Darryl Strawberry will return on Celebrity Apprentice
BY FRED TOPEL
Baseball great Darryl Strawberry rocked The Celebrity Apprentice last night by volunteering to get fired by Donald Trump in the boardroom. He said he was just too exhausted to continue and his teammates should get to stay on. Trump wasn’t pleased with this work ethic, but he obliged and fired Strawberry from the charity competition.
They seem to have mended fences, because Strawberry revealed Trump invited him to return before the season ends. “I believe that Mr. Trump totally has a good feeling toward me because after all, I do come back,” Strawberry said in a conference call with the media. “He invited me back for the final two. I won’t talk about who’s there but I came back and participated in the final two to help out in the last task. He thanked me for coming back and told me I was a good sport. He also donated $25,000 to my charity.”
At least The Darryl Strawberry Foundation didn’t come up empty handed because of Strawberry’s departure. The athlete hopes his fans understand his reasons. “I just think I hit a point in the show where it had been a long year for me. I’d been tremendously busy the whole year. I was on a book tour all year. I was working in baseball here with the Mets and I had put on my own golf outing in September every year in New York. I just hit a point where I was totally exhausted, I was running around and I just had nothing left in the tank. It wasn’t anything personal. It wasn’t about quitting. It wasn’t about giving up because I never quit, I never give up because I’m standing here talking to you.”
On the Celebrity version of Trump’s reality show, two teams of celebrities compete in the business world to win money for the charities of their choice. The corporate schedule is a shock to most famous people’s systems.
“It’s a grueling schedule,” Strawberry revealed. “It’s a wakeup call at every morning at 5:30, 6 o’clock you have to be up and on your feet and ready to start moving and putting things in motion. You’re up early, you’re eating breakfast on the go, you’re eatting lunch on the go. Everything is on the go, day in day out. Of course, we’re all fighting for a great cause which we all support. We have our different causes we support but it is a grind. It’s not an everyday average thing for celebrities that are used to getting up. Me, if I’m teeing off at 8 o’clock I’m getting up early but if I’m not, there’s no reason to me in a hurry to get out.”
The men lost last night’s challenge so one of them would have to be fired. Olympic runner Michael Johnson was in charge of their losing project, but Strawberry just didn’t want to see Johnson take the fall.
“It all falls down on the project manager. Now, if the project manager really wanted to get fired, he would throw his own self under the bus. I believe Michael didn’t want to get fired. I believe he did a good job trying to keep us together as the group because we had lost the last task. When Mr. Trump came to me, it was an opportunity for me to stick up for my teammates. I don’t think a lot of people would have stuck up. Everybody has a tendency for throwing each other under the bus from time to time because nobody wants to leave. I felt like I’m exhausted, Michael pulled the team together and we thought we had a pretty good task and we should’ve won, but of course we didn’t. So someone has to move on. In my case, I figured I’ll be the one to depart and let the team go forth.”
A cancer survivor, Strawberry was quick to assure his fans that there were no health factors involved with his exhaustion. “I’m totally healthy. No question about it. Everything is well physically, mentally, emotionally in my life. I just hit a wall being run down from the whole year. A lot of people on the show probably hadn’t had the year I had. My year was exhausting. I was already on the book tour like I said so I was pretty much busy throughout the whole year.”
Now that he is off Celebrity Apprentice. Strawberry will relax the way he knows how. “Playing golf. That’s what I do. I play golf and I have my foundation here in St. Louis with me and my wife. We raise money. We continue to raise money for our foundation and help the families of the children that are affected by autism.”
The Celebrity Apprentice airs Sunday nights on NBC.
Photo courtesy of NBC.