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Beam us up, Dutchie

Darren Daulton explains his surreal life

Posted: Thursday February 16, 2006 1:24PM; Updated: Thursday February 16, 2006 2:24PM
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Darren Daulton
Darren Daulton and his wife, Nicole, are shown here in happier times.

Darren (Dutch) Daulton is now a bona fide member of the Fifth Dimension. Not the singing group from the '60s known for such airy confections as Wedding Bell Blues and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In. Daulton's Fifth Dimension exists somewhere between Stoned Soul Picnic and Up, Up and Away. It's a nether world that involves alchemy, auras, telepathy, energy transfers, astral planes, planetary ascension, parallel universes and other psychic phenomena too mind-boggling to catalogue here. I kid you not.

In Daulton's private cosmology, everything "just is" -- so yesterday, right now and tomorrow all happen simultaneously. "Your mind creates the reality you live in," says the former big league catcher, a three-time All-Star who spent 14 seasons with the Phillies and Marlins. And Daulton's reality can get pretty surreal.

To most of us living in the Third Dimension, Daulton's life started getting surreal during spring training of 1994 in Clearwater, Fla. Crouching behind home plate at Jack Russell Stadium, he was practically compelled to stare at a Hooter's billboard featuring his estranged wife, Lynne, in dead center field. Lounging languorously in a skimpy tanktop, Lynne -- a former Playboy playmate -- was the company's poster personality. The day after Daulton signed an $18.5 million contract extension, someone added the graffito: "$9.25 million."

After Dutch retired from baseball in '97, things got surreal enough to be painted by Salvador Dali. He was arrested and put on probation for reckless and drunken-driving charges. He was arrested on a domestic-violence charge after a dispute with his second wife, Nicole, who has since filed for divorce.

In 2004, Daulton did a two-month stretch in Pinellas County Jail. He'd been found in contempt of court, stemming from a failure to comply with a court order issued in his and Nicole's divorce battle. He was sprung after agreeing to serve out the remainder of his six-month sentence in a drug-and-alcohol rehab program.

"I've been thrown in jail five or six times," Daulton says from his home in Tampa. "Nicole thinks I'm crazy. She blames everything on drugs and drinking. But I don't take drugs and I'm not a drunk. Nicole just doesn't understand metaphysics."