View Full Version : Paul Daugherty article on Josh Hamilton

05-09-2007, 07:54 AM
In today's Enquirer:

Grace For The Moment" isn’t the working title of Josh Hamilton’s autobiography, but it could be. "Grace" is s a small, leather-bound volume, pages gilded in gold leaf, filled with practical lessons for spiritual living. Hamilton keeps it in a cloth travel bag. “My man purse,” he says.

He opens it up and begins to read.

“May 7,” he says. “Do we ever compromise tonight, knowing we’ll confess tomorrow?” The story is about a man recently arrived in Las Vegas, asking a preacher the hours of his Sunday service. The preacher is impressed, until the visitor says he’s going to church to square his conscience ledger. “If I have half as much fun as I intend to, I’ll need church come Sunday,” the man explains.

“Grace teaches us to live in a wise and right way. God’s grace has released us from selfishness. Why return?”

Thus endeth the lesson. At least for the moment.

Normally, we in the media make one move when an athlete hits us with God references, and that’s for our coats. If you want to clear out a press conference, tell us God wanted you to win. Coming from jocks, Godspeak is self-absorbed at best – what makes you so chosen? – and insincere at worst. We avoid it like editors.

So why am I standing in front of Josh Hamilton’s locker at four in the afternoon, listening as he reads?

“I remember using (drugs) when there was a Bible in the room,” he says. “I covered it up.”

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Maybe that’s why. Or this:

When Hamilton inhabited drug hell, “I cursed (God) many times. (It was) my selfish, blaming nature. Why would He do this to me?”

It could be that Hamilton was “saved” when he was 18, before he slid into addiction. Or that he picked his Reds uniform number, 33, because that’s how long Jesus lived on earth.

This one feels different. This Hamilton story peels back the layers of writer cynicism, added like coats of skeptical paint over the years. Cynicism is a journalist’s best armor. It keeps him from looking stupid. Better to be hard-bitten than bitten.

Josh Hamilton has dreamed of being selected to the All Star Game. In the dream, he’s taking part in the Home Run Derby the day before. He sees himself being interviewed on the field, his words blasted over the PA, his face larger than life on the ballpark video screen.

“I talked about the Lord in front of all those thousands of people,” he explains.

Hamilton has done more interviews since March than the rest of the Reds combined. He feels blessed, and obligated, to share his joy. To let the rest of the world in on his Moment. That the moment has lasted five weeks and shows no signs of pause is further evidence of God’s will. This is how Hamilton sees it.

Can we get an Amen, Reds fans?

And really, does anyone have a better explanation? Guy doesn’t play four years. Guy has 87 at-bats above Class A. Guy comes into spring training a curiosity, leaves a spare part and five weeks later is the best story of the spring. In a sport that in recent years has encouraged cynicism, suspicion, greed and apathy, this story does seem, well, heaven sent. Doesn’t it?

The writer Anna Quindlen put it this way:

“All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”

Josh Hamilton is managing both, at an amazing rate.

He prefers live interviews, when no one can edit his spiritual side. He mentions his faith, but he doesn’t push it. It’s just an essential part of him. If you want to know him beyond the bleachers, you have to remove the sock of the skeptic and baptize a toe or two.

“It calms me down,” Hamilton says, “lets me know why I’m here. Not necessarily baseball, but here on earth in general. I’m His creation. I need to live in a good way.”

He prefers the seventh verse from the fourth chapter of the Book of James: “Humble yourself before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Hamilton isn’t working miracles. We don’t live in miraculous times. It’s easier to hit a curveball than fix a life. If you manage to do both, your duty is to share how. At least that’s how Hamilton sees it. I asked him what makes him happier: Playing well or inspiring people. I missed the point. The home runs are the plate from which he dishes the food of the spirit.

“It means a lot to me when people tell me my story has helped them in some way,” Hamilton says.

That’s why he’s reading from his book of Moments. And I am listening.

Nice to forget about the bullpen for a moment :rolleyes:

Clearly, Hamilton's sincerity and humility are totally noticeable by all...as mentioned, it's amazing how the typical media "faith-a-phobia" has not been existent here...people are not only letting Hamilton speak his heart, but are in many cases listening...

You always want to peek around the corner in a story like this, but this is one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to root for in my entire life as a sports fan... :thumbup:

Tom Servo
05-09-2007, 04:39 PM
Or that he picked his Reds uniform number, 33, because that’s how long Jesus lived on earth.

I figured he was just a big Rich Aurilia fan.

05-09-2007, 09:33 PM
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed that article.

05-09-2007, 10:28 PM
Nice to forget about the bullpen for a moment :rolleyes:

Thanks, you had to say it didn't yah.

Anyway - Good read... I hope we all get to see Hamilton's dreams come true.