Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dykstra Focuses on Family

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dykstra Focuses on Family

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- His engine is in idle; the "vroom, vroom" that forever surrounded him has gone silent. It is strange to see Lenny Dykstra like this, serenely sprawled out on a huge leather chair, sipping a cup of tea.

The den of his for-sale house in Devon, Pa., is decorated in cool shades of brown. The furniture is mostly oak, including an entertainment center that spans one full wall and features a wide-screen television of amazing clarity.

On it, the New York Yankees are playing the Baltimore Orioles, but the sound has been muted.

The only noise is faint laughter above the rhythmic din of the air conditioner. His wife, Terri, and the kids are out back by the pool on this sunbathed afternoon. Dykstra lights a cigarette, inhales deeply, and nods approvingly.

"Life is in session, dude," he says.

Only it moves a lot slower now without The Game. One might have guessed this would be a problem for Lenny Dykstra, whose advice to the young enamored of The Game is "when other people are going to high school proms or parties, maybe you should be home swinging a bat in front of a mirror, doing some push-ups. That's what I did. I never went to one high school dance.

"Naah, I never did anything. I had only two friends. And the reason I had two friends was because I needed someone to play catch with. My whole life was geared to making the big leagues."

The Game has always been Dykstra's life, until now.

It's been a year since Dykstra limped away, scarred and rich. Thirteen seasons he played, and he had more scrapes than all the 8-year-olds in South Philadelphia. There were the four knee surgeries, the appendicitis, and all those broken bones -- his left hand, the styloid bone in his arm, the collarbone (twice), the cheekbone, all now healed.

But his back still aches.

Not as bad as before, when he described the pain as biting down on a Baby Ruth with a rotting tooth. But every morning he must do exercises so he can walk upright, and this reminds him of the finality of retirement. …

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