Josh Hamilton gets tested for drugs three times a week and he understands why.
From the New York Times: “I can have all the willpower I want to have and, knowing it’s not right, still end up doing it anyway,” he said in a news conference last month,
Hamilton is as honest as his one home run of the spring, against the Pirates, was long. He does not mind telling his story over and over, because he looks at each interview as his personal recovery meeting.
“You guys help hold me accountable for what I do,” he said, referring to members of the news media. “If I mess it up by going out and using again, I’d be the biggest hypocrite in the world.”
The No. 1 pick in the 1999 draft has a 4-year hole in his career where the cocaine took over and all his attemots at rehab failed. Now, for whatever reason, Hamilton seems to be doing his best work at fighting addiction and is a candidate for make the Cincinnati Reds. His story of failure and shame and hopelessness — and hoped-for recovery — has been frequently told by the media this spring.
It’s a powerful story and a sweet one. Hamilton was the guy driving home after playing against the Twins the weekend before last who stopped at Dairy Queen for a burger — in full uniform — and felt like a high school kid playing Legion ball. There’s no guarantee that Hamilton will make it to the majors. Spring training is filled with heroes who wilt when the stadiums start having second decks. And there’s no guarantee, despite all of those watching over him, that he won’t have still another relapse.
Yet the way Hamilton is approaching his personal stuff makes you want to root for him to be successful at the baseball stuff.
Here’s a link to an espn.com column by Jayson Stark about Hamilton. Enjoy.