How Not to Make Things Better
By Mike Luna
Josh Hamilton (who I will refer to as Jamilton for the remainder of this post) held a lengthy press conference with the media last Friday afternoon. You might even call it a State of the Union, as he covered just about everything from baseball to his recovery, from free agency to his home life. He even read some Bible verses.
Jamilton said a lot in his press conference, but there was one statement that caught almost everyone’s attention, and not in a good way.
When asked whether or not he owes the Rangers for everything they’ve done for him, he responded with (per T.R. Sullivan):
"The Rangers have done a lot for me. I have a question. Have I done a lot for the Rangers? I think I have given them everything I’ve got. When it comes down to it, people have to understand this is a business. I love Texas, I love the fans, I love the organization, and I love my teammates. But I’m not going to sit here and say I owe the Rangers. I don’t feel I owe the Rangers."
(It probably wasn’t necessary to use the entire quote, but Jamilton tried to back-peddle on Sunday, claiming that fans had only heard part of the truth and were jumping to conclusions. Thus it made sense to include the whole thing.)
At its core, the question posed was about the possibility of Jamilton offering the Rangers a hometown discount, giving them the option to sign him for less money than what his skill-set might demand on the open market.
He basically answered with no, but he said a lot of other stuff too.
- He starts by characterizing his relationship with the Rangers as mutually beneficial, which is fair. Jamilton was an important part of 2 AL Pennant winning ballclubs, which should not be overlooked or forgotten.
- He goes on to criticize fans, claiming that we don’t understand that baseball is a business and that signing a new contract is a business decision. Hopefully he was referring to fans ages 10 and under, otherwise he’d be coming off as something of a condescending tool.
- He reiterates that he doesn’t owe the Rangers a thing, further cementing his position. There will be no hometown discounts. We get it.
As part of Friday’s press conference, Jamilton read the following (which comes from 1 Peter 5:5):
"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Based on what we’ve heard recently, does Jamilton sound like a humble man to you? He doesn’t to me.
(Please understand that I’m not throwing Jamilton’s beliefs back in his face to justify low-balling him in contract negotiations. There just seems to be something of an inconsistency in his message, which I wanted to point out.)
To me he sounds smug, entitled, and arrogant. He wants what’s fair, but only as it relates to other ballplayers. He wants to be treated like everyone else, but he isn’t like everyone else.
Before he came to Texas, Jamilton spent a season with the Reds. He was never embraced in Cincinnati the way he’s been embraced here. The front office, the coaching staff, his teammates, and the fans have all stood by him and supported him through the good (an MVP-caliber season in 2010) and the bad (two relapses in 3 years).
I, for one, am done supporting him. He wants to find another team that will overpay him and I’m fine with that. The Rangers will survive without Josh Hamilton.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @BleacherSeatsTX. As always, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)