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josh hamilton piece in new s.i. (6/2)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by shockey, May 28, 2008.

  1. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    i'm the first to admit that when it comes to baseball, if it's not yankees-related, i'm waaaaay behind the times.

    so the story this week by albert chen on josh hamilton's journey back toward stardom was quite compelling to me. good for him. seems like a talented-filled but tormented guy worth pulling for, no? like a modern-day "the natural." :eek: :eek: :eek:
  2. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    The local networks here in Texas are all over this guy.
    Rangers lost today, but his grand salami broke things open yesterday.
  3. Word is after the game on Sunday he and his wife are going to be speaking to fans after the game. He's going to share his "testimony" and life dealing with drugs and getting back into the game.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Curious to see if the story focuses in the least on Hamilton's Christianity, or glosses over that, because journalists are uncomfortable with the subject.
  5. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    Yes, the Christianity angle would be a new one.

    This story is about a year old, his life's turnaround has already been well-told.
  6. It's in there.
  7. Had a great time covering Hamilton last season when he was in Cincinnati. He is a first-class guy.
  8. FuturaBold

    FuturaBold Member

    I wasn't the sports guy at the time but I worked at his hometown newspaper the year he was drafted ... The SE did a fantastic piece on him that I still remember well ... She hooked you in describing a scene like he was winding up to pitch (he was a star pitcher in high school), then *plop* his fishing line drops in the water -- anyways, I'm glad to hear things have turned around for him...

    I did cover one of his high school games before moving to that paper. He was pitching against one of "my" teams in the state playoffs and threw a no-no. He was nasty. Nothing even left the infield...
  9. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    Hal McCoy, the Hall of Famer, wrote about Hamilton during the Reds spring training back in 2007. From the way-back machine:

    Reds’ ‘lost soul’ batting cleanup

    Josh Hamilton on his way back to baseball after getting sober.

    By Hal McCoy Staff Writer

    SARASOTA, Fla. — Josh Hamilton sprinkled and peppered the soft Florida earth behind the center field wall with ball after ball after ball during a batting practice session, a performance witnessed by Adam Dunn.
    “That guy is the best baseball player I ever saw,” said Dunn. “I worked out with him in Bradenton in 1999. The guy is a freak of nature.”
    Hamilton may be the best baseball player Dunn ever saw, but nobody has seen him much on a baseball field in the recent past — no games in 2003, 2004, 2005. Nineteen games in Class A last season.
    The lost years were due to the 26-year-old outfielder’s connections to demon drugs and alien alcohol. Major League Baseball suspended him in February 2004, and the road back has been long and winding and precarious, a road still not ended.
    It began at the same time Dunn first saw him — 1999, Bradenton, Fla., Ellenton Mall, a tattoo parlor, after Hamilton signed a $3.96 million contract.
    “For the first time, I had money, I had time on my hands, I was lonely,” he said. “I won’t use excuses, but the only two things I knew were baseball and my family. I got hurt playing baseball and my mom and dad weren’t healthy and left for home in North Carolina.
    “I was at the park at 7:30 a.m. and home by 12:30 p.m. I lived close by the Ellenton Mall and made bad choices. I went looking for something to fill a void. The choices I made were mine, but not the best.
    “There were points many times when I thought I’d never play again, the lifestyle I was living. I felt down and felt I’d never get back to where I am today,” he said. “It’s a vicious cycle when you’re involved in drug and alcohol abuses. You look for anything to set you off.”
    Time and again he missed workouts, games, team functions. Once he went AWOL for three days during spring training, ending up at the tattoo parlor in the Ellenton Mall and with the drug culture.
    The nightmare reached the pit’s bottom when Hamilton showed up at his grandmother Mary Holt’s house in Raleigh, N.C., weighing 180 pounds. His playing weight is 230, “so you can imagine how I looked. Facing her was tough. She wanted me to stop using and I wanted to stop using, but I used a couple of times in the couple of weeks I stayed there and she said she couldn’t take it any more. My grandmother seeing me, that was the lowest point, seeing the look in her eyes. I stopped the next day — October 6, 2005.”
    The Cincinnati Reds are giving him a second chance, which is actually about his fourth chance — the first three provided by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who drafted him No. 1 in the country in 1999, the year Dunn first saw him.
    “Some people it takes years and years to beat it and some people just want to change right away. When I first got out of baseball, I wanted to do it for myself and for my family,” he said.
    Hamilton knows that even though he has been clean for 16 months, the war isn’t won. Every day is a battle.
    He is required to take drug tests three times a week, sometimes four, “something I used to hate and dread, but now I like it and say, ‘Welcome, I’m good to go.’ I don’t carry any cash on me, my wife (Katie) and I brought only one car to spring training so I’m not tempted to jump in a car and go somewhere bad and I give my meal money to somebody to hold for me,” he said.
    Training with the Reds, Hamilton is but 15 miles from Bradenton and the Ellenton Mall and he says, “It’s all amazing. It isn’t often anybody gets second, third and fourth chances. So, no, I don’t go near that place. I know what happened there, and I wake up every morning with the tattoos as a constant reminder.”
    Hamilton was sitting at a table close to Ken Griffey Jr.’s locker Monday, two former No. 1 draft picks — one an instant megastar, the other a lost soul. Griffey made fun of Hamilton’s size 17 feet and Hamilton said, “Go ahead, bring it on. Everybody else makes fun of them.”
    Later, Hamilton said of Griffey’s possible influence, “I don’t see how I can’t look at him and not be inspired, the way he carries himself and what he has done for the game. He is up there with the best ever and if I can just pick his brain and sit and talk with him, that’s what I’m going to do. Absorb as much as I can about baseball life and family life.”
    Manager Jerry Narron and Narron’s brother, Johnny, knew Hamilton in North Carolina when he was 12, so Narron is pulling extra-hard for Hamilton’s success. As a Rule 5 pick, Hamilton must stay with the team all season or the Devil Rays can take him back for $25,000. If they don’t want him, Hamilton would be put on waivers to give every team a chance to claim him.
    “If he can’t help us at the major-league level, there is a good chance he won’t be with us,” said Narron. “We want to see his life back to where it was when he was 18 and 19. He has a good chance to help us and he’ll get a lot of at-bats, a lot of work, and we’ll see where he is in a month. I know nobody on this team right now has the combination of power, speed and the arm that he has.”
    People think Hamilton blew up his nose or tossed down his throat all of his $3.96 million, but he said, “No, I didn’t. I supported my parents for six years. When I was 12 I told my mom and dad if I made it in baseball I’d pay off all their debts and buy them each a new car. I did that.”
    Now he is paying off his debt to drugs and alcohol and says, “Scared? Naw, I’m at peace with my life right now and nothing frightens me. I tore my body down for three years, but I’m still able to play. That’s not me. That’s the Lord.”
  10. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Athens Drive (his high school) was in the same conference as mine. He hit three home runs one day against my school's team, including one that hit the school. That's about a 450-foot bomb to center field -- up a hill, since the baseball field was built into the ground.

    The kid he hit all three against came to school the next day bragging about how the great Josh Hamilton tore him a new one.
  11. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    This seems as good a place as any to point out that Pearlman called Rocco Baldelli a "budding Joe DiMaggio" in his "Whatever Happened to Josh Hamilton?" feature a couple of years ago ...

    I'm glad to see Hamilton do well, though. I just hope the other shoe never drops with him, like it did with Ankiel or Strawberry ...
  12. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    What would Hamilton have done if he were clean back at 19? That's scary.
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