I have had a lot rolling around in my head about this since it broke out early this morning. Here is Rob Neyer’s piece on the situation, I’m just going to link it here. I at first debated posting the screen shot of the article in question, but am now thinking better of it. I’m not looking up the name of the writer of the post, I’m not posting any more links, I’m just going to talk about some of the things going through my head, as I have JA Happ dealing to the Rangers on TV. If you still don’t know what’s happening or haven’t been online today, feel free to click the link above and the link Neyer includes to the original post.
Everyone knows who Josh Hamilton is. His problems with drugs and alcohol have been present in MLB for my entire fandom, just about (or at least early on, as I became aware of him as a player for Texas), and his relapses, the Rangers organization’s attempt to keep him on track, and his move to the Angels (after denying a move to Seattle) are very well-known in baseball circles. The fact that he was also going back to the Rangers after a somewhat recent relapse became public knowledge not too long ago. I was happy about that, he seemed to thrive in Texas, and LA seemed an awkward fit. Hamilton has always just been a Ranger in my mind, probably because he has been one for pretty much his entire career.
The writer of a recent article on Halos Heaven, however, felt that Hamilton’s relapse and subsequent departure from his favorite team was worth a very short, very stinging few paragraphs of the most vitriol I have ever seen aimed at a person outside of political or religious discussions. Most of the focus and really terrible comments seemed pointed at a reported paragraph of speech Hamilton offered at a recent news conference. I lied about the links or research, here’s the quote:
“They just didn’t want that to happen for some reason. It doesn’t hurt my feelings or make me mad, but I prepared. [Moreno] knew what the deal was when he signed me. Hands down, he knew what he was getting. He knew what the risks were. He knew all those things. Under the [joint drug agreement], it is what it is.”
And the (now former) Halos Heaven author was mad. Really mad. And insulting. And lacking in empathy.
But you know what? I get it.
This is not to say that I condone a paid writer’s diatribe on what has become a fairly successful writer’s site using some ridiculously insensitive language, and not behaving with a single ounce of professional decorum. I don’t. This guy had a job to do, and he did it poorly, and he paid the price for that by losing his position there.
But I have lived with addiction. I have lost an ex-boyfriend to heroin a few years ago, and just last year lost a good friend to alcohol abuse. I have seen what it can do, and as a person having to watch it from the sidelines and being very directly affected by it, it is extremely frustrating. Caring about a person and watching them slowly, methodically, and purposely destroy themselves and everything around them is crazymaking. You get angry. Really angry. Because there is nothing you can do to stop it. You cannot reason with an addict. You can’t talk them out of using their substance of choice once they have decided to use it. You can’t put your relationship with them on the line, you can’t point out the harm they are doing to themselves; there is no amount of sane reasoning you as a non-addict can use to sway them from the way addiction makes them behave. It’s absolutely infuriating. You can try empathy, you can try anger, you can try threats, you can be as caring as humanly possible, but ultimately, addiction always wins until the addict doesn’t want it to; but that’s not a choice anyone except the addict can make. It’s clearly not a choice Josh Hamilton has been able to make.
So yeah, I get the anger. I really do. But there are far better ways to handle it, and unfortunately, this particular author didn’t make his own choice to use better judgement. I sometimes forget that I have the luxury of saying whatever the hell I want to here; I answer to nobody. I pay for my own space here, and I could say whatever I like. I simply choose to try and write as politely as possible, because I realize that no matter how annoyed or angry I might be at a player or at my team, they’re still people. They have lives and loves and battles of their own. And so does Josh Hamilton. I understand the author’s anger, but Hamilton doesn’t need anger. He needs help; and I hope he is able to find some comfort and space in his old organization as he returns. Just because someone is an addict does not make them any less worthy of being treated like a human being.
So those are my thoughts on the subject.
Good luck, Josh. But tonight, I am hoping Happ and the Mariners beat your home team.