LA Times- General Manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement the Angels "have serious concerns about Josh's conduct, health and behavior," and team President John Carpino said it "defies logic" that Hamilton's behavior did not violate the drug program.
"Do I agree with the decision made by the treatment board? Absolutely not," Dipoto said. "This is a disappointing moment, make no mistake. … We have a responsibility to the human being. We also have a responsibility to the product on the field, the organization, the fan base, the industry. It's a complicated web."
"Josh came with a very well-known story of addiction, and we understood the complications that sometimes travel with that," Dipoto said. "We are not here to short-sell the troubles and reality of addiction. But there is a responsibility, a professional responsibility, to do the job you're asked to do."
"Every player is going to be held to that standard. That's just life. … We've expressed support for Josh throughout, but we're not going to sugar-coat what the issues are with the team as we move forward."
"We're going to take this process one step at a time," Scioscia said. "The most important thing is Josh getting himself where he needs to be. Addiction is a terrible thing, and he's trying to deal with that.
Regardless of the ruling, did Josh Hamilton probably violate the terms of his drug rehabilitation? Yeah. If we are going by the book does he probably deserve to be suspended? Yeah, probably. But you know what? I am glad he's not, and even though the Anaheim Angels are now stuck paying him upwards of 80+ million for the next 3 years, they should be happy too.
We constantly hear about player safety in all professional sports now a days. Generally that refers to physical safety as a result of the on-field risks that players face on a daily basis, but what about mental safety? Josh Hamilton is paid handsomely to be baseball player, and he is far more of a danger to himself if he is not playing baseball. You think it's a coincidence that this slip up happened in the offseason. Literally the only other thing that consumes Hamilton's life other than the demons of substance abuse is baseball. No amount of rehabilitation is going to keep Josh from the vices that have nearly cost him his life, but I will tell you what will...the baseball diamond. If Hamilton had gotten suspended for even one game that's one more chance of him ending up falling face first off the wagon.
Do I think that the MLB, and more specifically, the Anaheim Angels have a responsibility to save him from his own decision making? No, but they certainly shouldn't be disappointed to find out he won his appeal. They certainly shouldn't be broadcasting their displeasure with a decision that will likely keep him out of an early grave. Who do you think is going to garner more sympathy, a likable player that has overcome a lifetime of adversity or a billion dollar industry that is bitching about honoring it's contractual agreement? Why do you think Josh turned himself in? You think it's because he knew he was going to get caught? Is that an extremely popular thing for professional athletes to do with millions on the line? Or was it more likely that he realized that he needed support to keep a bump and a beer in a cold dark room from turning into a full blown relapse? He needed help to save Josh Hamilton the person and Josh Hamilton the baseball player.
I get it. Professional sports are a business. The Angels pay Josh Hamilton far more than he is worth at this point in his career. However, they knew what they were getting. If I buy a used product with known flaws, a retailer would laugh in my face if I asked for a full refund when it started to show it's defects. Would some reimbursement be optimal? Sure, but it's definitely not something that should be expected. I understand the buyer's remorse, but how about a little compassion? How about a little loyalty? How about understanding that Hamilton's on field performance may not be worth 20+ million, but his livelihood just might be. At the end of the day, Josh Hamilton getting drunk, doing a little blow and avoiding supplemental discipline aren't nearly as bad for baseball as a year of unemployment would be for a known addict.
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