry. But no rehab can correct this chemical imbalance. No religion can steer you clear.

Cocaine is a very powerful drug. But I’m not talking about cocaine, or heroin, meth or anything else. Rather, this drug is more powerful, more addicting. It takes over lives.

It’s true — fantasy baseball is my drug.

An addict never chooses his drug of choice. I didn’t plan to watch 10 hours of baseball on Saturday. And thanks to Comcast’s free week of MLB Extra Innings, I watched parts of every single game.

I’d wait for my players to step up to the plate or get on the mound, and I’d tune in. Hour after hour. Beer after beer. No showers necessary. No, there’s no time.

Just one weekend into the baseball season, and my addiction has altered my behavior.

I’ve developed pet names for my players — my soldiers.

Outfielder Nelson Cruz has become “Cruz Control.”

Pitcher David Price: “The Price is Right.”

Soon-to-be third baseman Kevin Youkilis: “God of Walks.”

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins: “J-Roll.”

And any time catcher Carlos Santana comes to the plate, I cue “Maria, Maria” by Carlos Santana.

“The sounds of the guitar, played by Carlos Santana.”

I’ve upped the ante this year, and joined a high-stakes keeper-contracts league. But with higher stakes, comes a greater addiction.

When “Cruz Control” hits his third home run in as many days, it is the perfect high.

But when close Carlos Marmol blows a save against the Pirates, my high turns on me. I mutter profanity for hours — some in English, some Spanish.

“Why are you messing with me, Carlos?!” “Who the hell do you think you are, Carlos?!”

“Screw you, Carlos!”

What a trip. What a bad, bad trip. That’s what happens when the drug turns on you. Hot sweats. Cold sweats. Hallucinations. Muttering incoherent sentence fragments. Outbursts. The shakes.

Do you know what it’s like? Have you felt its wrath? Have you seen its beauty? It’s a lose-lose situation. Lose, and I’m miserable. Win, and I feed my addiction.

Maybe disappointment turns to rage, and somebody gets hurt. Maybe I’ll never get married. Maybe I’ll push everyone away who is close to me. Maybe I won’t be able to get enough. And maybe nobody understands.

Ah, the life of an addict. It’s what I am. More importantly, it’s who I am.

My name is Andrew, and I am an addict.

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