Shock of the century here. Pitchers boozing before games? I don’t want to make it sound mainstream, but players used to rip heaters in the dugout. And I’m not talking 100 years ago, this was more recent than you think.
Before hearing this story, it’s important to note the struggles Rick Ankiel had throughout the beginning of his career. Most people remember his struggles with the yips. The dude would have outings where he’d throw like 8 straight wild pitches. If you’ve ever been on the mound and hit one of those stretches when you can’t throw a strike, you’ve considered throwing some brews back in the dugout, let alone had a full on run in with the yips.
In an interview with 590 The Fan, Ankiel told the story of how he began an outing throwing back some vodka before his start to loosen him up and calm him down.
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance,” Ankiel said. “Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Lo and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yips, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair, so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair, either.”
So there you have it kids. If you’ve been out there struggling with command or yips or whatever, throw back a couple shots of vodka, you’ll be good to go.
— Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) February 20, 2017