Shame on the Angels

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It looks like Angel outfielder Josh Hamilton is returning to the Rangers, the team he left after the 2012 season. A trade has been completed, and Texas gets back one of the greatest players in franchise history.

Which is a nice story. But, to me, not the story.

Nope, from this perspective, the headline doesn’t concern a homecoming, but the shameful and embarrassing way the Los Angeles Angels have treated Hamilton since learning this past offseason of a drug relapse he suffered. Unlike the Rangers, who dedicated a great deal of money and manpower to helping Hamilton remain clean, the Angels seemed to consider substance abuse merely an issue of mind over matter; of willpower. Which, of course, is nonsense. Addiction is a disease, just as cancer and ALS and diabetes are diseases. You can control addiction, you can function with addiction, but you’re never 100-percent cured of addiction. It’s there. Always.

When Hamilton came forward and admitted his relapse, the Angels showed the compassion of a rattlesnake. They were openly livid when, earlier this month, an arbitrator ruled Hamilton did not violate terms of his treatment program. They did not issue him a locker at their Spring Training complex, and—as reported by MLB.com—”pulled all of his merchandise and likeness from the ballpark.” I actually attended an A’s-Angels game yesterday with my son, and you wouldn’t know Hamilton played for the team. He appeared … nowhere.

For me, the worst is Arte Moreno, the team’s owner. When asked earlier this month whether Hamilton would ever play for the Angels again, he shrugged. Asked why the uncertainty, he said, “Probably disappointment. I think that’s probably the biggest word here. We understand that he’s had struggles, and obviously he’s still having struggles, but the reality is there’s accountability. When you make an agreement, you need to stand up.”

To anyone who’s played a pro sport, this comes as no surprise. Teams speak of honor and loyalty and family, but only until honor and loyalty and family stop paying the bills.

Then, it’s adios.

2 thoughts on “Shame on the Angels”

  1. I disagree with your take. He has an addiction. Known when they signed him to a ridiculous contract. He is making $32 million per year to play baseball. The thing to be disappointed with the Angels on is that the contract didn’t have a clause to immediately void the balance and have some penalty ($). Oh wait, that would make sense and sports contracts aren’t supposed to make sense to the average fan. I would have cut him outright. Agree, he needs help, just doesn’t need to be an employee of my team (if I were in charge).

  2. Arte says, “When you make an agreement, you have to stand up.” Except, in this case, as it applies to Arte and his Angels. Every day we are reminded what greedy jerks professional sports owners are. I wish Josh Hamilton nothing but the best in his struggles. He needs a lot of help, not to be shunned and cut adrift. Pay the man , Arte…you made the deal. The Rangers thank you and will now step up.

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