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Matt700wlw
05-08-2008, 03:12 PM
Why must some fans greet a feel-good story with hatred?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Jeff Pearlman
Special to Page 2

When there is nothing better to do with their time -- when the keg of Piels has been floated, the last Camel has been snuffed and the "Girls Gone Wild: Girls on Girls" DVD has been played to exhaustion -- the dolts of this country turn to a new hobby: Mocking the recovering drug addict.


In other words, here is what Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton, a 26-year-old saint of a man, will hear, oh, 1,000 times this season:


"Hey, crackhead!"


"Where's your crack pipe, crackhead?"


"Joshie, I've got some blow!"


"Snort that line! Snort that line! Snort that line!"


They screamed it in Detroit and Boston. They will, as sure as the summer's soft breeze, scream it in New York and Oakland, Chicago and Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Anaheim.


Last season, as a rookie with the Cincinnati Reds, Hamilton was baseball's feel-good story of the year -- the once-upon-a-time, can't-miss kid who missed, became a given-for-dead drug addict, rebounded and somehow managed to make the team out of spring training as a Rule 5 pickup, then hit 19 home runs. He was happy and upbeat, the kind of person one roots for simply because, at the heart of it all, we're human beings.


Now, a year later, the situation has changed. The American League leader in RBIs (and tied for third in home runs), Hamilton has emerged as a blooming superstar. In Texas, where the putrid Rangers have one of the worst records in the AL, he is, quite literally, the only player worth seeing. Hamilton can do it all -- hit for power, hit for average, run (though not as well as he used to), throw, track down fly balls in the alley. He plays hard, and he plays passionately.


"Josh is everything you want in a ballplayer," Jon Daniels, the team's general manager, told me this spring. "A complete package of talent."


Yet with this new status comes new venom. "I can take whatever they throw at me," Hamilton recently said. "When I'm on the field, my focus is 100 percent on the game."


Whether one buys Hamilton's impenetrability (I don't) doesn't make the harassment any less troubling. Throughout the game's 100-plus year history, there has been a well-established line that, though violated thousands of time, shouldn't be crossed. Ballplayers can be booed. Ballplayers can be slammed.


Ballplayers can be bombarded with venom for laziness, for indifference, for ignoring the fans, for heartless play.


They shouldn't be, however, for addiction. No way.


Two weeks ago, against every good-judgment impulse in my body, I had the sincere misfortune of making a guest appearance on Maxim Radio's Stretch Show. Though I was told beforehand that the host, Stretch, wanted to discuss Hamilton's amazing comeback, I should have known better.


(According to his MySpace page, Stretch's favorite movies are "anything that blows up s--- and leaves lots of people dead.") After asking a few obligatory questions, Stretch took a phone call from a fan in Detroit, who raved about how fun it was to mock Hamilton with chants of "Crackhead!" from his center-field seat. When I argued that the caller was a heartless moron, Stretch went off, jovially insisting that Hamilton -- or, for that matter, any professional athlete with a substance-abuse problem -- deserves all the abuse a fan can muster. Easily said when you sit inside a radio studio, recognizable to, well, absolutely no one.


Stretch refused to move on, so I did so myself -- taking off my headphones, standing up and, literally, moving on from the radio station.


As the son of a substance-abuse counselor, I had little interest in partaking in the belittlement of Hamilton's amazing recovery. (In the classic modus operandi of bullies near and far, Stretch failed to return a call for this column.) If angry fans and shock jocks think it's funny -- appropriate, no less -- to belittle a drug addict in the process of overcoming his demons, well, where are we in this world?


Do we watch sports for the joy of the game?


Or do we watch sports for the joy of humiliation? For the joy of hate?
__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________



Stay strong, Josh.

lollipopcurve
05-08-2008, 04:18 PM
good article -- thanks

StillFunkyB
05-08-2008, 04:25 PM
I tell you one thing, if I was sitting next to someone at a game that started that crap I probably wouldn't be sitting there for long.

Unassisted
05-08-2008, 04:28 PM
That article's just an illustration of the kind of pressure that folks here were worrying about Josh being under last year. Those addiction-related chants may be a low blow, but it's the kind of trash talk that loudmouth fans will resort to now that Josh's offensive contribution has the potential to cause his team to beat their team. I'm not appalled or even surprised by it.

Chip R
05-08-2008, 04:31 PM
That article's just an illustration of the kind of pressure that folks here were worrying about Josh being under last year. Those addiction-related chants may be a low blow, but it's the kind of trash talk that loudmouth fans will resort to now that Josh's offensive contribution has the potential to cause his team to beat their team. I'm not appalled or even surprised by it.


Nope. I'm sure he went through the same thing last year. He's probably always going to have to go through it.

Reds1
05-08-2008, 04:31 PM
Imagine, right now that trade was one of the best pitchers in the league for one of the best hitters. You don't see that very often.

Highlifeman21
05-08-2008, 04:45 PM
I'm ready for the onslaught...

Josh "chose" to become a drug addict. Somewhere along the way drugs were introduced to his system (either by him, or by someone else) and he became addicted. Now that he's a recovering drug addict, we should treat him differently? I applaud immensely that he's a recovering drug addict, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a drug addict at some point.

He chose how people will treat him now.

VR
05-08-2008, 04:50 PM
I've shared this before...but last year in Seattle Josh was the only Red signing autographs, talking to each kid who's ball he signed. In a crowd of about 20, waiting for my 11 year old to have his baseball signed by Josh, he was gracious, answering questions and thanking every single person for there well wishes. Batting practice was long over, teams had already gone to their clubhouses and started to return...and one of the Reds coaches had to come out and retrieve Josh because the game was close to starting.

There are a lot of low life losers in sports, and Josh Hamilton is not one of them. I don't think you'll ever hear him complaining about the heckling...the light has come on in his life and he's thrilled to be alive again. Idiot hecklers aren't going to tarnish that.

TRF
05-08-2008, 04:52 PM
Well you asked for it.

That crap should have died in the 50's after black players were allowed in the game. We should be more evolved now as a culture. Nobody would tolerate a racial slur, why is this any different? It just has no place. I 100% support the trade for baseball reasons and for the risk factor that a recovering addict faces. Recovering being the key word here. He'll be an addict until the day he dies, regardless of whether he uses again or not.

All that stated, rip him for his play, not his demons.

reds44
05-08-2008, 04:55 PM
Hamilton brought this on himself. Now what fans doing are by no means classy or right, but Josh has no one to blame but himself.

That being sad, Josh has faced much bigger obstacles in his life than some drunk fans.

RedsManRick
05-08-2008, 04:57 PM
I'm ready for the onslaught...

Josh "chose" to become a drug addict. Somewhere along the way drugs were introduced to his system (either by him, or by someone else) and he became addicted. Now that he's a recovering drug addict, we should treat him differently? I applaud immensely that he's a recovering drug addict, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a drug addict at some point.

He chose how people will treat him now.

That misses the point in my book. At what point did making bad decisions in your past, which Josh clearly did, entitle people to treat you like crap?

Those who use Josh's past as ammunition to get under his skin and attempt to either make him either feel bad about himself or make him play poorly have every legal right to do so.

However, to me, it merely highlights to me that they care more about the outcome of a play on the field than about the severity of a situation that nearly cost the guy his life. I find it ironic that in trying to put the guy down, the hecklers are the ones that come out looking lame.

SMcGavin
05-08-2008, 05:00 PM
Anyone who yells that kind of stuff at Hamilton is a joke, there's no way around it. The idea that fans have a "right" to do this kind of stuff is an odd one and I'm not really sure how it became the norm.

I do want to ask something else though regarding Hamilton. I have never quite understood his appeal as a "feel-good" story. Of course I rooted for him last year just like I root for all Reds players. Hamilton was born with world-class ability, and he came really close to throwing it all away. He kept getting chances to come back and eventually he got his life back together and seems to have become a stand-up guy, and I couldn't be happier for him.

My question is, why is Hamilton more of a feel-good story than Ken Griffey Jr or Jay Bruce? Those are two guys who also were blessed with the same world class ability that Hamilton was, except they never did anything stupid to mess it up. Yet you won't see Bruce labeled as a "feel-good" story. Of course I don't wish anything negative on Hamilton, but the fact that he almost threw his life away certainly doesn't make me like him more than someone who avoided those mistakes in the first place.

Rojo
05-08-2008, 05:07 PM
Hamilton brought this on himself. Now what fans doing are by no means classy or right, but Josh has no one to blame but himself.


Just sew a scarlett A on his chest and be done with it.

VR
05-08-2008, 05:08 PM
My question is, why is Hamilton more of a feel-good story than Ken Griffey Jr or Jay Bruce? Those are two guys who also were blessed with the same world class ability that Hamilton was, except they never did anything stupid to mess it up. Yet you won't see Bruce labeled as a "feel-good" story. Of course I don't wish anything negative on Hamilton, but the fact that he almost threw his life away certainly doesn't make me like him more than someone who avoided those mistakes in the first place.

Because most of us have dealt with exceptional failures in our lives and those around us. It gives hope to the average Joe to see someone in the gutter persevere and turn their life into something.

I don't think we need to 'compare' who gets or deserves credit or respect on a whole as society....I think it's up to each of us individually to decide who we hold in high regard.....and WHY. Then, we respect each other's opinion, knowing there isn't necessarily a right or wrong (you know, the Redszone way ;))

VR
05-08-2008, 05:11 PM
Just sew a scarlett A on his chest and be done with it.

you're saying trade him to the Angels? ;)
I'd rather sew a wishbone C on his chest.:)

TRF
05-08-2008, 05:17 PM
My question is, why is Hamilton more of a feel-good story than Ken Griffey Jr or Jay Bruce? Those are two guys who also were blessed with the same world class ability that Hamilton was, except they never did anything stupid to mess it up. Yet you won't see Bruce labeled as a "feel-good" story. Of course I don't wish anything negative on Hamilton, but the fact that he almost threw his life away certainly doesn't make me like him more than someone who avoided those mistakes in the first place.

What adversity has Bruce faced? Jr., sure, but before the injuries he was an All Century player, 10 time GG winner.

Hamilton was a promise on draft day that wasn't kept. His fall was well documented. The stories of his addiction trickled in, but it was his recovery that caught our attention. He showed up working on houses on "Flip this House." He did every test required of him. He has stepped to the forefront and has set himself up as a role model for recovering addicts. He's the Anti-Toe Nash, the Anti-Darryl Strawberry. For the most part people WANT to root for him. And he seems to genuinely enjoy the fans. At least so far.

SMcGavin
05-08-2008, 05:24 PM
What adversity has Bruce faced?

Bruce played in small minor league towns just like the ones where Hamilton got into drugs. Both were first round picks who surely had the money to get into trouble. Jay made better choices, avoided temptations, and that in my mind makes him the role model of the two.

I agree 100% that Hamilton is a great role model for recovering addicts. But most of the population is not made up of recovering addicts, so I don't understand Hamilton's mass appeal. I don't have a problem with Hamilton or anything, I just don't root for him any harder than I would any other former Red.

Rojo
05-08-2008, 05:36 PM
A lot of it comes down to whether you see addiction as an indulgence or an affliction. Having worked in dive bars, I see at as the latter.

Big Klu
05-08-2008, 05:50 PM
I tell you one thing, if I was sitting next to someone at a game that started that crap I probably wouldn't be sitting there for long.

I nearly got into a fight with an abusive Phillies fan (big surprise) in the club seats at GABP last year over this. He was screaming things that were inappropriate to post here, and were definitely inappropriate for the little kids sitting in our section to hear. I turned around and confronted him about it. He got belligerent, but I didn't back down. Evidently, some other fans in our section got tired of his abuse and got an usher, who informed him and his girlfriend that they would have to leave, and escorted him out.

WMR
05-08-2008, 05:51 PM
I'm ready for the onslaught...

Josh "chose" to become a drug addict. Somewhere along the way drugs were introduced to his system (either by him, or by someone else) and he became addicted. Now that he's a recovering drug addict, we should treat him differently? I applaud immensely that he's a recovering drug addict, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a drug addict at some point.

He chose how people will treat him now.




Hamilton brought this on himself. Now what fans doing are by no means classy or right, but Josh has no one to blame but himself.

That being sad, Josh has faced much bigger obstacles in his life than some drunk fans.

You clearly know nothing about addiction and very little about Josh Hamilton's story. Try living on your own at 18 as a millionaire professional ballplayer after you've been under your parent's supervision for your entire life and are literally still a kid and get back to me.

Ridiculous.

Yeah, I'm sure Josh CHOSE to become addicted to crack. Brilliant.

Highlifeman21
05-08-2008, 06:27 PM
You clearly know nothing about addiction and very little about Josh Hamilton's story. Try living on your own at 18 as a millionaire professional ballplayer after you've been under your parent's supervision for your entire life and are literally still a kid and get back to me.

Ridiculous.

Yeah, I'm sure Josh CHOSE to become addicted to crack. Brilliant.

Josh got out from under his parents' watch and lived it up. Included in that living it up was drugs. He did enough of them, and became addicted, and almost threw away one hell of a living. Now he's battled back. Great story, but I don't feel sorry for the guy b/c he's a recovering drug addict and fans heckle him b/c of that fact. I'd never heckle him for it, but that's not the point. It's not like he's being heckled as being a drug addict for no reason. He used to be a drug addict...

WMR
05-08-2008, 06:28 PM
He didn't stop being a drug addict. He'll always be a drug addict. He's a recovering drug addict.

Highlifeman21
05-08-2008, 06:41 PM
He didn't stop being a drug addict. He'll always be a drug addict. He's a recovering drug addict.

And I applaud the fact he's a recovering drug addict. I'm glad he's turned the corner.

But it doesn't change the fact that fans are heckling him with material about what he is...

It's not like they are calling him a guy who doesn't pay his taxes, or a guy who beats up puppies or something... they are calling a spade a spade.

Spring~Fields
05-08-2008, 06:42 PM
I wonder how many drunks vs. sober individuals are actually uttering these remarks to Hamilton? It might be an interesting study for sociology.

Patrick Bateman
05-08-2008, 06:53 PM
Look, Josh Hamilton made some horrendous decisions in his life. He wasn't the first and he wont be the last. What seperates him from other poor decision makers, is that he had to face a corrageous battle to get back to the top. It's one of the hardest things to do, and he beat it.

Why should anyone have the right to make such insulting comments? If Josh were a recovering addict sitting right next to the drunk fans, do you guys think they should be entitled to ream him out in that situation too? He made a mistake, a bad one. But why does that deserve to be ridiculed? Everyone makes mistakes at some point or another, his obviously more severe than mosts. But you live and you learn, and Josh deserves praise for making his life worth living again. It's unfortunate that people want to live in the past, and make Hamilton feel like less of a person because of his past actions. He's at a great place right now in his life, and deserves support, not ridicule.

jojo
05-08-2008, 06:54 PM
You clearly know nothing about addiction and very little about Josh Hamilton's story. Try living on your own at 18 as a millionaire professional ballplayer after you've been under your parent's supervision for your entire life and are literally still a kid and get back to me.

Ridiculous.

Yeah, I'm sure Josh CHOSE to become addicted to crack. Brilliant.

Josh chose to put a substance into his body which is known to be associated with a high risk of addiction.

He really doesn't get a pass on becoming then becoming an addict.

In my mind, it's just like a drunk driver. The "sin" isn't getting behind the wheel in that state because clearly such an individual's judgment is impaired. The "sin" is choosing to drinking to the point of becoming impaired in the first place.

That said, $22 for a ticket doesn't grant a person the right to be a jerk in public.

The Baumer
05-08-2008, 07:00 PM
Do the players have a "right" to look into the stands and call the fans adulterers, alcoholics, liars, absent fathers, drug addicts, murderers, theives, etc. etc. It's easy to tell the players to suck it up and that they deserve it when you're typing with the anonymity of a normal average person on a computer. I bet if they put you in a room with 15 people (let alone thousands) and they all started calling you a name based on a mistake or sin you've committed in the past, you would start to change your tune.

But I guess every argument does need a devil's advocate, huh?

redsfan4445
05-08-2008, 07:25 PM
Do the players have a "right" to look into the stands and call the fans adulterers, alcoholics, liars, absent fathers, drug addicts, murderers, theives, etc. etc. It's easy to tell the players to suck it up and that they deserve it when you're typing with the anonymity of a normal average person on a computer. I bet if they put you in a room with 15 people (let alone thousands) and they all started calling you a name based on a mistake or sin you've committed in the past, you would start to change your tune.

But I guess every argument does need a devil's advocate, huh?

AMEN BROTHER!!!

Caveat Emperor
05-08-2008, 09:04 PM
It's not like he's being heckled as being a drug addict for no reason. He used to be a drug addict...

Heckling someone for a drug addiction is almost akin to heckling someone for having lung cancer.

In both cases, there are things people do that bring the situation upon themselves. It doesn't make the result any less tragic or any more worthy of public scorn, however.

Highlifeman21
05-08-2008, 09:08 PM
Heckling someone for a drug addiction is almost akin to heckling someone for having lung cancer.

In both cases, there are things people do that bring the situation upon themselves. It doesn't make the result any less tragic or any more worthy of public scorn, however.

I'm not saying I think it's ok for people to heckle him for being a drug addict, nor would I ever heckle him for having a fondness for blow, but it's not like people are making up reasons for heckling him. Josh Hamilton gave people reasons to heckle them. If those people decide to do so, that's on them.

WMR
05-08-2008, 09:15 PM
Josh chose to put a substance into his body which is known to be associated with a high risk of addiction.

He really doesn't get a pass on becoming then becoming an addict.

In my mind, it's just like a drunk driver. The "sin" isn't getting behind the wheel in that state because clearly such an individual's judgment is impaired. The "sin" is choosing to drinking to the point of becoming impaired in the first place.

That said, $22 for a ticket doesn't grant a person the right to be a jerk in public.


He really doesn't get a pass on becoming then becoming an addict.

Huh?

You're comparing a drug addict to a drunk driver? That might be the worst analogy ever.

jojo
05-08-2008, 09:18 PM
Huh?

You're comparing a drug addict to a drunk driver? That might be the worst analogy ever.

It's a fine analogy.

WMR
05-08-2008, 09:19 PM
It's a fine analogy.

No it's not. A drug addict puts one person's life in danger, a drunk driver puts countless lives in danger. It's a horrible analogy.

Maybe if you were talking about a drug addict who liked to shoot up and then go driving on the interstate you'd be onto something.

A smoker who gets cancer would be a "decent" analogy.

jojo
05-08-2008, 09:20 PM
No it's not. A drug addict puts one person's life in danger, a drunk driver puts countless lives in danger. It's a horrible analogy.

Maybe if you were talking about a drug addict who liked to shoot up and then go driving on the interstate you'd be onto something.

A smoker who gets cancer would be a "decent" analogy.

You completely missed the point.

WMR
05-08-2008, 09:26 PM
You completely missed the point.

There is simply no comparison between drinking enough to blackout and then go for a drive and the insidious nature of crack addiction. There just isn't.

jojo
05-08-2008, 09:28 PM
There is simply no comparison between drinking enough to blackout and then go for a drive and the insidious nature of crack addiction. There just isn't.

It's all about the initial decision-----you're focusing on a comparison of the outcomes and hence, you're arguing against a point I wasn't making.

WMR
05-08-2008, 09:36 PM
Do you know why Josh began using opiates? He was in a car accident in 2001. He also very likely had a genetic predisposition towards addiction. I don't know of any hospitals that prescribe recovering patients screwdrivers.

VR
05-08-2008, 09:36 PM
A smoker who gets cancer would be a "decent" analogy.

Are you saying I should stop heckling the guy at my work w/ lung cancer? :pimp:

WMR
05-08-2008, 09:37 PM
Are you saying I should stop heckling the guy at my work w/ lung cancer? :pimp:

Does he have cancer yet? ;)

I'm all for heckling active smokers as well as drug addicts. You might just save their life. ;)

jojo
05-08-2008, 09:48 PM
Do you know why Josh began using opiates? He was in a car accident in 2001. He also very likely had a genetic predisposition towards addiction. I don't know of any hospitals that prescribe recovering patients screwdrivers.

Josh began using cocaine in a strip joint while out with his "buddies" from a local tatoo joint.... from the mouth of Josh to the ears of babes.


"It didn't have anything to do with my parents or anybody else. It was my decision."

WMR
05-08-2008, 10:05 PM
Hamilton was injured in a car accident the following offseason. His parents were not hurt in the crash, and returned to North Carolina; Hamilton remained in Bradenton, Florida, for rehabilitation. He played in only 27 games in the 2001 season.

Hamilton began the 2002 season with the Bakersfield Blaze, batting .303 with 9 HR and 44 RBI in 56 games before his season came to an end due to lingering back and shoulder injuries. He was suspended for violating MLB's substance abuse policy on July 15, 2002.

---------------------------------------

He wasn't using when his parents were still with him. I'm sure Josh believes it was his decision, and on some level it certainly was, it just wouldn't surprise me in the least if the drugs he was prescribed after his car accident got him started on the slippery slope that led to his descent into the abyss.

redsrule2500
05-08-2008, 10:10 PM
People aren't nice all the time. He did drugs, so honestly he has to live with that. Sure, it sucks when people are mean, but what about all the people yelling steroids!! at barry bonds and mcgwire or drunk comments to Freel?!

It's the same thing.

He's on pace to be a multimillionaire very soon. He will be fine, lol.

jojo
05-08-2008, 10:11 PM
Hamilton was injured in a car accident the following offseason. His parents were not hurt in the crash, and returned to North Carolina; Hamilton remained in Bradenton, Florida, for rehabilitation. He played in only 27 games in the 2001 season.

Hamilton began the 2002 season with the Bakersfield Blaze, batting .303 with 9 HR and 44 RBI in 56 games before his season came to an end due to lingering back and shoulder injuries. He was suspended for violating MLB's substance abuse policy on July 15, 2002.

---------------------------------------

He wasn't using when his parents were still with him. I'm sure Josh believes it was his decision, and on some level it certainly was, it just wouldn't surprise me in the least if the drugs he was prescribed after his car accident got him started on the slippery slope that led to his descent into the abyss.

I suppose he could be genetically predisposed but he never talks about addiction within his family. He talks a lot about having too much time on his hands while on the DL though and how he spent all of that extra time making friends in the tattoo parlor and how it was through those friends that he began using drugs.

In any event, it is what it is.

Matt700wlw
05-08-2008, 10:27 PM
http://www.rockstarhq.com/patches/images/meansuck.jpg

TeamBoone
05-08-2008, 11:45 PM
I'm ready for the onslaught...

Josh "chose" to become a drug addict. Somewhere along the way drugs were introduced to his system (either by him, or by someone else) and he became addicted. Now that he's a recovering drug addict, we should treat him differently? I applaud immensely that he's a recovering drug addict, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a drug addict at some point.

He chose how people will treat him now.

He also "chose" to get clean.

TeamBoone
05-08-2008, 11:51 PM
And I applaud the fact he's a recovering drug addict. I'm glad he's turned the corner.

But it doesn't change the fact that fans are heckling him with material about what he is...

It's not like they are calling him a guy who doesn't pay his taxes, or a guy who beats up puppies or something... they are calling a spade a spade.

He is a recovering drug addict... why don't they shout that down on him? Hey! Recovering drug addict... we're proud of you.

Wow. Some of you guys are really cold. I hope none of you work in a rehabilitation center.

Chip R
05-09-2008, 12:49 AM
I don't want this to come out wrong so I'm going to preface it with something I remembered from an episode of M*A*S*H. Hawkeye just turned in a kid who lied about his age to get into the army. Hawkeye didn't want to see another kid get wounded/killed. The kid was really mad at Hawkeye and told him that he hated him. Hawkeye said something to the effect that he hoped it was a long, healthy hate. So, in that vein, I hope Josh endures this abuse for a long, successful career.

WMR
05-09-2008, 12:56 AM
Nice post, Chip.

mbgrayson
05-09-2008, 12:59 AM
Those fans are heckling Josh Hamilton for what he used to do when they yell things like "do some coke" or "are you stoned". Those comments are not true of his present situiation, as far as we know.

I am none too fond of hecklers at ballgames in general, but I suppose that getting on players for a bad play is to be expected. But screaming personal remarks to players is too much....

Do you want to be sitting with a child in front of a guy that hollers "hey ballplayer, how is your divorce going!" or "hey ballplayer your're a drunk!".... These comments might also have some truth in them. That doesn't make them o.k.

To the degree we want our ballparks to be a place where families go, where parents take their children to relax and watch a ballgame, it seems to me to de-value the product if people are allowed to yell personal insults at the performers. Do we tolerate that at plays? At concerts? When people act like this, I am all in favor of them being shown to the gate. Their behavior may or may not offend the ball player they are heckling, but it certainly hurts the experience of many other fans around them trying to watch the game.

WVRedsFan
05-09-2008, 01:29 AM
You know, it wasn't so long ago that everyone was praising this guy for what he was doing on the field. And now this. I cannot believe what I am reading. He leaves the Reds and all of a sudden he's...well you get the point.

An anology I can remember was when so many in our little community were so narrow minded that it got my father's ire. Dad was a musician--a singer who was sort of like Mr. Tanner in Harry Chapin's song of the same title. He loved the great singers and had a fondness for Francis Albert Sinatra, as many did. He was also a Baptist deacon and the others would tell him how it was sinful to admire a mobster like Frank. He always came back with he didn't know anything about his personal life but he was the greatest singer of his time. That's how I feel about Josh Hamilton. It's really none of my business what he does or more especially what he did when he wasn't entertaining me on the baseball field. That's all that should matter to me. It's a bonus that he is doing well and seems to be on the right track.

There are so many times I look at what our centerfield has become and wondered how much difference Josh would have made this year. Volquez can only play once every five days (and he has been wonderful), but Josh would have been out there every game. But, that like the old saying "if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas." Wasn't to be. But I wish him well and would never heckle him, no more than I would Ryan Freel who has his own problems, likely forgotten by the fan base because he is still a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

SMcGavin
05-09-2008, 03:58 AM
He is a recovering drug addict... why don't they shout that down on him? Hey! Recovering drug addict... we're proud of you.

Wow. Some of you guys are really cold. I hope none of you work in a rehabilitation center.

From what I've read there is only one person on this thread who has not spoken out against the people heckling Hamilton from the stands. Thus the position many in this thread seem to be outraged against is largely a straw man.

A couple of others including myself have taken the position that Hamilton shouldn't be idolized due to his recovery. He made terrible decisions and got himself in a really bad position. Thankfully he recovered and now seems to be on the path to a productive life. We can't say it was 100% his own fault that he got into drugs, but certainly a large part of the burden lies on Hamilton's own shoulders. Had Josh Hamilton never gotten into drugs, and become a good MLB player three or four years ago, nobody would call him a feel-good story (just like nobody thinks Adam Dunn is a feel-good story). That's the problem - those who screw up but then bounce back to make up for it are labeled heroes, while those who do the right thing all along are just average joes.

medford
05-09-2008, 06:27 AM
I look at it this way, yes Josh brought this upon himself, and he seems to have a healthy attitude. However....

Lets say your Mother is a recoverring alcholic, and one year at Christmas your Uncle gets into an argument w/ her about something mundane. In the course of the arguement your Uncle starts to get irritated and starts telling your mother to just go get a drink, take a shot, you're nothing but an alcholic, etc....

You cool with that? You think you're Uncle is alright to bring this up, because afterall your Mother is a recovering alcholic?

My guess is no, you've seen the struggles your Mother has gone thru to kick the habit and you love her for the good natured, humble person that she is (or in Josh's case appears to be). Her prior affliction is well know to your entire family, and her recovery has been equally noted. She's turned the corner and is living the good life now, in control of her life, but still fighting the demons that I'm sure exists. But you're Uncle is an ******* who never amounted to anything and is essentially pissed off because your mother has turned her life around and made it, while he sits around "waiting for his ship to come in"

I look at the Hamilton case similarly. Josh knows there is nothing he can do about, knows its going to happen, and probably even uses it as motivation to keep living right. I'm guessing 90+% of the people yelling things at josh would never come close to saying the same thing if they were sitting across a table talking 1 on 1, but are currently in the role of drunk stupid fan. But that doesn't make it ok.

Josh Hamilton is not my hero, never will be, but I understand why he's a hero to the millions of people that have been caught up w/ coke, or crack, or meth or whatever drug you want to name. Josh has taken himself from the depths of hell to the top of his choosen profession. How many crack addicts do that in real life? How many crack addicts put down the drug and eventually get that CPA or teaching position or whatever life goal they once aspired to? Not many, and Josh is one of, if not the most, pubilically visiable example of this.

I've never met Josh, but at I at a game last year, sitting directly behind the dugout. Josh was standing at the top of the dugout watching the national anthem (I think the singer was related to him somehow), right before the anthem started a couple of kids came down and asked for his autograph. Josh told them, not right now, but in a couple of minutes. Once the national anthem was over, and he greated whomever sang it, Josh turned around, look directly at the kids and told them to throw him their ball to be signed. How many other professional athelets would have even remember 5 minutes after the fact? Just shows me that Josh is a pretty good dude, which I why I root for him more so than because he's overcome his addictions.

StillFunkyB
05-09-2008, 06:32 AM
From what I've read there is only one person on this thread who has not spoken out against the people heckling Hamilton from the stands. Thus the position many in this thread seem to be outraged against is largely a straw man.

A couple of others including myself have taken the position that Hamilton shouldn't be idolized due to his recovery. He made terrible decisions and got himself in a really bad position. Thankfully he recovered and now seems to be on the path to a productive life. We can't say it was 100% his own fault that he got into drugs, but certainly a large part of the burden lies on Hamilton's own shoulders. Had Josh Hamilton never gotten into drugs, and become a good MLB player three or four years ago, nobody would call him a feel-good story (just like nobody thinks Adam Dunn is a feel-good story). That's the problem - those who screw up but then bounce back to make up for it are labeled heroes, while those who do the right thing all along are just average joes.

Maybe not idolized by you, but I am sure there are a few people out there with the struggle that look at Josh Hamilton and see hope.

There is absolutely no reason to PERSONALLY ATTACK a player at a ball game.

klw
05-09-2008, 07:06 AM
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE0DF1639F931A25756C0A9679582 60


BASEBALL; Belle Hits Fan With a Ball
Published: May 12, 1991
Indians outfielder Albert Belle threw a baseball at a heckler in the left-field stands at Cleveland Stadium today, hitting the man in the chest.

The fan, Jeff Pillar, 33 years old, of Cleveland, told the umpiring crew he had been kidding Belle about throwing a keg party. Belle, who spent 10 weeks in an alcohol-rehabilitation program last summer, picked up a foul ball hit by California's Ron Tingley in the seventh inning, turned and heaved it hard at Pillar from a distance of about 15 feet.

Pillar had a welt where the ball hit him. He was examined at the ball park's first-aid station but apparently wasn't seriously hurt.

"I don't have to answer," Belle said when asked about the incident. The Indians issued an apology on Belle's behalf.

"I apologize for my actions this afternoon," said the statement, read by an Indian spokesman, Bob DiBiasio. "I know they are unacceptable."

"If any of us had seen him throw the ball, we'd have had to eject him," Umpire Dale Ford said. Cincinnati relief pitcher Rob Dibble was suspended for four games by the National League for throwing a ball into the stands and unintentionally striking a woman with it April 28. He is appealing the suspension.

Ford said the umpires would report Belle's actions to the American League office. The Indians said they would take disciplinary action.

RFS62
05-09-2008, 07:23 AM
My question is, why is Hamilton more of a feel-good story than Ken Griffey Jr or Jay Bruce? Those are two guys who also were blessed with the same world class ability that Hamilton was, except they never did anything stupid to mess it up. Yet you won't see Bruce labeled as a "feel-good" story. Of course I don't wish anything negative on Hamilton, but the fact that he almost threw his life away certainly doesn't make me like him more than someone who avoided those mistakes in the first place.



Hamilton is the "Prodigal Son".

The hecklers are unbelievable idiots.

jojo
05-09-2008, 07:29 AM
There is plenty in Hamilton's career to razz him about..... plenty if you're creative.

When he makes a great catch..... "nice catch...riverdog!!!!!!"

When he fails to make a catch......"nice catch....riverdog!!!!"

Razzing him about poor character choices he made and his road to recovery simply demonstrates, the heckler's poor character. It's distasteful, boorish and offensive.

KittyDuran
05-09-2008, 08:22 AM
I don't want this to come out wrong so I'm going to preface it with something I remembered from an episode of M*A*S*H. Hawkeye just turned in a kid who lied about his age to get into the army. Hawkeye didn't want to see another kid get wounded/killed. The kid was really mad at Hawkeye and told him that he hated him. Hawkeye said something to the effect that he hoped it was a long, healthy hate. So, in that vein, I hope Josh endures this abuse for a long, successful career.That "kid" was Ron Howard IIRC...

Roy Tucker
05-09-2008, 08:43 AM
I think Hamilton made bad life decisions early on that he paid dearly for. Lots of people have done things like that (:wave:)

I think its an admirable thing that he has dealt with his addiction directly and gotten his life back on track.

Is he a good role model? For recovering addicts, certainly. For the general public, no. At least in my opinion. If I talk to my kids about drugs, I'll use him as an example of how drugs can destroy a very promising life.

And I think heckling ballplayers on life issues like this is wrong. Heckle them all you want on how they play, the length of their socks, dorky haircut, whatever. But addiction and recovery issues like this are life-and-death issues and need to be treated that way.

OldXOhio
05-09-2008, 08:53 AM
I'm not saying I think it's ok for people to heckle him for being a drug addict.....but it's not like people are making up reasons for heckling him. Josh Hamilton gave people reasons to heckle them.

You're contradicting yourself here. Is it not ok for people to heckle the recovering drug addict or is it ok b/c Josh gave them a legitimate reason?

I understand you're not defending the a$$hats in the crowd that choose to do this, but that said, I don't get where you're trying to go w/ this "Josh brought it on himself" stance? We get that, but then again, how does that legitimize someone else's decision to be offensive?

Chip R
05-09-2008, 08:58 AM
That "kid" was Ron Howard IIRC...


I do believe you're right.

NJReds
05-09-2008, 10:01 AM
I don't get where buying a ticket to an event is a free pass to act like a jerk (which is too polite of a term). Cheer, boo, have a good time. Personal insults are over the line. You shouldn't say anything to an athlete on the field that you wouldn't say to them face to face in the street.

SMcGavin
05-09-2008, 11:32 AM
There is absolutely no reason to PERSONALLY ATTACK a player at a ball game.

I completely agree, the people who heckle Hamilton are morons. I've said that since the beginning.

flyer85
05-09-2008, 12:04 PM
unfortunately what is happening comes with the territory of being a professional athlete. It doesn't make it right it just means it is something Josh has to deal with.

Chip R
05-09-2008, 12:11 PM
unfortunately what is happening comes with the territory of being a professional athlete. It doesn't make it right it just means it is something Josh has to deal with.


Yep. Josh gets a lot of attention for being a recovering crack addict and some people have a problem with that. I understand why but since he's a high profile person, he's going to get more attention than former crack addict Joe Schmoe who's an accountant but he's dealing with the same demons Josh is. Both should be lauded and held up as examples to people who are addicts or recovering addicts. Unfortunately only Josh gets the publicity.

coachw513
05-09-2008, 01:09 PM
I'm always saddened by the lack of love and grace we all are quickened to possess from time to time (me too, not taking shots)...

If Josh Hamilton was busy saying "this is all wrong how people are picking on me", I'd undestand a bit of the "you broke it, you pay for it" mantra...I personally don't agree that personal attacks are acceptable under any condition, at any time...

I know we expect our athletes to be like the gladiators of the Roman Empire, performing for our amusement and entertainment but I often shudder at the audacity of our paying audience that somehow perceives a right, almost a nobility at verbally assaulting men and women that are performing their craft...these fans clearly are taking out their life struggles and as the river flows downhill are finding the most convenient, easy target possible for their abuse...

And that's what it is, abuse...no ifs, ands or buts...it is signifying of personal weakness, insecurity and fear...and IMHO it is absolutely morally reprehensible...and yet, many believe that the price of the ticket gives them that privilege...

Okay...deep breath...Josh will deal with this every day of his career and provided he keeps the main thing the main thing, it will be the absolute least of his worries...may his faith and his personal strength be the conqueror of his demons every day...may he become the best player in the AL for a decade...

And may we continue to believe (or at least for me to believe) that it was absolutely the right move to deal for Volquez and to enjoy the beauty of a 24-year old ace-in-the-making for the next decade...

Highlifeman21
05-09-2008, 04:47 PM
He also "chose" to get clean.

And I'm impressed and happy he chose to get clean. Not every junky makes that choice.

Highlifeman21
05-09-2008, 04:58 PM
You're contradicting yourself here. Is it not ok for people to heckle the recovering drug addict or is it ok b/c Josh gave them a legitimate reason?

I understand you're not defending the a$$hats in the crowd that choose to do this, but that said, I don't get where you're trying to go w/ this "Josh brought it on himself" stance? We get that, but then again, how does that legitimize someone else's decision to be offensive?

People are going to heckle. Josh can't get upset for them heckling him with drug related material b/c he's a recovering drug addict. He could get upset with them if they heckled him using material that had nothing to do with him or his background/history/past. I would never heckle Josh, or anyone similar to Josh, about being a recovering drug addict, but had I gotten the chance to heckle Steve Howe, I'm sure I would have made references to him snorting foul lines b/c he was a drug addict while playing baseball and got suspended a couple times b/c of cocaine. Maybe there's a double standard in there and I can't grasp the concept, but I see heckling Steve Howe about blow as completely different than heckling Josh Hamilton about blow.

Bottomline, Josh shouldn't get mad at fans for heckling him about blow b/c he gave them legitimate reasons for heckling him. If the fans choose to do so, that's on them.

RedlegJake
05-09-2008, 04:59 PM
I've read this thread before.

Only I think it was called "The prodigal son"

blumj
05-09-2008, 05:44 PM
Just out of curiosity, but, if Josh Hamilton had never played for the Reds, and was currently playing for one of the Reds rival teams, do you think there'd be some Reds fans who heckled him the same way when his team played in their ballpark? Or, does that sort of thing not really happen there?

Matt700wlw
05-09-2008, 05:51 PM
There would be. There may have been anyway.

Reds fan's used to heckle Junior all the time...there's probably still some that do.

paintmered
05-09-2008, 08:58 PM
Hamilton is the "Prodigal Son".

The hecklers are unbelievable idiots.

Word.

I hope Josh uses the heckling as a reminder to where he's been, and uses it as incentive to never go back.

GAC
05-09-2008, 08:59 PM
I'm ready for the onslaught...

Josh "chose" to become a drug addict. Somewhere along the way drugs were introduced to his system (either by him, or by someone else) and he became addicted. Now that he's a recovering drug addict, we should treat him differently? I applaud immensely that he's a recovering drug addict, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a drug addict at some point.

He chose how people will treat him now.

That last statement, IMO, is simply ridiculous. Maybe I'm misconstruing what you're saying; but are you saying he basically deserves the treatment (abuse) he is getting from fans because he was a drug addict? They are calling him a crackhead (present tense) when he is not. He was, but not any more.

Yes.... life is about choices. And with choices also come good and bad decisions. Everyone makes mistakes in their lives. Especially when you're young and immature.

But what you're suggesting is that mistakes made in the past, and which someone is trying to recover from, is doing all the right things to not only get their lives in order and become productive members of society, are never past. And people are somehow justified (because that person deserves it - they made the choice) in then labeling, reviling, and hurling insults to continually remind them of it.

I'm sorry... no one deserves that when positive steps and efforts are being made to right themselves. No one likes being constantly reminded, and have it thrown in their face, the missteps they've made in their lives.

Josh Hamilton, and any like him, should be lauded and held up as an example that people can recover and overcome. Not constantly reminded by a bunch of immature pinhead fans who are probably on their 10th beer!

There is hypocrisy involved here somewhere.

Thank God people don't treat me NOW by some of the mistakes I made THEN.

I don't see Josh Hamilton as a "recovering drug addict". It's like putting a permanent label on someone that they can't (or shouldn't ever) be able to escape out from under.

We're all addicts in some form or fashion. I guess we need more labels in our society in order to properly and correctly identify ourselves as to who we all really are. ;)

Blitz Dorsey
05-09-2008, 09:34 PM
Was Hamilton really a crackhead? Not just really liked the blow and some party drugs like E. But crack, really?

Damn, crack. I know that has always been the story. But seriously, crack? Crack?

Chris Rock: "What 'bout the positive sides of crack!"