Former MLB star Lenny Dykstra went on Colin Cowherd's show "The Herd" and made a startling admission Tuesday: As a professional baseball player, he hired private investigators to follow umpires in their private lives, gathering information to blackmail those umps for better calls at the plate.
Yes, there's quite a bit to unpack here. Not only is that a stunning revelation, but the casual nature with which Dykstra describes his behavior is perhaps even more shocking. When Cowherd expresses shock, Dykstra shrugs as if it shouldn't be news to him.
"It wasn't a coincidence, do you think, that I led the league in walks the next two years, was it?" Dykstra asks Cowherd. "Fear does a lot to a man."
Message received, Lenny, and we've all made a mental note to never cross paths with you. Clearly, those umpires who did have to deal with him were forced to handle far more than we all realized. Dykstra doesn't mince words about how that blackmail took place.
"I said, 'I need these umpires [to help me at the plate],' so what do I do? I just pulled a half-million bucks out and hired a private investigation team," Dykstra says. "Their blood is just as red as ours. Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble."
If this is true -- and Dykstra may have a credibility issue -- it's hard to figure out where we go from here. Dykstra did lead MLB in walks in 1993, but it's not entirely how rampant this blackmail behavior was.
If there was a former player to admit to blackmailing umps, though, Dykstra would probably wind up on many people's short lists. The three-time All-Star has had a rocky life post-baseball, becoming a convicted felon for a grand theft auto conviction. He was also charged for bankruptcy fraud.
In total, he spent more than half a year in prison. Now he considers himself reformed and told Cowherd he is writing a book about his post-baseball life.
After his utter lack of remorse in the radio interview -- Dykstra seemed completely comfortable with his behavior and didn't give any indication he looked down on his past blackmailing -- he might want to take a second look at his life. Reformed criminals tend to see the error in mass blackmailing.