Given that Josh Hamilton’s most recent substance relapse was self-reported, an independent arbitrator ruled Friday the embattled Angels outfielder would face no disciplinary measures, an edict which caused great discomfort amongst Hamilton’s employers. While writers ranging from Ken Rosenthal to an unusually reasonable Bill Plaschke took umbrage at the Angels’ public scolding of Hamilton following the ruling, the OC Register’s Todd Harmonson took an entirely different tact, instead blaming the Players Association for helping Hamilton avoid suspension.
Yes, the Players Association representatives technically did what they were supposed to do as advocates for a member, but did they really act in Hamilton’s best interests by keeping Manfred from doing anything?
Without an injury, Hamilton could be in the Angels clubhouse Friday – where his locker is being used by someone else in his absence – and subject to all the pressures of a new season.
His recovery from shoulder surgery only delays that, and without someone holding Hamilton accountable there’s nothing to make him seek the help he clearly needs. He already had backed off the use of personal accountability coaches because he thought he could handle his situation without someone by his side all the time.
Think dealing with the boos after striking out in the playoffs was tough? Try returning to face a hostile crowd that considers your contract one of the worst in baseball history.
And that’s at home.