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06/25/2013

Does Josh Hamilton not like baseball?

La-sp-angels-home-opener-20130409-pictures-008The race in the American League West is now down to two teams. The fact that one of them isn't the Los Angeles Angels should make everyone in that franchise fireable up to and including the hot dog vendors. Let's just start with an owner who never learned it's not about how much you spend but where you allocate your money.

The Angels are 33-43, 11 games behind the Rangers and in fourth place in the division. That's right - they are behind the Seattle Mariners.

This is not all on former Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, but his presence is merely a symptom of the cash-induced comfort run amok in Anaheim.

Hamilton has simply been awful with his new club since he signed that five-year, $125 million deal in the offseason. That's not true. He's been worse than awful because the club needs him so much. In 73 games here is what he's done: .207 batting average, 10 home runs, 25 RBI, 76 strikeouts. An on base percentage of .262.

In a 3-2 loss against the Seattle Mariners on June 18, he was 0-for-5 having grounded into double plays in each of his first three at bats, and then striking out in his final two. He stranded seven base runners. That is really hard to be that bad in a week, let alone a single game.

Josh-Hamilton-swingHere is the problem - Josh Hamilton does not like to play baseball. He plays baseball because he's good at it, and it pays well. I believe he loves the lifestyle baseball affords him, and it certainly beats working, but the expectation his talent commands has made the game not much fun. 

Josh has likely been the best baseball player on whatever field he played since he was 5. The game comes so naturally to him that it is easy in a way not common even to most major league players. You can't say he is lazy - he is always in good shape.

After having a long sit down chat with him last year for about 30 minutes it hit me that this is simply a simple guy who would likely just as soon play in a rec' league softball game with his buddies than sweat carrying the load of an entire team on his bat.

He will play baseball because it beats working at the local auto plant, and because it's what he has known forever, but once the expectations got crazy is when Josh began to slowly fade.

The problem is when your boss pays you $25 million a year to play a game you so clearly excel he expects certain things, and he likely doesn't care whether Josh likes it or not.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

bobr

Mr. Josh is like the turtle who was offered a ride across the river by a bird and was told all he had to do was keep his mouth shut. Mr. Josh and his wife just couldn't do it. They had their money. What could anyone do to them. So he has the freedom to fail and fall on a $25M pillow.

Dave Howell

In addition to his status as a genuine role model, humble hero, and perennial MVP candidate, Josh Hamilton was the catalyst behind the Rangers elevation from "occasional Division winner, and first round loser to the Yankees," to "consistent winner, with a chance to be World Series champion!" Along the way, Rangers management finally figured out how to make pitching & defense the core of the ability of the franchise to be relevant EVERY season. I am sick & tired of alleged fans bashing him, essentially for leaving Arlington, and relishing his shortcomings this season.

You're "The Prof," Big Mac. Tell me how much more HE made for moving to LAA vs staying in Texas. Then, make your best attempt to look me in the eyes, and tell me you wouldn't jump to The Dallas Morning News for the same pay raise!

David McCasey

Hamiliton is not at fault for the Angel's terrible season. Human nature to rest when the Den is full of rubies and food, The problem lies in the ego of a owner who collects legend's and who is liable to fill not only Hamiltons den but Alberts den forever and ever.

Artie has turned two of baseballs greatest preditors into meer mortal gatherers! What a Shame!!! Hard Core Angel Fan

Mike Lowry

it wouldn't be so bad for Hamilton if he just left quietly, but he didn't. he bashed ranger fans and became a bit overzealous about the green he received...I'm sure he's happy with millions....last year you set records with lower pay and people loved you....now youre setting (bad) records with more pay and even your own baseball town fans hate you....I just feel bad for ya

biffula

More uniformed conjecture on Engel's part.

Cody Colston

It's hard for me to feel sorry for someone making $25 million a year to play a game.

If Hamilton would be happier playing softball in a rec league, then he should give back the money and retire from MLB. Oh wait, he and Katy are going to save the world with those millions.

He could have been one of the best to ever play the game but will probably be out of baseball in another couple of years. What a waste of God-given talent.

The Noodler

Hey Startlegram,..isn't it about time to get some fresh articles or opinion pieces on the front page of your sports page? This one's been up for 5 days.

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