Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I don't dislike Josh Hamilton. In fact, a while back on BYB, we wrote about him in a piece I called WHY THE YANKEE GODS ARE SMILING ON MONTERO. Ironically, Jesus Montero is long gone from the Bronx, but in that piece I wrote about Hamilton saying:

"Look at ballplayers like Josh Hamilton who broke into the Tampa Bay Rays organization. I remember reading about him before he ever stepped into a pro batter’s box. The world was hyping him up, big time. Then, the young Hamilton bought into the hype, started enjoying himself alittle too much and fell off the face of the earth. I remember reading that he literally hit rock bottom and was crack addicted. he wrote about it in his book Beyond Belief. Bottom line, it was a dark road, but he got himself right and now he's clean. It's an amazing journey, but clearly he bought into the hype."

I liked how Hamilton bettered himself, and then Hamilton "wowed" us all in 2008 in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, cranking out a ton of home runs:

It was amazing and it was clear that Hamilton was back!

Then it appeared that Hamilton's body started breaking down. You can suggest that age had something to do with it.  Some would even suggest his hard drug abuse corroded his body. You know... Poison. You see where I'm going with this?   Look, needless to say, the Los Angeles Angels signed him to a huge contract.  At the time, I could not believe it.  "He'll break down soon", my buddy told me.

Well, Now Josh Hamilton has continued to break down.  He's also forgot that he had huge fan support for a long, long time during his journey back.  But here's the thing, and this is something that professional ballplayers need to remember;  We, the fans, pay a lot of money to see our heroes play hard.  Unfortunately, many of us fans don't feel bad if a player slumps. We want home runs.  We want wins.  Yeah, there are thoughtful fans that understand baseball and age and don't get too wrapped into it. But for the most part, when the game is on the line and there's a shot to win, you better perform... or those same fans, will boo you out of the stadium. Why? because it's frustrating.

Josh Hamilton was booed. The Angels are out of the playoffs as you know. Now Josh Hamilton suddenly has a problem with the fans, the same fans that pay his salary.

I was taken back by what Hamilton said recently. As many know, he was given 12 cortisone shots to return to the Angels for the playoffs.  But Josh wasn't 100% and it showed.  Here's what he said when he was booed:

"I thought it was pretty funny, after my third at-bat of the first game, I got booed... I’m like, seriously? I’m out for a month, put all kinds of poison in my body to even attempt to play, and get booed. Whatever. It’s kind of comical. I don’t take offense to it because they don’t know me. There is no personal interaction.”

He also said this about injuries and baseball:

"It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it... The injuries weren’t like hamstrings. When you play the game you are going to get hurt. You can’t control that unless you play soft, and that’s a whole other issue. “It’s frustrating, but we did some things better than we did last year and the three years before that. We won our division and got to the playoffs.”

First off... Poison? How ironic. The guy almost wrecked his life with crack cocaine, and suddenly now he wants sympathy for taking cortisone shots to do his job?  You're kidding me, right?

Now sure, we all know the story about Sandy Koufax and him realizing that he didn't want to take cortisone shots for the rest of his life because he was unsure about the long term effects.  Hamilton of course can play that card as well, but he also has to think about what's coming out of his mouth and where he's been in his own dark journey.  It seems very weird to me. There's irony here.

Secondly, yes, injuries are frustrating. But for the fans, it's very frustrating. Look, I'm a sympathetic guy, but fans are passionate.  Players, or at least most of them, understand injury.  Look at someone like Mark Teixeira.  There is no question that the guy is breaking down and he's not the same player, but Mark would never bring the fans into it. It's unprofessional. Fans pay to see players shine.  When players don't shine, fans get mad. I'm not a "boo-er", but I also understand why fans boo.  It's the game.

Josh Hamilton is clearly breaking down, and while no one wants to hurt, no one wants to hear that you tried to play for the fans "by putting poison" in your body. No one asked you to do that Josh... we just want you to play the game.  And you know what? If you can't... then don't. The fans would have more respect for you if you sat out knowing you couldn't give 100% rather than you trying to make fans have sympathy for you putting poison in your body to feel good. Play hurt sometimes hurts the team. Seems like a contradiction to your life.  That was a silly comment.

Just get healthy big guy. No poison next year... no nothing.  Clean slate next year, OK?

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