Onward: Josh Hancock (1978-2007)

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UPDATE: Last week, the New York Yankees banned alcohol from both the home and visiting clubhouses. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays says they are “reviewing” their policy. 

I was going to write that Josh Hancock was yet another reason why young people should avoid casting athletes as role models at all costs. The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher may have been a great teammate, a great friend and maybe even a few other greats. But he also epitomized the kind of reckless loser we’ve come to know through the likes of Pacman Jones and others.

Harsh? Perhaps. But it’s be best word I think of in light of the police findings regarding Hancock’s fatal crash earlier this week. On Friday, local officials said Hancock was drunk (his blood alcohol was twice the legal limit), talking on a cell phone and speeding when he slammed into the back of a flat bed truck.

Talk about a trifecta. Officials said Hancock – who refused a cab at the bar he’d just left – was dead within seconds.

My prayers are with this family and others who loved or cared for him.

I was going to write that he’s not a role model. But that is not true. Like others who’ve gone before him while impaired behind the wheel of a car we can learn a lot from Josh Hancock. Trouble is, we should all know by now that drinking then driving is a volatile (and too often deadly) mix. Unfortunately we don’t. Especially young people, those who truly believe they’ll live forever.

John Hancock, at 29, was one of them. He was a hard-playin’ playa who lived dancing on the edge. (I forgot to mention the cops also found weed in the car, along with a pipe.) He fell hard.

Maybe it won’t help at all. Young people tend to wear It won’t happen to me like their favorite T-shirt. But it’s already had a major effect that should save some life in the future. In a city built on beer, Hancock’s death forced everyone is St, Louis to reconsider the way in which it bows to the local business benfactor: Anheiser-Busch.

The founding family once owned the team and the company’s products flow like water from just about every place of business in the city. It also flowed in the home and visiting locker rooms at the Cardinals’s home stadium – just as it does in all but three stadiums in major-league baseball.

Until now. Remarkably, the Cardinals announced yesterday – not long after the police findings were made public – that they would no longer offer beer in the locker-rooms at the stadium. They said the team was also considering banning beer from the team plane.

Bravo. Here’s hoping St. Louis will not be the last team to see the follow of sending young, athletic men int to the night with a buzz. Young men who think they’ll live forever.

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2 thoughts on “Onward: Josh Hancock (1978-2007)

  1. SJH says:

    I found out about his death when I was checking my fantasy league. I saw that the Cardinals game was postponed and got pissed because I needed some numbers from Pujols. Hit me when I found out why. I felt bad for him; had all the expected emotions when you hear of someone like that dying. But all that flew out the window when I heard he was drunk and had drugs in the car. I have no sympathy for anyone like that. I’ll go as far as saying he deserved to die. Had he killed an innocent person instead of himself, how different would the public sentiment be? Same deed, just different results. If you’re that irresponsible and reckless, and care so little about your own and the lives of others, screw you. The league won’t miss him and his bad numbers, either.

  2. Jake says:

    I feel more for his family than anything. His actions were irresponsible and reckless. The thing about mistakes, you don’t always get a second chance. In his case a third.

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