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Thread: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

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    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    good article -- thanks
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Your killin' me Smalls! StillFunkyB's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.
    "And the fact that watching him pitch is like having someone poop on your soul." FCB on Gary Majewski

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.
    /r/reds

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    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.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.
    And This One Belongs to the REDS!!!

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.

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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

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    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.
    Suck it up cupcake.

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    Worst Behavior. reds44's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    Let's face it, you mis-hit the bun with the mustard squirter, no one will really care.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    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.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Member SMcGavin's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    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.

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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    Quote Originally Posted by reds44 View Post
    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.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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    Member VR's Avatar
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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    Quote Originally Posted by SMcGavin View Post
    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 )
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

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    Re: Josh Hamilton continues to deal with fans venom...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    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.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand


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