Josh Hamilton is probably one of the ten best baseball players in the game right now. He led the American League in batting average and slugging this year, and was second in OBP. The Yankees gave him the Barry Bonds treatment in the ALCS. The only knock against his game is his propensity for hurting himself playing the outfield.
So my appeal to television broadcasters: can we stop making his long and arduous road back from a drug and alcohol-ridden life required content for every comment about the man?
Seriously, at what point does Josh Hamilton go from being defined by his narrative (#1 pick, did drugs, fell off the earth, got clean, found God, got back into the game, rake) to being defined by the fact that he’s a phenomenal baseball player?
I’ve heard that, for ex-drug users, it is difficult to say that you are no longer troubled or affected by that period in your life. That’s totally fine, and Hamilton is allowed to represent himself any way he likes. But as part of the national broadcast audience tuning in to a baseball game (as opposed to 60 Minutes), I’d like some insight into just how this guy hit .384 after the All-Star break this year. He hit .401(!!!) against righties this season. How will Lincecum, Cain and Wilson approach him? Most human interest stories are tolerable at best, and the same story repeated 100 times makes Jack a dull boy.
Stop broadcasting baseball for people who don’t like baseball, and start acting like the people listening to you are voluntarily watching the game. This is not a new theme around here, either.
[Of course, the suggestion box for national baseball television announcers is becoming so densely packed with complaints that the center of the pile is actually on fire, a la those big haystacks.]