Okay, I’m through dancing around this touchy subject, folks. I’m ready to face it and call it what it is: MLB is obsessed with “recovering” drug addicts and their attempts to get [back] into the big leagues.
If you’re like me (intelligent, charming, full of yourself) then you are decent enough to realize that yes, the Josh Hamilton story is important. It proves that that we, as human beings, do have the ability to overcome adversity and reach the highest levels of success despite our shortcomings if we’re determined, disciplined, good hearted and humble. That much is true.
However, when a player such as Josh Hamilton can no longer be recognized as anyone other than an ex/recovering junkie who just happens to be a successful baseball player, that’s when I have a problem.
And the problem is growing…
Because now Major League Baseball, realizing that the Hamilton story may be losing some of its saleability due to overuse, is desperate to find its next “Josh Hamilton” in Marlins’ prospect Jeff Allison.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too.
And as we find ourselves down to the last six weeks of the regular season, where heated division races are made and/broken, where teams break away from the pack while others fade to black, MLB.com’s front page today ignored all of that and featured a prospect no one has ever heard of — solely because he’s a “recovering” drug addict — “like Josh Hamilton.”
Dear readers, fear not, for I do not belittle the feats of these gentlemen in any way. Honestly, having battled my own personal demons, like Hamilton and Allison, I am no stranger to overcoming the obstacles of addiction. Indeed, I applaud them for their perseverance, their humility, their spirit. They are not the ones to blame here.
We should be shaking a finger at Major League Baseball, the media and every other story-hungry leech out there who can’t see Hamilton (and now Allison) as anything but a story to sell.
Google Hamilton’s name and see how many entries pop up that don’t mention his drug addiction. Watch a Rangers game without hearing about Hamilton’s “incredible comeback”. Bring up Hamilton’s name in any place in Anytown, USA and see what the discussion centers around. His talent? His numbers? No.
His drug habit.
That’s all you’ll hear. That’s all anyone cares about. But let me tell ya somethin’…
Addiction is not a character trait.
Addiction is not a reason to judge.
Addiction is a disease. And just like leukemia, multiple sclerosis or pneumonia, this disease does not define the afflicted. It is merely an obstacle: a hindrance to be overcome, defeated and moved passed but never one to ultimately define the character, the nature or the existence of the one who was chosen to endure its pain.
Don’t hate me, ‘cuz I couldn’t be any more right on this one.