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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Phenom


He's 25 years old with 5 tool potential. Hitting over .500 for the Cincinnati Reds this spring and trying to win the 4th OF job. A married father of 2 daughters and a build meant to play the game of baseball. With a classic swing that reminds you of Will Clark in his prime, this former first pick overall in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Ray's name is Josh Hamilton. Oh yeah, he's also a drug addict.


I've sort of kept up with him since he came on the scene since he was born and raised around Raleigh, NC, about an hour from where I live. When he signed with the D-Rays, he got a $3.96 million dollar bonus, of which he has $85,000 left in the bank. The drug dealers got the rest.


His wife, Katie, left him in May 2005 because after being sober for 8 months, he decided to get plastered on his birthday. Not a wise decision, as he ended the night being arrested by the Cary, NC police department. According to Hamilton, when he drank, it eventually would always lead to drugs, with his first choice being crack. Before finally getting help, he was smoking crack like someone would smoke cigarettes: lighting one right off another.


When he hit rock bottom, he sought rehab and redemption: the redemption came in the form of a man named Ron Silver. Silver owns a baseball academy in Clearwater, FL, where Hamilton went to dry out. Silver welcomed him with open arms, with one caveat. Rent ain't free: Hamilton would need to work in order to stay. So the former multi-million dollar bonus baby mowed the grass, cleaned the john, and chalked the basepaths in order to hit off the tee, shag fly's, and run wind sprints. Apparently, it took. He rejoined the Devil Rays late last year, and in the last Rule V draft, the Reds took a chance on the former can't miss prospect.


Katie, seeing the real change, has since taken him back. He lives the life of an addict, day to day, but then again, don't we all. Baseball is his last refuge, and I just hope the game does not take him in just to spit him back out.



I was reminded of his story today, when I watched the Red Sox play the Reds. You could not draw up a ball player and it not come out looking like Josh Hamilton. Fluid, athletic, graceful, and confident: he has it all. It's like God struck his arm with a lightning bolt and said "Play ball kid: it was what you were born to do."



So far, it seems to be paying off: Hamilton has been the teams best hitter for all of Spring Training, manger Jerry Narron seems to love him, and hopefully he'll be the local boy who made good. I hope he can make it. I can't imagine living your life holding onto the edge with just your fingernails. I look at my 3 children, and I pray that they make the right decisions in life. I pray they never have to go through what this young man has went, and is still going through. While part of me hopes he is the rookie of the year, part of me is scared to death he makes it. How will he react with all the money and all the free time afforded to a Major League ball player?


Only God knows. I just know this: for the 2007 season, my main priority will be hoping the Boston Red Sox win it all again. A close second will be hoping the Carolina boy can pull it off.



Good luck Josh.



And God Bless.

30 comments:

Tex said...

It's so fortunate to be given an opportunity at a great life career as baseball....to be given a 2nd chance at it after blowing it is not lucky, it is a god send to Josh. I hadn't heard his story Ted and glad you put it out there.

Working in the criminal justice field, I've seen people have it all...just to make the wrong choices that lead them down a path they can't return from.

Addiction is hard...I've seen it up close...it can destroy families, relationships and the person themselves. I hope Josh can leave it behind but remember what it took.

and I like his name...Josh

Ted D said...

Tex, thought everyone would be long gone and in be by now. I gotta tell you, I really appreciate you being so faithful to stop by here every day. It means a lot. I hope the kid can make it, I really do. He's got a second chance, and I really hope he does not screw it up.

And I'm glad you are finally feeling better: you are much more fun to pick on when I know you are not sick! ;)

Tex said...

Ted
I understand about 2nd chances too well...story just hit very close to home.

and Ted I have to stop by each day of my protege's blog :)

Ted D said...

Well yeah Tex. You gotta check in to see if the student is doing the teacher proud! I hope I am.

Hamilton really seems sincere: I hope he can make it. I'm tired of the coulda beens: I want to see one finally break through.

Kaylee said...

You never want to see someone get addicted in the firrst place but,at least we know there are some people out there that realize thay have made a bad choice and they want to fix it and seek help.
Great story.I loved watching him play today:)

Ted D said...

Hey Kaylee,

Does he not look like a prototypical ball player?

He is just fun to watch. I hope he makes it, I really do.

Christine E. said...

Hey Ted:

Wow--what a story--Thanks so much for sharing it. As someone who knows people who have struggled with addiction, I know how insidious it can be.

I, too, will be watching Josh, and sending tons of positive vibes his way...

Hope you are well...

Go Sox!

Tex said...

Ted I off to the store to pick up Rodney Atkins's cd. perhaps josh should abide by his song "When You're Going through Hell.."

Kaylee said...

Yes he does by looking aat him I wouldd never have known he was on drugs but,that unfortantely is the way it is sometimes:)

Ted D said...

Afternoon everyone: sorry for the late comments. Went to church this morning, and after getting home as I was getting Trot out of his seat, he turned into the kid from the exorcist and begins throws up everywhere, so we've been a little busy.

Hi Christine, and thanks for your comments. It's a heck of a story and I hope he can make it. Tex, I don't know the song, but it sounds like it would fit.

Kason Gabbard threw 3 stong innings and so far, so good for the pen. Corey and Tavarez looked solid. Yes I said Tavarez. :)

Also, the non starters are hitting the ball pretty well. 2-1 Sox in the top of the 6th.

Kaylee said...

Well I hope he feels better.I spent a good portion of last night doing that(i was up all night).AND have done it once today already after eating breakfast.I dont plan on eating for a while now.

scott h said...

Hello Teddy boy, whats up with Trot? You might check and see if he wiped out the Sunday School donut box! Did Tex say the guy who invented the Atkins diet has a cd out? Sounds country. Josh's story is a downer, another sure fire rookie that I invested a bunch of baseball card money on.I will send you a link on a good story I found on him prior to the fall. His parents sounded a little strange. Banked everything on him, followed him to minor league . Basically tried to hold his hand. I tried to call "Raisin Bran" and check on him but didn't get a answer. peace out

Ted D said...

Feel better Kaylee.

Scott, from the looks of the evidence, I'd say goldfish crackers, but I was not looking too close. I'll look for that link. His story has always kind of fascinated me.

I have not heard from Granola since yesterday either. He might be out back planting his crop he and the family plan to live on. Either that, or out lookint for one of those cars that run on corn oil and sheep droppings.

Kaylee said...

I am trying to just taking it eay today.Scott wiping out the donu box?That sounds like me:)

Kaylee said...

meant donut I cant spell today!

Tex said...

Scotty what planet do you live on??

Ted D said...

hey Tex: And I've wondered that for over 25 years! The man is certifiable, yet I usually laugh until I cry around him.

Kaylee said...

Hey tex I was starting to wonder the same thing I just didnt have the courage to ask him:)Scott you do give me some good laughs though,If that is a good thing!

Kaylee said...

You know being sick bites,I hate being stuck inside all day!

Stacy said...

That's an inspiring story, Ted. I hope he makes it. He's come a long way so far.

Scotty, that was not Trot in the donuts, it was Jared. When we got to "big church" he confessed he had 3 donut holes and 2 honey buns. His legs were kinds of doing a jig for a while, but then he calmed down.

Ted, I'm sorry Trotty is sick; hopefully it's the 24 hour, non-contagious sick. :)

You two leave poor Granola alone. He's too tired right now to fire back at you guys. Give him a few days and he'll be good to go.

scott h said...

First off Kaylee , have you been to the dentist? You type like you are on a three day novacain high! Tex I am from the "for those about to rock we salute you" planet. lets talk baseball ,I don't have the nestle crunch channel how did the home team do today. Been watch the madness!

Ted D said...

"Tex I am from the "for those about to rock we salute you" planet."

Somehow, that makes sense in describing you. Sox won 2-1, but only 2 starters, Youkilis and Lowell made the trip. Still, it was against the O's regulars for the most part.

Scotty, you, of all people, has no reason to talk about someone else's spelling! She's sick: cut her some slack!

Kaylee said...

Scott:One like ted said I am sick,two I do have a cast on my hand that I do everything with:)

NO i have not been to the dentist latey and no I am not on a novacain high.i dont get any breaks with you do I scott?

Tex said...

ted remind me not to post here if im drunk cos id hate to reprimanded for my spelling

Kaylee said...

one of these days I will shape up my spelling for you scott.Oh look I spelled everything right this time.that was probably only cause I proofread my comment.

Ted D said...

Tex and Kaylee, you gotta understand: the man has been this way the WHOLE time I've know him: just picking all the time. Trust me, if he did not pick, it means he does'nt like you! :)

Kaylee said...

Okay so wait ted since he picks on me I dot have to worry about him hating me?

Ted D said...

Pickings good, Kaylee. Picking is good.

Tex said...

Tedi you think Im worried about scott picking on me?? Im just worried he's the next Alien and one of those "things" is gonna pop outta his stomach

Ted D said...

Tex, you are a person after his own heart! He loves it when you give it back as much as he dishes it out. He has been like the older big brother I never had: I've learned a lot about being a man from Scott. Now, Scott, don't let that comment lead you to believe I won't bust your marbles every chance I get. You know me better.