Recessions tend to wipe out the bozos first, so perhaps Lenny “Nails” Dykstra deserves credit for hanging on as long as he did. Never mind the steroid reports that have dogged him since his playing days ended. The beloved ex-Mets and -Phillies star had energy: He owned a chain of car washes and lube joints, wrote an investing column for TheStreet.com, and founded a lifestyle magazine for retired jocks, The Players Club: “Keep Living the Dream” was its motto. And he was: driving a Rolls Royce, living in Wayne Gretzky’s old mansion in Southern California. “Pull that door, dude,” he told The New Yorker’s Ben McGrath last year. “Feel that. That’s a door, man. And the stairs — it’s like fucking royalty. This is a compound.”
Now Dykstra’s compound is under siege. He filed for bankruptcy protection today, claiming less than $50,000 worth of assets — well under the $60 million he bragged he was worth to ESPN.com in April. Plus, he’s millions of dollars in debt: $12.9 million to JPMorgan, and $4.2 million to TARP recipient Bank of America. Meaning, in other words, the people who have been underwriting Lenny’s dream are the bank we hear is the only respectable bank left in America and the American taxpayer. Now that’s a rude awakening.