When Joel Zumaya first broke onto the scene with the Detroit Tigers, fans were mesmerized. Not only did Zumaya throw as hard or harder than anyone in the league, but he just had the look of guy who wanted to compete hard and strikeout everybody he faced.
Unfortunately, as it seems to go with any flame-throwing relief pitcher the Tigers have had, Zumaya quickly fizzled out.
Zumaya recently joined 97.1 The Ticket's new podcast In The Meantime and he admitted to using marijuana throughout his career.
From 97.1 The Ticket:
“Since I’m the first person on your podcast, man, I’m going to shock the world. When I played, I called it medical marijuana because I’m from California. We had it medicalized back then before anybody else had it. I used it while I played. And the reason I used it while I played is because I couldn’t sleep at night,” Zumaya said. “Sometimes we would get home at 12 at night, sometimes from road trips not even until 6:00 in the morning, and have to play the same day. For us to get sleep and to wake up and deal with the pain — I’m telling you, it hurts to throw hard. To do what we do for 160-something games and to perform at that level, you just can’t pop anti-inflammatories and Tylenol and Excedrin. It’s going to deteriorate your body, man, and that’s something that we did to ourselves.
“I’m a pitcher. I took six Advil every single day just to try to heal that bad stuff in my arm and make it feel good. To go home and feel the stuff that we feel afterwards, I would go home and I had a vaporizer and I would vaporize medical marijuana and it would put me to sleep. Sleep like a champ, wake up the next morning, go back to the field and do what I had to do.”
Zumaya noted that when he played there was not blood testing, just urine.
“Back then, it was weird, man. We actually didn't get blood tested when I was in the league. We would just urinate,” Zumaya said. “I think back then they were just looking for guys that did cocaine or enhancements, the guys that were just using the crazy stuff to make (themselves) better. I’m not going to lie to you, I think I got drug tested more than the average person in 2006. I guess they thought I was juicing just because I threw so damn hard. But you never saw my name pop up dirty, man, and it never will.”
The former Tiger is happy that Michigan has made marijuana legal.
“I'm very grateful that Michigan has done that. I’m from California, so I preach that. My parents all have arthritis and they use the CBD. I use the CBD cream. I think athletes should use the CBD cream for pain and joints and all that stuff. The smoking, save that for afterward because it can affect the 162 games, the way you play and run. But just let the athletes use CBD, just the way they slam Tylenol and all that stuff down our throats,” Zumaya said.