Halos Heaven, the Angels fan page at SB Nation, ran a dreadfully un-empathetic post about Josh Hamilton, whose struggles with addiction have been well-chronicled. The writer called Hamilton a “coddled hillbilly” and took most issue with this quote from the former Angel on team owner Arte Moreno: “He knew what the deal was when he signed me. Hands down. He knew what he was getting, he knew what the risks were, he knew all those things. Under the JDA, it is what it is.”
FJM’ing the rest…
In other words: Arte signed an addict, that is his problem, not the addict’s problem. No accountability. No taking responsibility. No apologies. And so no accountability for his personal negligence. Just embracing the enablers, mocking the man who had faith in him.
I dunno if you could call that mocking. Words have meaning, and the definition of mock is to “attack or treat with ridicule, contempt, or derision.” Hamilton did take accountability for his relapse (“personal negligence” seems a bit harsh in this case) when he self-reported it. It’s not like he was caught, or that this is something he’s purporting to be proud of.
Josh, when you finally die of a drug related matter it won’t be Arte Moreno’s fault. It won’t be the fault of the good fans in Anaheim who figured out your little game. They might have Donnie Moore’s karma on them but they won’t have yours.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Donnie Moore, he was a relief pitcher for the Angels who lost a non-decisive Game 6 to the Red Sox in the 1986 ALCS, was blamed by Angels fans for the rest of his career, and committed suicide after retirement.
As much as I would like to say the blame for your future fate lies with the enabling national media and coddling players union, I think of Steve Howe’s face crushed against his truck’s windshield on a lonely interstate highway with crystal meth in his bloodstream and I know that all the blame will be on you, all of it, as it was with Howe. I can only hope that when you do yourself in, which you will, that, mercifully like Howe, you take nobody else with you.
Good bye Josh, today is the first day of the rest of your life and you used it to announce to the world that nothing will ever be your fault. Happy snorting.
This has been a staggering lack of empathy for the perils of addiction, which is far from a matter of mere personal choice. While some may be able to ingest substances and maintain control of themselves for recreational use, others’ brains are hardwired to drive them towards self-destructive behavior that appears, to sanctimonious scolds like this Angels blogger, utterly irrational.
Hamilton’s discussion about the JDA wasn’t the most PC response he could have given, but it’s concurrently hard to blame him when Moreno spent the past several months trying to finagle his way out of a guaranteed contract. While Hamilton could have spoken in platitudes, his quote also wasn’t inaccurate. It’s one thing for a fan to be disappointed that a high profile signing like Hamilton did not work out for his team, but it’s another to be so transparently personally vengeful.
UPDATE: The post was just taken down, but the above reflects what was written.