On any other day besides the one after Rick Ankiel returns to hit a three-run home run after years re-inventing himself as an outfielder, the departure of utilityman Scott Spiezio would have been topping more sports pages and big-name sites, along with the talking head programs on the Four-Letter. Spiezio has hit the “restricted” list while he goes to rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse, according to the ball club. Per the Post-Dispatch article:
Spiezio’s problems apparently came to a head Monday night when he received intravenous fluid during and shortly after the team’s series opener against the San Diego Padres. Exhibiting an elevated heart rate and sweating profusely, Spiezio also was noticeably irritated and anxious, according to a person familiar with the situation.
When it was suggested that he be hospitalized and undergo blood testing, Spiezio abruptly disconnected the IV and left the stadium, sources confirmed.
On Tuesday Spiezio apparently approached the club for assistance and was put in contact with a representative from the organization’s Employee Assistance Program.
At that point arrangements were made to find treatment for the player.
As far as alcohol and other drugs go, this is the third incident for the team this year, with manager Tony La Russa’s DUI and pitcher Josh Hancock’s fatal crash while intoxicated. I’ll say this: at least the team is helping Spiezio, but it did take an effort from Scott to get help first — which may state that teams and baseball in general still have problems when it comes to being pro-active about addressing the problems that result from personal vices. Obviously, these guys are adults and they have to make their own decisions, but think of how bad this would have looked if Spiezio wasn’t able to admit to a need to go to rehab.
Either way, the Cards organization may be a bit happy (although that may not be the best word) that Ankiel’s feat has taken some of the attention away from this for the time being.
(The title is not intended as a pun; we don’t know what Spiezio is being treated for. Knowing quite a few people who have gone through the cycle of addiction and rehab, I wish him the best of luck.)