Josh Hamilton Relapse a Reminder of the Frailty of Man

Oct 3, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (32) reacts after grounding into a double play against the Kansas City Royals in the 10th inning in game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (32) reacts after grounding into a double play against the Kansas City Royals in the 10th inning in game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hamilton’s story was told with a beginning, a middle and an end. It was told neat like that. He was the gifted young ballplayer who fell about as hard as a man can fall and still get up, and then he did get up. Hooray for Josh Hamilton. Hooray for the human spirit.

That was his story. It was worth telling. With every home run, every day spent sober, every moment he held his wife and four daughters, it was worth re-telling, because none of that was guaranteed after he fell. And fell. And fell.

Through a clear lens, it was impossible not to root for Josh Hamilton, who woke up every morning expecting to do the right thing by himself and his family, and then getting through most days.

But not all of them. The story wasn’t that neat. It wouldn’t ever be.

I don’t know if drugs and alcohol chased Hamilton or he chased them. The result is the same. By Thursday, Major League Baseball was believed to be considering what to do now with Hamilton, who, according to reports, had backslid in his recovery. He could be suspended. Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels two seasons ago for $125 million over five years. He’s owed $83 million in the next three seasons. A suspension would be unpaid.

When he was in his early 20s, several years after being the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, Hamilton spent three seasons on baseball’s suspended list because of his addiction. As a condition of his return in 2006, Hamilton was to be tested three times a week. He was known to have fallen off the wagon twice, once in 2009 and again in 2012, when he was with the Texas Rangers.

In 2014, his second season with the Angels, Hamilton struggled through injuries, most related to his shoulder. He played in only 89 games, did not have a hit in the Angels’ division series loss to the Kansas City Royals, and was roundly booed in Anaheim. This month, weeks before spring training was to start, Hamilton underwent shoulder surgery and was expected to miss a month or more of the regular season. He did not report to spring training, an unusual arrangement that apparently came with the blessing of the club.

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SOURCE: Yahoo! News
Tim Brown

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