We are only starting to discover the extent of Josh Hamilton's escapades on Monday night at a local Dallas bar. This is what we do know so far, as revealed by Hamilton himself:
He left home after some kind of family issue, went to a restaurant where teammate Ian Kinsler joined him, he drank alcohol (unbeknownst to Kinsler, according to Josh) and then kept the party going at a bar next door. Who knows if that's all there is to the story? Time will undoubtedly reveal more details.
But like most of you, I care about the guy beyond just the fan-player relationship we have. I was relieved as a fan to hear him reassure me that he has had two drug tests since Monday (and passed both) and that he did not take any drugs that night. It might be a small victory, but it still seemed like a victory.
But this is a guy that I think all Rangers fans worry about on a human level. The tragedy with Shannon Stone was devastating all around, but I think everyone felt an extra bit of nausea over the fact that it was Josh who threw the ball for Cooper that Shannon Stone died trying to catch.
Why him of all people? It hardly seemed fair.
And that's why I worry for Josh, not in the next week, six months or even a year. I shudder to think of what Josh Hamilton will do after baseball. He nearly admitted to that fear himself in his press conference.
The TV commercials to keep kids off the hard stuff like to call any non-narcotic related activities an anti-drug. It's clear that baseball is Josh's anti-drug. And he needs it. Badly.
When Josh has baseball to occupy his mind, his body and his idle hands, he seems to be slip-up free. His relapse in 2009? It happened while he was rehabbing an injury, an all-too-unfortunate occurrence with Josh.
I know a lot of people have addressed this week's relapse news from the perspective of how it will affect his contract and his worth. But I worry about how it will affect his actual life span.
When the sun sets on Josh Hamilton's career, I hope he has conquered his demons. Josh says that the only thing keeping him alive and clean is Jesus Christ.
I think the only thing standing between Josh and self-destruction is baseball. Spring training can't start soon enough for more reasons than one.
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