Josh Hamilton shows how second chances can creative a positive result. Is baseball in need of a second chance too?
On Tuesday, Texas Rangers Outfielder Josh Hamilton was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. His improbable story has been told so many times throughout the revival of his career, and it should still marinate with every sport fan today.
First, I need to ask the question, what do you expect most from professional athletes today?
To win? In my opinion, No.
To be the best? In my opinion, No.
I only request that athletes be the proper role model. Josh Hamilton won the MVP award because of his on-field performance. He deserved it with a .359 batting average, .633 slugging percentage, and 32 Home-runs (All of this while he was injured for part of the season). More importantly, he is the figurehead of what baseball players should be today.
I am not advocating that the MVP award go to the best role model and responsible player in the sport. However, I am pleased the best player in the American League is also the sport’s greatest representation of its athletes. Many young kids in North Texas (and the United States for that matter) look up to Hamilton. He is the prime example that everyone deserves a second chance.
In 1999, Hamilton was the first overall pick in the MLB draft. His career hit a few speed bumps and then ran off a cliff. Drugs appeared to end his career, and possibly his life. It took courage, hard work, and a wake up call carrying a large load of responsibility for Hamilton to get where he is now. For that, he is stronger now than ever before. He even refused to celebrate with his teammates after clinching the pennant to stay away from alcohol, a burden of his past. The Texas Rangers decided to douse Hamilton in ginger ale instead of champagne allowing him to celebrate their success while staying away from any alcohol.
Josh Hamilton got his second chance and look what he has accomplished. Baseball, a sport criticized for the steroids era, deserves a second chance too.
Baseball has grown past its prime, but that does not mean the game is no longer what it used to be. Nothing can compare to school’s out, watching the boys of summer, and the 7th inning stretch. It's your first hot dog at a ball game sitting in the bleachers with your dad as he teaches you the same game he learned from his father. Nothing takes me back more than sticking my nose in a baseball glove and hopping in the time machine for a few seconds.
After the catastrophe of the steroids era, I think baseball is finally returning to that product of being pure, past, present, and personal all at the same time. Josh Hamilton received a second chance and capitalized on his opportunities the right way. He redeemed himself, and baseball can too.
Give baseball a second chance.