Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Monday, March 19, 2007

There Are Guys I Root For...

Josh Hamilton has been one of the feel-good stories of the spring. Once the number one pick in the amateur draft, Hamilton has been in and mostly out of the game since 2001, first due to injuries and then due to drug abuse. On July 10, 2002, Hamilton was suspended for violating MLB's substance abuse policy. Hamilton wasn't caught using steroids; by his own admission Hamilton was using crack, cocaine, and pretty much anything else he could get his hands on.

The suspension was finally lifted last June and Hamilton played 15 games in the New York-Penn League before suffering a minor knee injury. Over the winter the Devil Rays left him off the 40-man roster and he was taken in the Rule V draft by the Cubs, who then peddled him to the Reds.

A very long shot to make the roster this season, Hamilton has hit this spring like the guy the Devil Rays thought they were drafting. As of today he's gone 19-39 (.487) with six walks. That does tend to make an impression.

I'm really pulling for Josh Hamilton. Young, scared kids put in situations that they don't understand often make mistakes, and sometimes the mistake is more than they can handle. A few years ago someone very close to me made bad decisions similar to Hamilton's and nearly destroyed his life. Thankfully, he learned in time to make better decisions and put himself back on track. Hamilton was down a long time and lost much, but he seems to be in a good place today.


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