PORT CHARLOTTE — When former Devil Rays standout Aubrey Huff first started the process of writing his book, Baseball Junkie, he felt doing so would help others.
But after the reflection and research he put into it, and the tears that poured out, he realized it was good for him, too.
"Very therapeutic," Huff said.
The book ($15.06, via Amazon) is sprinkled with details of Huff's dramatic life story including the murder of his father, his stints with different teams (mostly the Giants) and some behind-the-scenes anecdotes, such as the story behind his infamous "Rally Thong," as well as his salvation in finding God.
But the main theme is how Huff became addicted to the prescription amphetamine Adderall to help him cope with the pressure of playing, then residually had to deal with anxiety, panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts, including a dramatic scene where he is on his knees in a closet, crying with a gun to his head.
"I wanted to bring light to this, especially for professional athletes, this Adderall stuff, it can be deadly," he said.
As when he played, and earned nearly $60 million, Huff, 40, remains outspoken and at times boorish, with his political views and social commentary causing occasional buzzes on Twitter and Facebook. Living with his wife, Baubi, and two sons in San Diego, missing the camaraderie of being on a team and unsure what he wants to do next, Huff sounds sincere in hoping the book provides some help.
"I wanted it to be a testimonial, a little bit about what it's really like in the big leagues, some of the stuff we go through. A lot of fans see the glitz, the glamor, the money, the fame and that stuff. Underneath, a lot of us put a mask on," he said.
"People who are struggling with addictions and depression and things like that, it really will touch a nerve. To know that somebody like me who has everything by the world's standards was going through something like this, they won't feel so alone."
RAYS RUMBLINGS: Curious to see who ends up hosting the pre- and postgame shows on Fox Sports Sun given the surprising initial decision not to bring back Rich Hollenberg, who did a good job. … Expect a different look from the Rays Team at the Trop this year, no longer doing choreographed dancing on the dugouts. … A planned March 4 game giveaway of Logan Forsythe bobbleheads was, understandably, canceled since his trade to the Dodgers. …Two Rays made MLB Network's ranking of the top 100 players, new C Wilson Ramos 99th and 3B Evan Longoria 57th. … Tigers GM Al Avila said they traded for former Rays OF Mikie Mahtook expecting him to compete for a full-time or platoon job in the majors: "We like him a lot. … We feel he's at an age right now (27) that maybe hopefully we catch lightning in a bottle." … Bucs QB Jameis Winston's baseball allegiance seems clear, and it's not the local nine: Having talked in the past about wanting to play for the Yankees and seen wearing their cap, last week he gave a motivational speech in Tampa to their top prospects. … The possibility of signing free agent C Matt Wieters looming has made for an interesting first week of camp, especially for some. ... Incentives with RHP Nathan Eovaldi's 2018 $2 million option include up to $3.5 million for games and innings as a starter and $3 million for appearances, innings and games finished as a reliever.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.