Department: Is Darren Daulton Crazy?

Drunk. Pill popper. Wife beater. Doomsday prognosticator … It’s amazing the things people will say about him.

THE NEXT MORNING, Dutch and I meet again, and this time there’s no tooth pain. His eyes are clear.

It’s a bright, sunny Clearwater day, one of so many that look just like this. He’s thinking he might get out and play a little golf.

He’s got just one thing left to say for this story, something he’s been thinking about all night.

“Tim, I need you to make this clear: Anything I did in the past is my fault. Not my ex-wife’s fault, not any of my kids’ faults, not baseball, not the media — me, my fault. I did the damage. Will you make sure that comes through? Will you do that for me?”

Done.

What isn’t as easy is to know for sure whether Dutch’s new life — the one that now has him mixing it up with unenlightened baseball fans, downing brews with clients at sports bars, talking baseball with first-time callers — will have real legs.
“I hear conflicting reports,” says one prominent baseball executive who loves and respects him immensely. “I’m hoping.”

Though Dutch’s forays into the surreal still worry some people, all indications are that he’s cleaned up his act dramatically. “‘He looks better than he has in years,” says one Clearwater friend. “And he no longer hits the town.”

The phrase I hear echoed most from those who know Dutch best is, “He’s got your back,” quickly followed by, “It’s what made him a clubhouse leader.”

So despite the screwups, all one bazillion of them, maybe the guy deserves a little due. Maybe it’s only fair to close out on a buoyant note with something Dutch said about himself in a rare moment of reflection, free of all the metaphysical stuff:
“Sometimes I look back at my life, and I see all the baseball I played, the All-Star games, the World Series, how I helped some guys in the clubhouse, how great my kids are, some of the nice things I’ve done for people along the way, and I think maybe I’m doing okay, maybe things aren’t so bad, just maybe I’m not so crazy after all.”    

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  • patricia walsh trepp

    I had season tickets in ’93and loved every minute of it. Dutch was certainly one of my crushes but John Kruk was my favorite. My kid are mostly older than Dutch but I could dream couldn’t I. My son also has a drinking problem;wrecked a bmw along with a few others and left alot of damage along the way, mostly to himself. He was on top and then on the bottom. 6 dui’s and 8 months in jail. I pray for both of them and i’m happy to see Dutch back among the truly living and may God be always with him. Pat

  • patricia walsh trepp

    The greatest lesson I ever learned was to allow people to be who they are and no matter how unusual one’s experiences may seem to me I have had some that would seem really weird to others. He’s not hurting anyone so let him be!!!

  • patricia walsh trepp

    IF YOU QUESTION YOUR SANITY FROM TIME TO TIME YOU’RE PROBABLY OK.