Halos Player Life in Hell

Posted by on March 6th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

This will be a tough, tough call.  This will be a devastating blow to the ballclub.  This a terrible setback for the player.
Major League baseball has a decision to make on oft-troubled Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has had another drug relapse.  He is facing a significant suspension as a repeat offender.  He is facing additional time in rehab again.  And now the word trust has to come into any future conversation about his career, his contract, his ability to beat this, not pitching, but cocaine and alcohol.
The story is so well told, high draft pick, Tampa Bay, living on the edge, deeply involved in substance abuse, suspended, left baseball for 3-years while a minor leaguer.
Rescued himself thru rehab and religion, given a chance by the Cincinnati Reds, and stayed clean.  Traded to Texas, hired a sobriety coach, put together some amazing seasons, 5X all star, MVP type player, in the World Series too.  Signed a 5-year big money contract with the Angels, but has been hurt, underachieved and now has fallen off the wagon into a ditch.
There are two ways to look at Josh Hamilton.  He cannot stay sober, has failed to grasp the opportunities afforded him, and should be gone from the game.  
The other is the more emotional version, has fought back from addictions, committed to stay clean, has slipped a couple of times, but always rallied back.  
Putting at risk this huge $25M contract for this season with the Halos, shows how severe the addiction to alcohol and cocaine can be.  The urge is there everyday, the hook is waiting to grab you, the money in your pocket makes you an easy mark.
The harsh critics will say baseball cheat, get rid of him.  But you need to look inside Josh Hamilton to understand the man and the mission he has been on.  
He sought out help.  He hired his own sobriety coach, a recovering alcoholic.  He has written a book about addiction.  He has deep religious values.  He and his wife spend holidays working in soup kitchens to help the homeless.  His charity contributions in the cities he plays in are significant.  He has openly spoke of his battles.  And he turned himself in, this winter, when he slipped again.
Somewhere, baseball needs to find a middle ground for the fallen Angel.  Support him while suspending him.  There appear to be many good qualities to this man, even if the bad ones, relapses, have occurred 3-times in 6-years.
The fact that Josh Hamilton cares about people, and cares about himself to reach out and say I did it, I need help, means there is value to the person, who wants to beat this habit, just like he beat pitchers trying to get him out.
Each player’s issues are so different, that baseball should recognize that.  Baseball has allowed wrong doers back into the game after they served their time for whatever the crime.
Josh Hamilton is so different than the other slugger who is always embroiled in controversy, Alex Rodriguez.  The Yankee has cheated the game, and stained the record books.  The Angel has hurt his team and cheated himself.  One refused to be honest about the steroid era.  This one is honest about his issues.
Baseball should hand out discipline in this case with the Angels fallen star, but instead of an iron fist of discipline, maybe a compassionate helping hand to someone who admits he has shortcomings.
The Josh Hamilton decision, indeed a tough, tough, call.
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