Yesterday, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto revealed that he had tested positive for marijuana while at this year’s World Baseball Classic. While it’s not expected to cause any problems for his major league career, he’s banned from international play for two years, or roughly 12 times the amount of time Manny Ramirez will have faced for his steroid use. For weed. Anyway.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella defended Soto today, saying that if he had known earlier than this week about the drug test, he would have encouraged Soto to come clean with it much earlier, rather than having it weigh on his mind and affect his performance. Then Uncle Lou engaged in an unusually candid bit of solidarity, saying that he, too, had smoked the reefer back in the day.
Said Piniella, courtesy of ESPN CHICAGO (click on the circle thing at the link to hear the interview):
Look, I have smoked dope one time in my life, And it didn’t do a damn thing for me, okay? And I never tried it again. I’m fortunate because of that. Look, a lot of people do; you can buy it in California, from a pharmacy. What do I know?
So how about that? It’s not exactly an earth-shaking revelation or a life-changing event for Piniella, but it’s still a rare thing for a public figure to admit having tried pot, whether they liked it or not.
Perhaps this is what the drug enforcement agents really need. Not for Piniella to try to discourage any and all drug use by coming out forcefully against it; that’s been tried and it doesn’t work. But if the least cool people you can imagine start endorsing marijuana, it becomes far less cool by association. Nobody wants to take a bong rip and think, “Wow, cool, I’m just like my dad!” after all.
And if it has the opposite effect, and people say, “wait a second, this many normal people tried marijuana and didn’t turn into horrific losers?” and there’s an overall destigmatization of a substance that’s not even half as harmful as, say, beer? Well, that might not be the worst thing in the world either.