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Bret Boone Talks About Alcoholism In New Book, Home Game

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Bret Boone was an All Star second baseman who played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. He played primarily for the Seattle Mariners, but also had stints with the Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins. By the 2005 season, his statistics had plummeted, and after just 14 games with the Twins that season, he left the sport and never came back.

Bret Boone

There has long been speculation that Boone’s prominent rise and fall was due to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but in a new book released this May, the ballplayer says it was something else altogether: alcoholism.

Baseball’s “First Family”

In his book, “Home Game: Big League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family,” Bret Boone talks about the evolution of the game, highlighting his grandfather, father and brother’s time in the Bigs, as well as his own. He touches on the PED era, a time in the late nineties and early 2000s when steroid use – and subsequently homeruns and batting averages – ran rampant in the sport. He denies trying any PEDs himself, and said it was not for any moral high ground, but because he simply feared repercussions of getting busted.

He said it was “Not because I was holier than thou, but because I was scared to get caught.”

A fallout

In discussing his fallout, where he went from averaging 122 RBI per season (2001 – 2003) to a dismal .231 batting average and virtually no power (2005), he said it wasn’t steroids, but rather substance abuse that was responsible for his sharp decline in performance. Boone says he was drinking more than anyone realized, and it was more than just celebratory brews. He soon graduated from beer to hard liquor, and was downing copious amounts.

“I needed a drink,” Boone wrote. “So I had one, and then another. I’d polish off a six-pack of beer and reach for another six-pack. Eventually I made the mistake of switching from beer to clear — from the slow, easy buzz of Bud Light or Miller Lite to the sharper edge of Absolut and Ketel One, a bottle at a time…Nobody knew how much I was drinking. To the baseball men I loved and trusted, it seemed like the usual late-career crisis.”

But it wasn’t a career crisis; it was alcoholism.

Boone left baseball later that year, and after requests from his family to get into rehab, he finally did. By 2012, Bret Boone was sober, and comfortable talking about his alcoholism.

With the recent release of his new book, it seems Boone’s sobriety is serving him well.

Getting help

Alcoholism and substance abuse disorders can impact people from all walks of life, and professional athletes are no exception. If you notice yourself drinking or using drugs to cope with a hard day, to feel better, self-medicate, or feel “normal,” you could have a substance abuse problem. If you – or your loved one – are struggling, The Watershed can help. Give us a call today to talk to one of our specialists: 1-800-861-1768. We’re here 24/7 and ready to talk when you are.




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