Of baseball, family, honesty, and money

let’s get this straight right from the beginning.   i love me some josh hamilton.

for those of you living outside the great state,  you don’t get to see the highlights and live reporting of the best player in baseball day in and day out.   there are simply no words to adequately describe the physical greatness of his ball playing ability.

the fact that nobody was particularly surprised by his four-homerun,  18-total base game the other night just goes to show.   his performance placed him in perhaps the most elite club in all of baseball…a club that doesn’t include babe ruth,  hank aaron,  barry bonds,  griffey junior,  a-rod,  mickey mantle,  or ted williams,  just to name a few.

and aside from baseball,  his journey of sobriety and submission to christ…though an easy target for the media and cynics…is a story full of hope and grace that will be told and retold long after he goes home.   and one that inspires me personally.   i think he is the real deal.

so it’s with some uneasiness i choose to pick up a stone today.

the biggest story in the dallas sports scene these days is whether the rangers will take a risk and offer hamilton a long-term,  high-dollar contract sometime this season…the year his current contract with the team expires.   it’s a money issue.   it’s a potential promotional nightmare.   it could be a massive organizational risk if the club handcuffs themselves to 6-year,  $150 million contract…at least what he will command on the free agent market…and makes them unable to sign elvis,  nellie,  and matt harrison the next year.   and who knows what will follow after that?

and what if his body continues to break down?   what if his injury-prone legs keep failing more and more?   what if his substance demons come back?   what if…?   the business side of sports just sucks,  doesn’t it?

but that’s not my issue today.

in an interview with PTI yesterday,  josh was asked…for about the bizillioneth time…about the pursuit of the new contract and whether he would remain with the rangers.   there were two things he said that have stuck with me.   here’s my paraphrase:

“i’d love to be back with the rangers,  but we’ll just have to wait and see.   it’s all about taking care of my family.   i want to do what’s best for them and be able to provide for their future.”

i’m sorry,  but linking the word provision to the $150 million contract negotiation is insulting.   josh,  don’t spin this to try and get our sympathy or to justify saying goodbye to us because your poor kids needed you to make the tough decision.   come on.

just speak the truth.   it’s okay to say you wanted to go where there was more money or play for a better coach or a get a longer contract or live in better weather or have a chance to play for the yankees or you want to learn to surf  (yes,  he would look awesome in a padres uni!) or you want to live near your in-laws.

just don’t play the i’m-doing-this-for-the-kids…pull-at-your-heart-string card with me.   i’m not buying.   it’s disingenuous.   it smacks of elitism.   it shows a total disrespect for hard-working people who truly struggle to provide for their kids.   and who pay your salary.

i’m pretty sure whether you get the guarantee of a hefty $180 million…or a mere pedestrian$100 million, or so  (which would be an insult to your status as the greatest,  but still a number your kids could figure out how to get by with)… provision is not,  nor will it ever be,  the issue.

the second comment was this:

“i just want the lord’s will to be done in my life.   i want to go where god wants me to go.   i’m sure he’ll lead me to the right place.”

look.   i could go on and on about this one.   i’ve written about it numerous times.   really,  josh,  how are you going to know which team god wants you to sign with?   i presume,  at some point,  you’re going to look at all your options…pro and con each of the opportunities…consult your wife and closest counsel…check the standings,  rosters,  and guaranteed contracts of said players…fast for a week…talk to your pastor…and read the book of job…and hope for some inner peace.

and then you’re going to make the wisest and best informed decision you can.

i don’t doubt that god can and does lead us to decisions.   i just don’t think we’ll ever know for sure because there’s really no way to quantify that decision until after the fact.   and then what do we do?   look for success and assume that was where he wanted us to go?   look for struggle or failure and conclude we boo-booed on the interpretation?   consider the struggle as god’s design for pounding out our character?   what?

and the world watches as we do our god-speak and they walk away more confused.   and then they ask this question:

“do you really want us to believe that there is a god up there…or out there…orchestrating and negotiating the details of a mega-million contract for a baseball player,  when there appear to be whole lot more pressing things going on in the world that are worthy of his attention?”

i’m just saying maybe we would be a lot better off if josh…and others who are so privileged to play this great game and make an amazing salary doing it…would simply say:

“i’m going to sign with team that makes me the best offer and gives me the best opportunity to live the life i want to live.”

simple.   honest.   straightforward.   full of integrity.

rrrr….

…and yes.   josh has more homeruns than the entire padre’s roster combined.

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11 thoughts on “Of baseball, family, honesty, and money

  1. I wish he too would say the truth. I wish it wasn’t always about the money. Maybe he MIGHT remember the team that provided him with a person to keep him in check dealing with his off the field problems, or the team that provided ginger ale during celebrations so that he could participate instead of his having to leave because he didn’t want to be tempted. but… all those things get forgetten when someone lays out the money. To be honest, I think if he leaves Texas, he’ll fall back into his demon pit.. but that’s my opinion. This is not a reflection on how I feel about his journey with God, I’m sure his faith is very strong and his committment to God is very strong, but he too needs human face to face sometimes to keep him in line. Just sayin…… and I’ll leave that home run stat alone 🙂

  2. Hate to break it to you brotha but he is going to be Dodger Blue through and through this winter. Magic is going to want to make a splash and that splash will be Josh.

      1. ohhhhh Mike, that’s….. pushing it… if he became a yankee, I think I would have to quit baseball. Bad enough Texeira gave us this song and dance about how he wanted to go to Atlanta to be close to his wife’s family when it was just about how he was getting to the yanks…..

  3. Oh him being a Yankee would be MUCH better but I don’t see that happening. I may have to find a new church if that happens. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be welcome.

  4. Mike,

    I think Tom and Dave follow your blog. They used your Josh vs. Padre’s Team HR stat after Josh’s 2nd hr last night.

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