February 03, 2012
Hardball Times Fantasy Forecasts and Josh Hamilton
Every year, the Hardball Times publishes player forecasts for the upcoming season. They hire folks to write comments about notable players, and for the third or fourth year (I lose track), I've written about the Rangers. From me, you'll find commentary about the entire 40-man roster plus 20 others including elite prospects who've reached full-season ball (meaning nothing about #TheLegend… sorry), AAA'ers who might see Arlington this season, and other upper-level minor leaguers who deserve mention. 4,624 words, to be exact.
Admittedly, if you follow the Rangers closely, you probably don't need to know my thoughts about established players like Ian Kinsler or Mike Adams. You know what they're going to do. But, for each team, HBT hires a different writer with expertise on "his" particular team, and you can learn volumes from them. I believe HBT is previewing the comments on the "World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals" for free. I suppose I would have been the freebie if… you know. I command you to check it out.
Because it dovetails with current events, here's my take on Josh Hamilton sent to the editors on Tuesday:
Hamilton is a superstar carrying some heavy baggage. He's a strong fielder and elite hitter with two MVP-worthy seasons in four years as a Ranger. He obliterates righties and hit well on the road. His story of redemption and overt yet humble expressions of faith have elevated him to rock-star status in Texas. The downside: he's older than you might think (31 in May), and how his scorched-earth early twenties have aged his body is anyone's guess. In five years, he's missed 184 games while on the disabled list and probably played hurt in the same number. He and the Rangers have discussed a long-term extension, but Texas has to be brooding over his future value and whether to let him walk.
I don't have much to add about the current situation. It's discouraging, but it's not the end of the world. Not that I have any expertise on addiction and recovery (never been down that road myself, although I have friends who have), but it's a process, not an event. As to whether Hamilton should have held a press conference, I would have been amazed if he'd declined. Hamilton has always carried out his recovery -- and concurrently, his relationship with God -- very publicly. My feeling is his public acts of contrition help him stay on path.* If you prefer a more cynical, PR take on the situation, he has to frame the situation to his advantage as quickly as possible. People love themselves some redemption stories.
I also think this latest mishap proves the power of addiction over him. He knows taking a drink in public is going to dominate the news, jeopardize his livelihood (indeed, his life, if he really falls off the wagon), greatly embarrass himself and his family, and put his teammates and employers in an awkward situation. Yet he drinks anyway. I hope he gets back on the path.
* I know: armchair psychiatry.
Spiritualized, "The Twelve Steps," from Let It Come Down, 2001
Posted by Lucas at February 3, 2012 07:48 PM