Q&A with Dan Good, writer of a brand new e book on Ken Caminiti

The idea of closure is not essentially what journalist Dan Good began chasing 10 years in the past when he determined to re-examine life and the troubled instances of fireplace padres third baseman Ken Caminiti.

Then what else could be gained by subjecting himself and a bunch of Padres followers to an train that led to the completion of a brand new e book, “Taking part in Via the Ache: Ken Caminiti and the Steroids Confession That Modified Baseball Without end” (Abrams Publishing, 384 pages, $27, forthcoming Could 31)? (Read an excerpt here.)

“Penning this e book was a devastating course of…having interview topics who continuously cry – and also you wish to cry with them,” Good mentioned. “It is vital to have a basic understanding, extra appreciation for who he was, the struggles he had and for us to have extra compassion.

“However closure – it is elusive. It can’t be absolutely discovered right here.

Author Dan Bon.

Creator Dan Bon.

(Courtesy image)

Over 400 interviews later (together with the primary recorded chat with Caminiti’s childhood buddy and steroid program supervisor, Dave Moretti), combing by means of lots of of paperwork and tales, and condensing them as finest than he might in some 130,000 phrases, there is no such thing as a rewriting of historical past with the ultimate chapter of Caminiti’s drug-induced dying in October 2004 on the age of 41.

However that tragic occasion — eight years after he obtained the one Nationwide League MVP award in Padres historical past, and almost 12 years earlier than his Team Hall of Fame induction — cannot be his defining second both, Good determined.

A Penn State graduate and former reporter for the New York Day by day Information and New York Publish, in addition to NBC and ABC Information, Good explains his intent, his new findings and what he hopes followers take away from the three-time All-Star who spent 4 vital seasons with the Padres within the late 90s, together with a visit to the World Sequence, to spotlight a 15-year profession in MLB:

Q: You’ve got introduced up a number of issues that hassle baseball and the world – society’s views on dependancy, the trauma, the ethical ambiguities round performance-enhancing medicine in baseball within the Nineteen Nineties. to tales. Can your reconnection with this, with Caminiti specifically, assist followers grow to be extra empathetic to what you suppose occurred extra precisely?

A: I believe so. I’ve at all times been intrigued by the depth of the steroid stuff as a result of I grew up as a baseball fan within the 90s when the sport was a lot enjoyable. The 1994 strike was powerful, however you had Cal Ripken and the back-to-back streak, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa within the house runs… It was superior. Now, this entire period was tainted by issues that they had been placing of their our bodies. Clearly steroids performed a job, however PEDs have been within the sport in a single type or one other for many years.

Have a look at Ken’s case. He has a buddy who units up steroid packages for different gamers. It swells on this large factor. Dozens of players use this pipeline to get steroids. Curiously, Ken was the last word competitor, however he by no means seen steroids as one thing that will solely assist him or his workforce. It was to assist everybody. Possibly it was the collegial nature of the gamers coming collectively after the strike, to come back again from damage, do some good numbers, get a greater contract from the homeowners. We centered on Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, McGwire, Caminiti, however so many different used ones that do not make headlines or come below scrutiny. It was an enormous hypocrisy that everybody knew about. I hope individuals could have a brand new understanding of all this, this period, as a result of this period deserves one other look.

Q: Caminiti turned the poster youngster for his honesty, the main focus of a Sports activities Illustrated steroid exhibit in 2002. Twenty years later, can we get a greater perspective on all of it?

A: Ken’s honesty is what has at all times set him aside. When McGwire got here out in 2009 and admitted to utilizing steroids, he tried to say he wasn’t certain the way it helped him. These admissions had been so improper. Ken was one of many few who stood up and mentioned, sure I used it, it was useful. …and a few individuals lose sight that he was an All-Star with out steroids. It’s fascinating to see the situations that allowed him to resolve to begin utilizing. Bodily decline, wanting to assist the workforce, getting a contract, all of them gelled collectively.

Q: At the moment, extra persons are open about psychological well being, particularly due to this pandemic disruption. Caminiti was receiving psychological well being remedy from the MLB Worker Help Program. However you’ve got gathered new details about how he was sexually abused whereas in school in San Jose. How did it occur?

A: It was actually onerous making an attempt to make sense of it. I as soon as spoke to his legal professional (Terry Yates) who spoke very cryptically a few childhood trauma that fueled his addictions. It amazed me. The issue is that individuals who expertise trauma, they lock this stuff away and even their family members might not know the reality. I occurred to speak to 2 individuals in two totally different locations who went to rehab with him and so they heard the identical tales, however the particulars weren’t clear. What Ken mentioned to these individuals in rehab goes with a number of different stuff, so I felt snug together with that. It advised me it was the reality – and it was devastating and tragic to piece that collectively, and in addition tragic on a separate word for all these individuals who tried to assist him over time not understanding what occurred. was previous and what it was. versus.

Q: Which Padres-related individuals have you ever discovered most useful in reviewing this?

A: Bruce Bochy was my favourite, and he introduced a number of issues collectively. I linked with Greg Vaughn by way of Fb, Ken’s roommate who shortly turned pals with him. Acquired some fascinating insights from John Moores, Kevin Towers, Rob Picciolo, Bob Tewksbury, Jim Leyritz… Ted Leitner was nice too, with so many colourful issues to say. Sadly, Tony Gwynn had died earlier than I might communicate to him. And there have been so many I could not discuss to, individuals who advised me it was too painful a topic. I utterly perceive and respect that.

Q: Manny Machado’s MVP-like season to this point might convey up the Caminiti identify once more. How you can discover parallels?

A: Machado is clearly the very best third baseman the Padres have had since Ken, however I see Machado as extra (a participant) which makes issues rather a lot simpler than Ken. It was one of the vital endearing issues about Ken. He made it tough and there was a tenacity in him. It is fascinating to see that counterweight and respect once more that he is a very particular participant doing actually particular issues. The types could also be totally different however the expertise and efficiency are there.

Cover of the new book on Ken Caminiti

Q: What pursuits you in regards to the austere cowl of the e book?

A: I used to be moved by it. I wished it to convey a reference to the themes and feelings conveyed. The picture of him is from the 1998 World Sequence, and he crouches right down to refocus, accumulate, stability and mirror. It is a highly effective approach to convey what’s within the e book.

Q: In 2020, in the course of the pandemic, you tweeted how cool you thought it was to see the cardboard cutout of Caminiti within the seats behind house plate at Petco Park together with his former teammates. Why was it particular?

A: He is there with Gwynn, Vaughn, Bochy, Kevin Towers, Steve Finley… It was an opportunity for individuals to recollect him. And that is what I believe is vital. Ken’s probation officer gave me a quote on this. She defined how, within the 12 months after her passing, she would use her identify to remind others to remain on observe. However over time, she might really feel that folks would not know who she was speaking about. I do not suppose that is the proper factor, simply transfer on.

I used to be pleased with how the Padres honored him for his or her Corridor of Fame and the cardboard cutout was a connection to that period and that workforce and it honored him. I believe these Padres years had been essentially the most particular of his profession, although he spent extra time in Houston. I believe he felt a deeper connection to San Diego and the followers there. They kissed him in a particular means. You at all times see Caminiti shirts at video games. It is a good factor.

Q: What do you suppose is the last word takeaway? A cautionary story worthy of the time funding?

A: His story is so sophisticated but when we let issues go and transfer on, what will we study from it? I hope individuals will likely be much less important. Via this course of, I realized that. When persons are going by means of powerful instances, it is simple to look down on them. I do not suppose we should always do this. Individuals can use extra sensitivity and compassion.

There’s additionally a false impression about his return from shoulder surgical procedure as a result of the steroids should have helped him come again so shortly. He didn’t use steroids whereas in rehab. I do know it is a minor factor, however it provides to a story. There are nuances to know.

You have a look at the influence he had in San Diego at the moment. Is Petco Park being constructed with out its contribution? I do not know, however that is a very good query. He did so many issues to assist the workforce overcome the problem in 1996, to construct credibility, to assist the workforce in 1998 as a lot as he might.

It was particular for me to take this stroll and study extra about his life. As tough because it was on the time, I believe it was a precious course of and journey. I nonetheless respect it. I nonetheless adore him. I’m honored to jot down this e book. I do know it is not for everybody and persons are going to battle with some points, however I hope individuals acknowledge the care and thought that goes into it and may respect it for what it’s and assist individuals in a roundabout way.

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