After hearing about the Josh Hamilton relapse late last week, I was stunned and even wondered if it was true. Then Friday afternoon Josh stood in front of the media and said the story is true. For most Rangers fans, it was like a kick in the gut and sent numerous fans falling to their knees wondering “why?” This is one of those situations where the answer may not be something simple.
Addiction is a very tough disease, and yes…it is a disease. I have never dealt with addiction, but I have people close to me who have. I’m sure many of you have as well also. The first reaction as a fan is “Oh no…not again” but this goes a whole lot deeper than just being a fan. Josh Hamilton has done a lot for the Rangers and their fans and is one of the most popular players on the team. He book, “Beyond Belief” is probably something most Rangers fan have read at least one time.
It is hard not to pull for the guy, especially after reading his book and realizing just how far he had to come to get back to the Major Leagues. So, his first relapse was a big shock three years ago, but since then he has done everything right. And everyone seemed to think that Josh was living a dream life now. However since we really don’t know much about these players privately, it was hard to know just what was going on. That’s when the news broke about this trip to a local bar. Unless you have been around it, addiction is an insidious disease which can strike at any time.
At first glance, you would have to ask “why would an alcoholic, go to a bar?” but then you realize for Josh to have any camaraderie with his team mates he would have to go to bars and restaurants where his friends were drinking. I would assume as far as anyone knows, he never did partake in the festivities. I guess this is why this incident is such a shock to everyone, where he admitted to having 3 or 4 drinks.
The Rangers are dealing with this internally as well has Hamilton’s family. This is the only way this really needs to be dealt with. This current incident will add another black mark to his career which has been marred with black marks from his earlier problems. This is one case where you hope he can overcome this latest indiscretion and continue to be successful.
This latest snag, has been estimated that it will cost Josh anywhere from $30-$60 million on his next contract. He is supposed to go meet with league doctors and officials this week and discuss this latest relapse. I don’t know if the league will bring down any punishment, since it was clearly stated that he had to keep himself clean in his contract. Only time will tell about what the results will be. Needless to say, Rangers fans are hoping he will be able to take the field in a couple weeks when Spring Training starts.
If he has to go to rehab or serve any suspension for this latest incident, then that will keep him from being on the field at the start of spring training for the Rangers. This is a small potato thought, considering what really hangs in the balance. He needs to get himself taken care of and make sure he is on the road to recovery before thinking about baseball. This is one of those times where his health and life are more important than a baseball game, season or even career. Hopefully Josh can straighten back up and recover in time to be part of the team this season, but we won’t know that until later.
So, what does this relapse mean? It means that Josh Hamilton, like many other addicts have their moments of weakness and can “Fall off the wagon” at any moment in time. Always; it is a one day at a time deal. If you have ever lived in it, you know the addict will always be an addict. Character has little to do with it, it is a disease. However, many learn to control their addiction and live happy and useful lives.
What does this mean for the team? There is no real answer about that at this point in time, because nobody knows where this will end up. This is one time where baseball is really secondary. He needs to just forget about it until he is healthy again for himself and for his family. I am a fan, and I want Hamilton on the field when the season starts. But sometimes there are more important things in life than sports.