Hi. My name is Josh, and I am an addict.
This is a very real thing that is going to be said in the very near future for the Angels enigmatic and ridiculously overpaid and declining slugger, Josh Hamilton. And, it is a very real thing that became very very necessary with what has become his very public hearing regarding a cocaine relapse back in January. Angels' fans reactions on Twitter ranged from "Good. Baseball is not worried about the money he is owed ($83M), and is more concerned with Hamilton receiving the help that he needs" to "Great. The Angels can't dump this guy for anything now."
I personally can't say that I side with either party. I definitely don't side with the group of yahoos who are more concerned about simply getting rid of Josh Hamilton. My heart may not be much bigger than the Grinch's, but it is big enough to feel empathy. However, even though this is more of a human issue than a baseball issue, I can't just stand back and say that baseball needs to handle this with kiddie gloves. It is simply not that simple. I'm not just "on the fence," per say. I am chained to the fence. Padlocked to the fence. Welded to the fen...OK, maybe not welded. That could get painful.
Addiction, for anyone who knows, is a hellish monster. It is a daily struggle with the devil and the angel (no pun intended) that reside on an addicts shoulder. But, Hamilton had certain requirements that he had to adhere to upon his reinstatement into baseball by, then commissioner, Bud Selig. One such requirement was that he would be drug tested three times a week. The specifics were never revealed to the public, but is it really that much of a stretch to assume that lengthy suspensions would be in order if he failed even one test? Yeah, I didn't think so.
With all of that in mind, Hamilton relapsed. He didn't have a dirty drug test however (which is important), he instead admitted to his transgressions and laid himself upon the mercy of the court. The court came to a split decision and brought in an independent arbitrator who ruled that Hamilton could not be suspended because his actions were not in violation of baseball's JDA. A decision that I kind of agree with. Josh knew that there would be a punishment levied upon him if he slipped, now there is no punishment. No reaction to his action. No progress.
Aside from the ramblings of fans on Twitter, some of us waited for the Angels official statement regarding the Hamilton decision. This is what they said:
The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans. We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family.That, ladies and gentlemen, is completely reasonable. What happened in January with Josh Hamilton really did happen. It cannot, and should not, be swept away and hidden in the closet. The Angels have every right to be concerned about Hamilton, his health and his choices off of the field. In a way, I see it as the Angels being almost parental towards Hamilton regarding the situation. Everything was going to be OK. But then John Carpino went and opened his mouth, allowing these words to cross his teeth and jump over his lips:
It defies logic that Josh's reported behavior is not a violation of his current program.Head. Desk. You had one job, John. One job. You keep your mouth shut, and everyone moves on. Now, the entire Angels organization is in the cross heirs of national writers and bloggers. Ken Rosenthal's very un-Ken Rosenthal take. Craig Calcaterra has been beating the same drum for more than a month now, and the Angels will draw his full ire. Bob Nightengale? Yup. He's on it. For all we know, Joe Schmo of Paducah, KY is sitting at his computer in his underwear preparing his own hot take for JoeSchmo.com. This thing is blowing up in the organization's face because of one loud mouthed executive.
Personally, if I am Arte Moreno, I am repeatedly kicking Carpino in the balls while I fill out his pink slip in front of him. Just so he is fully aware of his own unbridled idiocy. Personally, as myself, as a biased fan who supports the Angels, His comments were, at best, embarrassing and insensitive. So what does Carpino do? An hour after his initial comments come out on Twitter and on the Angels official website, he calls up the Orange County Register and feeds them this line:
We've really got to get Josh the help that he needs. That’s where the focus is. We're dealing with a person here. And a family.Back track much?
Carpino painted himself into a corner, a corner he didn't need to go into since Jerry Dipoto had already delivered a statement that showed compassion, worry and an honest disappointment in Josh Hamilton and his actions. I believe that Josh Hamilton needs to seek help, and I believe that Josh Hamilton needs support from his family and his peers, and I believe that Josh Hamilton needs to know that he has disappointed the people that care about him the most.
I also believe that John Carpino needs to be dealt with swiftly and strongly. His actions could cost the Angels even more money if Hamilton (and it is within his rights as an employee of the Angels organization) feels that it is necessary to file a grievance against the Angels because of Carpino's comments.
Once upon a time, I was on the fence regarding this situation. I believe in compassion, but also that tough love works. Now, because of Carpino, I applaud the fact that Hamilton will receive no suspension for his actions. He needs to seek help, but it is a good day knowing that he will not have to miss a substantial amount of the season without pay, and that he can worry solely on getting better before he returns to the playing field.