Jon Singleton's baseball story has us all screwed up in the head. He is a young player trying to be in the lineup for the Houston Astros. Recently, Singleton told the Associated Press that he “enjoy[s] smoking weed.” The double-A minor league baseball system suspended him 50 games for two failed drug tests. Houston Astro management sent him to a therapist, who prospected him “addicted” to marijuana. So Singleton stopped getting high and turned to booze, a more accepted vice.
Is smoking weed worse than drinking everyday?
Singleton abused alcohol every day and claimed he constantly woke up hungover. Correlating his numbers with his alcohol habits is easy -- but not as easy with his marijuana use. When Singleton came back to baseball after his suspension in 2013, he batted .220 with six homeruns in 73 games. Before being suspended in 2012, Singleton hit .284 with 21 homeruns in 131 games; however the drop in production may also have to do with missing 50 games.
Why would Singleton be suspended 50 games for smoking pot?
In Major League Baseball, there is a 15 game minimum suspension for smoking marijuana. However, you can drink and drive with no penalty. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was arrested for drunk driving. Cabrera yelled at the cops while he was being arrested. Despite this incident and any steroid witch-hunt, he has been able to celebrate a story book career.
What about steroids? Do players have to go to rehab for that?
When Jon Singleton walks up to the plate and everyone in the crowd knows he is a marijuana user, do people boo? They most likely won't. When Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafeal Palmero, Manny Ramirez, or the next Steroids McGee steps up to the plate, do people boo? They most likely will. If you use marijuana in baseball, you are hurting your team for taking a performance reducer, and you're a stoner. If you use steroids in baseball, you are helping your team for taking a performance enhancer, and you're a cheater.
Wish Jon Singleton luck as he navigates through baseball's mixed messages. If he becomes a Houston Astro this season, he will be challenged right away. His first road game in a pot smoking town will be April 5 in Canada as the Astros play the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto is where everyone's favorite mayor Rob Ford stated this year, "Why wouldn't they [Canada] at least decriminalize it and try to get revenue from it?" Later on, April 20, (4-20 of all dates) the Astros play the A's in Oaksterdam. That road trip continues to Seattle, where they sell weed in stores across the state.
Singleton admitted he had a problem as he went to rehab and got clean. He was mad at himself for being in rehab and missing out on cherished batting-cage time. However, Singleton made the most of the experience and listened to other people's stories there. It made him think about his lost opportunities resulting from suspension. In a released statement by the Houston Astros, they show their support to Singleton's efforts: "He is on the right track for his baseball career, and, more importantly, for his life. We are very proud of Jon."
Baseball has always been filled with addictive personalities that make great stories. Telling stories about Ty Cobb's alcoholic lifestyle or Dock Ellis's no-hitter on acid, is a lot more fun than explaining to your kids which numbers are real and which are steroid induced.
Speaking of drugs in baseball, don't forget to pick up your spitters before you leave the dugout.