Josh Hamilton hasn’t had it easy. His drug and alcohol addiction has been well documented. Chilling stories of his descent into depression make his comeback that much more miraculous. His talent was always there, but his self-destructive nature had him sleeping out of trailers, in the back of his pickup and on the streets. After finding religion and embracing sobriety, Hamilton relapsed in 2009, eventually stating that it was his first drink in four years. Pictures surfaced on the internet of Hamilton drinking with anonymous women, licking whipped cream of each other and just generally getting rowdy. It must’ve been down there with the other low points for Hamilton. He apologized for the incident, and got clean again. Then last year, he kindly tossed a ball to a fan in the stands, as do many players, but that fan, Shannon Stone, fell to his death attempting to catch Hamilton’s ball. His son was at the game with him. I can’t imagine how that made Hamilton feel. The guilt, gloom and grief he must’ve lived with since that moment could’ve had the Dalai Lama drinking. Hamilton was undoubtedly depressed, but he made it through with his sobriety intact.
Now it’s been reported that Hamilton has relapsed again. Some ignorant bartender in his hometown of Dallas served Hamilton, and his quest for a sober life begins again. All of this has been rehashed, and Josh Hamilton is even trending on twitter, below Eddie Murphy, who was falsely reported dead. This is my point, the casual nature with which we react to Hamilton’s slip-up only reinforces how easy it is to make that one giant mistake. This should be a personal issue for him. And the impact on contract talks with the Rangers? It should stay in the organization. His struggle to stay sober is difficult enough, considering what he’s had to endure and the twitterverse discussing his one mishap only makes it harder. It’s unrealistic to imagine a world where his night of binge drinking wouldn’t make headlines, but I guess that makes this a world where remaining clean is harder than ever. Josh Hamilton deserves better and none of us will fully comprehend what he’s going through, but hopefully the slugger can find religion and whatever else kept him sober, because he’s a great baseball player and a great human being.