Josh Hamilton is once again riding high with the Texas Rangers after a disastrous two year stint with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The story of Hamilton is so littered with missteps and substance-induced horror that it’s a wonder he’s even alive. Once considered the top prospect in America and drafted at number one overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Hamilton’s drug and alcohol abuse became so severe during his minor league career that he didn’t break the majors for another 8 years — and then as a teetotaling born-again Christian. The Hamilton legend didn’t truly take off until the following year, when as a Texas Ranger he hit 35 dingers in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium. The trajectory continued upwards with an MVP award and a World Series appearance, and though Hamilton suffered two relapses, he remorsefully reported both of them to the league and the Rangers, whose front office and fans publicly stuck by him.
But lured by a five-year $125 million contract, Hamilton moved to Anaheim in 2013 where he proceeded to stink out the joint, turning in two monstrously sub par seasons to the ever-escalating boos of the Anaheim “faithful.” Sidelined by shoulder surgery in early 2015, Hamilton had another relapse involving cocaine and alcohol, which he again voluntarily reported to his team and Major League Baseball. This time the outcome was different. Though a league arbitrator determined he could not be suspended, Angels owner and notorious bastard Arte Moreno badmouthed Hamilton to the press, yanked all of Hamilton’s merchandise from team stores, and intimated that Hamilton would never suit up for the Angels again. The Anaheim press joined in, self righteously bemoaning the incalculable damage Hamilton and his transgressions had caused their beloved Halos. The contrasting reactions of two franchises to the troubles of an employee suffering from the disease of addiction were made even more clear when Hamilton was shipped back to the Rangers for cents on the dollar. During his first game back in Texas the prodigal son was greeted by a prolonged standing ovation. Hamilton promptly responded to the only club and fans who had always forgiven his transgressions by ripping the first pitch he saw for a double.