Sunday, February 12, 2006

About that code...for me, there are two

My early forays into the New York publishing world in the late 1990's hawking my book about the Mets of the 1980's left me disillusioned. A naive writer assumed much and knew little. The publishing houses I was contacting didn't deal in unsolicited manuscripts, but would do so from agents. Two old acquaintances from my days in baseball who'd had books published kindly passed along the names of their's. The nobody knew who I was angle I could handle. The we only want dirt angle I couldn't and never will.
Unlike the uniform code against gambling that's posted in every clubhouse in America, there is no such thing about the code inside the clubhouse. Yes indeed, what goes on there stays there. Private conversations between teammates, the raw langauage, what happens on the road-all stay there. But its more than a rule. Anyone who's ever shared the same no-limit hold-em hand for a season knows what I mean. Its a bond that isn't easily explained, yet internally understood and precious.
People who've served in the military know what I mean, the bond of combat inexplicable, knowing friends for a lifetime. Its most certainly where the sharing a foxhole metaphor originates. No one in sports would ever presume to compare sports to combat, but it serves its purpose to demonstrate the mutual feeling held by teammates. Many things are best left unsaid and never repeated.
I'm no exception and could never give myself the mental okay to tell where the bodies are buried. No purpose would be served save greed and perversion. The men I shared the time with mean too much to me, and the experience shaped the man I am today. To betray would be discard everything, and I could never, ever forgive myself. There'll be no Canseco book, No Ball Four, no Bronx Zoo. To do so would be to break the first of two codes.
The second, though less dramatic, holds equal value for me. As an athletic trainer, I was bound by a code of ethics. The most simple of which is confidentiality. Things shared in confidence, told in confidence will continue to stay that way.
Its a fine line that trainers are asked to walk in professional sports. On one hand, its simple for everyone to understand that injuries related to something the happens on the field to be an open book with all parties concerned. But there are the other things. Players begin to trust you and confide things to you. These are to be kept in confidence. Some aren't able to, or choose not to, are coerced otherwise, or maybe to curry favor from powers that be simply don't. I can safely say that neither Steve Garland or I ever betrayed a confidence. And though I've sadly not spoken with Steve now for several years, I know he wouldn't do so now.
So the stories I tell will be heartfelt first person accounts of what it was like to be there. I want to put you in the dugout-to make you feel as it did for me. I want to tell the story of this very special team and the men who played it. For them, for you, and for me everything I write about our Mets of the late 1980's I want it to be like it was again. Close your eyes. Its almost as if.


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