Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hamilton story is perplexing

I have to admit, the only reason I was really watching the home run derby last night was to see how the only player from my team would do. I didn't expect him to win - and he didn't (Sizemore) - but he had a pretty decent showing, with some pretty solid shots. I never thought of him as a prolific home run hitter, even though he's tied for the HR lead in the AL. That being said, last night's home run derby was pretty entertaining all in all. Josh Hamilton single handedly made it that way.

The ending was proper, and you could see that after a scintillating first round he might run out of steam, just like so many big bats quiet in the final round. I think after his 28-home-run-first-round display though, people will believe that Morneau winning was just a bad dream. All in all, it doesn't really matter, because no one can remember the winner from last year, and this exhibition battle means absolutely nothing.

But as I was watching the Derby, and Hamilton's performance, one thing really amazed me - the reaction of the crowd. They took to him in almost a split second after he hit a couple of monster shots. And I'm thinking to myself, only in America could a guy, who a couple of years ago was a worthless junkie, be celebrated for doing something almost equally worthless, on one of the biggest stages in the world. That's right, he's doing something worthless. He's playing baseball, making millions of dollars hitting a ball with a bat. I love sports, but let's be honest, in the big scheme of things they are really nothing.

And Berman, Ravi, and all those guys are falling over themselves talking about how great his story is. That this one time first overall draft pick, who by his own glutenous sins ruined his life for a handful of years with drugs and alcohol. And how now it's a resurrection. A what?! Give me a break. Let's not make his story more than it should be, a lucky break that most of us normal people aren't afforded that athletes are given day in and day out. And let's not celebrate a guy who still walks around with a chaperone because he doesn't trust himself in idle times of the season. I got news for you, a majority of the people in this country have some idle time, and the first thought in our minds isn't, "let's shoot up" or "let's get hammered beyond recognition."

It's a feel good story that he was able to overcome his demons. But let's not blow it out of proportion. He came back to play baseball he didn't come back to win the Nobel Peace prize. I hope he continues to have a great career, with the obvious talent he possesses, but it makes me feel awkward when he's risen to martyrdom, just because he's only a borderline junkie instead of a full blown one.