Josh Hamilton Has Alcohol-Related Relapse

The Texas Rangers MVP was contrite and apologetic in a press conference Friday, although he did not take questions. Jon Daniels is expected to hold a conference call later in the day to discuss the organization's position.

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7 Total Updates since February 3, 2012
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Josh Hamilton On Possible Contract Extension: 'It's On The Backburner'

At the end of his press conference Friday, Texas Rangers OF Josh Hamilton added this interesting nugget:


It would have been nice if [the press conference] would have been about a contract, but we will put that on the back-burner for awhile.

Hamilton, who is set to become a free agent at the of the 2012 season, had reportedly wanted to get an extension agreed upon before the start of spring training.

But now, after his second alcohol related relapse since coming to Texas, the organization will undoubtedly want to tread extremely carefully before guaranteeing tens of million of dollars to the 30-year old outfielder.

It's an extremely complicated situation on many levels. Hamilton has become a fan favorite for both his aggressive style of play as well as his frank openness about struggling with addiction, but he's also become prone to injury in his time in Arlington, with many quietly wondering whether the years of damage he did to his body in his 20's will come back to haunt him as he ages.

Hamilton's agents reportedly wanted a contract similar to the 7-year $126 million deal Jayson Werth received from the Washington Nationals in 2010, but what his market value is after this latest incident is anyone's guess.

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Josh Hamilton Press Conference: Rangers Star Takes Full Responsibility For Addiction Relapse

Speaking without prepared remarks to the media in a press conference Friday afternoon, Texas Rangers OF Josh Hamilton was contrite, accepting full responsibility his lapse in sobriety earlier in the week:

My life, in general, is based on making the right choices. Everything, as far as my recovery, as far as baseball goes, it’s all based around my relationship with the Lord. I give [playing on the field] everything I absolutely have, when I don’t do that off the field, I leave myself open for a weak moment. I had a weak moment Monday night in Dallas, personal reasons with a family member. Walked to a restaurant to have some dinner, and ended up ordering a drink.

Hamilton later called Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, one of his closest friends on the team, to hang out that night, although Kinsler did not know the former MVP had been drinking:


Ian did not know I had been drinking, because once I do drink I can be very deceptive and very sneaky. While he was there, I did not drink in front of him. I did exactly what I told him I would not do. No one saw me with a beer or a drink in my hand, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that I was doing something knowing that does not work for me.

In contrast to his last public relapse in 2009, which ended with embarrassing photos of him doing body shots all over the internet and rumors of drug use, the Rangers OF strongly denied that he had done anything beside shave a few drinks on Monday:


I’ve had two drug tests since Monday; I have no concerns there at all. However, anytime I drink there’s a point where a switch flips and you never know where that point is going to be reached.

Hamilton, who did not take questions from the media, ended his remarks by apologizing to the fans, the organization and his family:


For everyone who I’ve hurt -- fans, kids, people who have addictions -- I apologize to you. When you’re doing this, you think you’re only hurting yourself but as I know, it hurts a lot of people. I do understand: I can’t take a break. How hard I play on the field is how hard I need to take my relationship with the Lord and focus on that and that is my recovery. I ask everyone who is watching to pray for me and my family because it never gets easy. I need to take responsibility and take the lead in making choices and being the man I’m supposed to be.

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Josh Hamilton Relapse: Reaction From Area, National Columnists Mixed

The Josh Hamilton story is one of the more complicated ones to come through the local sports-wires in recent years.

On one hand, as SB Nation's Bomani Jones notes, while a battle with addiction is an intensely personal one, Hamilton has chosen to make his story public:

Without knowing those things, this feels like none of our business. But it's news, and that's the flip side of Hamilton taking his plight public. It allowed him to inspire millions, but also directed their eyes to his attempts to maintain. People who follow his quest for sobriety want to know when he stumbles, for reasons good and bad. Hamilton is an addict, a very public one, and sharing his successes made his failures fit for public consumption.

At Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan is concerned that Hamilton relapsed at a very public place -- an undisclosed area DFW bar -- where he had to have known he would be recognized:

That it prevailed in such open fashion is what should scare Hamilton’s family as well as the Rangers. Only Hamilton understands why he would choose such a setting to drink, whether it was the empowerment of doing what he wants, where he wants, when he wants, or if it was his way of asking for help as he floats about without an accountability partner. After his spectacular fall off the wagon in January 2009 that included pictures of him licking whipped cream off a woman’s fake breasts, Hamilton knew the second alcohol touched his lips he was vulnerable not only to its seductive ways but to the gossipy culture that is making secrets an anachronism.

Of course, what makes his relapse so compelling is how it relates to his impending free agency. Hamilton has spoken for years about how he can't handle even one drink, and how a relapse would negatively affect his game.

The Dallas Morning News Kevin Sherrington thinks this latest incident is proof the Rangers need to be extremely careful with how much money they give the former MVP:

At some point, he’s going to have to learn how to avoid risks when left alone. The Rangers went so far as to celebrate their postseason wins with showers of ginger ale to avoid the mere whisper of temptation. Hamilton can’t walk in bars and have a few drinks and think he can get away with it.

The Rangers have done all anyone could expect. They gave him another shot when the Reds gave up. They provided support and love and he gave them MVP-worthy performance. The mutual benefit has been a couple of World Series runs.

Still, the Rangers don’t owe Hamilton a long-term contract out of gratitude or sentiment. They shouldn’t offer anything more than two or three years, heavy on incentives. Of course, someone will offer more. If he should take it, so be it. Then the clock starts ticking somewhere else.

Over at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Randy Galloway is more direct, saying that Hamilton can no longer be trusted:

But my fairness offer is now off the board.

One year, $20 million is the new max. If another team wants to gamble beyond that, have at it. But not me.

Josh is an addict. A good guy. Easy to like, and I do like him. But he's an addict.

Hamilton proved again this week he cannot be trusted, even if the Rangers would clearly love to trust him, support him, and sign him long-term as a player.


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/02/02/3708611/rangers-must-decide-if-josh-hamilton.html#storylink=cpy

But at the end of the day, this is still an intensely personal story, with ramifications that go far beyond what a player does or does not do on a baseball field, as this tweet from Josh Hamilton's wife illustrates:

The Rangers have scheduled a press conference for 1 PM Friday with Hamilton to further discuss the incident.

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Josh Hamilton Reportedly Has Alcohol-Related Relapse

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton reportedly had an alcohol-related relapse earlier this week at an undisclosed area bar.

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