Sunday, August 9, 2009


For those of you who watched or read about David Ortiz’s press conference to address his PED use in 2003, was it as pointless as initially expected?

If so, there was still a player speaking out about a transgression that the baseball loving public should have and did pay more attention to, it was Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.

Before anything else, let it be said that we tend to passively accept, if not somehow encourage, the fact that many in the public eye step out on a significant other. For those of us who actually believe in monotonous relationships and using whipped cream for desserts only, the revelation and subsequent admission of Hamilton’s relapse made the news all the more unsettling. Yet, that’s not the story and he has a family to answer to about this transgression. In his case, it seems as simple as “I was drunk, I wasn’t thinking”, but the rest of that story is a private matter.

Unsurprisingly, the incriminating photos surfaced on sports’ version of TMZ. Deadspin published the photos and without even going to the website, it’s hard to imagine that many of its readers did not revel in seeing them. Some other places that picked up the pictures – blogs, news sites, those incomprehensible site aggregates – found far more people who laughed at Hamilton’s expense, being that he is an addict whose story eclipsed the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

It’s very easy to lay into Hamilton and others like him; talented individuals who had a second chance to redeem themselves after nearly squandering their gifts for a million quick fixes. It’s even easier to throw stones because how prominent his religious faith has in his sobriety; especially in a country that is confused about how it wants the Big Three (politics, sex and religion) to play a public role for its athletes.

Beyond Hamilton’s personal battle and public disclosure, however, the greatest challenge is for us to remind ourselves that alcoholism and drug abuse are diseases that cannot be overcome by just sheer will, faith and complete abstinence (which is not always about sex, as you know). Temptation is just as strong, if not stronger, than those very chemicals that help create dependency. Recovery is ongoing and it takes something that only painful trials and tribulations (self-afflicted or forces beyond one's control) can create; resolve.

Whether you are a five-tool baseball player, stressed-out nurse or an unemployed CPA, the battle is all the same. For all the disappointment and ridicule there is out there, you can only hope that Hamilton, like many others, come out better for the experience.

Words from better scribes than this one:
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports
Gil Lebreton from the Star-Telegram
SB Nation's Lone Star Ball

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