Piling On Josh Hamilton

Wow, talk about piling on! His manager, that’s one thing. The team president, ok. But the barrage of media unloading on Josh Hamilton lately is something. It actually angers me.

Let’s keep things in context. Josh Hamilton is among the top five players in all of baseball with 28 home runs, and he’s tied for first with 83 RBIs. Yet he is drawing the wrath of many in the media and, apparently, many Rangers fans as well. Booing him at home? Come on.

I understand he’s seemed out of sorts lately, seemingly swinging listlessly without a thought. Please remember - he always looks that way! His approach to the game is so natural and carefree that it looks effortless, whether he connects or whiffs. Reminds me a lot of Ken Griffey Jr.

We’ve been hearing the recent rumbling of all the things that could be leading to Hamilton’s July swoon. Has he relapsed? Is he having trouble at home? Giving up tobacco? My answer is, who cares! It’s a slump, everyone has one! Is the guy allowed to have his mind wander a little in six months?

No doubt many are lining up to see Hamilton fail. That’s the way our culture is, especially in the TV age. A guy with that many tattoos must be trouble. He must be up to no good. They think it’s only a matter of time. I’m also convinced that many in the media bristle with his firm and outward reliance on God. Many of them hate that more than anything.

The point is that Josh Hamilton has gone things in life that make baseball seem nearly meaningless. I haven’t spoken to him since 1999, and I have no idea what tomorrow holds for any athlete. I do, however, admire his perspective, keeping baseball in its rightful place.

“I play games for a living,” he said today, noting that he hears the boos but won’t lose sleep over it.

Josh Hamilton says soon we will all have a better idea of what he is currently battling. The media and fans need to pipe down. He’s in a summer slump and will be fine in the fall, when it counts. After all, ever think that whatever he’s fighting through might just be bigger than a game?