Josh Hamilton Owes the Los Angeles Angels Absolutely Nothing


On Friday the Texas Rangers will play their rivals, the Los Angeles Angels for the first time since Josh Hamilton was traded back to Texas from L.A. in late April. For the vast majority of Hamilton’s time in southern California, the Angels tried to portray him as an irresponsible villain but recent events have begun to shed light on the fact that the Angels are a dysfunctional family to whom Hamilton owes nothing.

Since Mike Scioscia’s managerial run began in 2000, the Angels have earned the reputation as one of the most well run organizations in sports. They have remained competitive throughout Scioscia’s 16 years, winning the 2002 World Series, and along the way they have played up to the family friendly nature of their suburban L.A. fan base with such gimmicks as the rally monkey all-the-while trying to live up to the image suggested by their heavenly team nickname.

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Yet, recent revelations about the way the organization has been run are helping fans and the media understand that the Angels may have fallen from heaven. Now the team will come face-to-face with Hamilton, the black sheep of the family shunned because of his substance abuse disease, for the first time this year and questions again are arising about how the situation will be handled by both sides.

The truth is that Josh Hamilton owes the Angles nothing at all. He owes them no apologies, he owes them no refunds and he shouldn’t even owe them a second thought despite what Scioscia recently said.

"“I’m hoping he’ll take an opportunity to thank the teammates that supported him, and to reach out to (Angels owner) Arte (Moreno) and let Arte know that maybe some of the things he did weren’t what he signed up to do,” Scioscia told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday in Anaheim. “We’ll leave it at that.”"

That is a fantastically high moral road for Scioscia to take considering that on Thursday, the day before Scioscia thinks Hamilton should kneel before the Angels’ clubhouse, hat in hand, asking for forgiveness, Sociscia and Angels’ owner Arte Moreno forced the team’s general manager Jerry Dipoto to resign.

"According to the Los Angeles Times, “Scioscia and Dipoto had a rocky relationship, stemming from…the GM’s firing of longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, one of Scioscia’s best friends, in May 2012.”"

The Times also adds that, “Dipoto reached a breaking point Tuesday when he cleaned out his office and left the stadium one day after details of a tense clubhouse meeting before Sunday’s game were leaked to Fox Sports.”

As Moreno’s lap dog for 16 seasons, Scioscia has more influence than the average major league manager.

"The Times mentions that, “many considered Scioscia the de facto GM” prior to Dipoto’s hiring in 2012."

Meanwhile, when one of the players Scioscia was supposed to guide as a pseudo father figure began to fall prey to the disease of substance abuse, what was Mike Scioscia’s response?

"According to Hamilton, “I tried on multiple occasions, and I’ve told everybody [about his substance abuse relapse] from MLB to Mike Scioscia,” and “I was always turned down by the general manager [Jerry Dipoto] and the team president [John Carpino]. They said they would let him [Arte Moreno] know.” Link"

In what world does someone battling with a disease have to apologize to those around him who refuse to help him and who, worse yet, try their hardest to push him out of their lives as the Angels did by openly lobbying Major League Baseball to suspend that person just so that they would be relieved of his hefty salary? It would be as absurd as if the Rangers openly stated their expectation of an apology from Yu Darvish for his elbow injury that cost him the 2015 season.

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The Rangers were in a similar place in the winter of 2009 when Hamilton had a relapse in a public bar captured by onlookers with cell phones. Yet, the Rangers simply surrounded Hamilton with more behind-the-scenes structure and support and at no point did they demand anything in return and in the end the cosmic scales were balanced when Texas was rewarded with an American League MVP season from the slugger in 2010.

And what do Hamilton’s former teammates expect? The same as Scioscia and Moreno?

"In April, Angels’ starting pitcher and former Ranger C.J. Wilson told ESPN, “If Josh was hitting .300 with 35 home runs a year, what’s the situation?… Let’s face it: Josh is not the only person in professional sports that has had an addiction issue. He’s just the most open about it… We need to figure out collectively as teammates what’s going to make Josh play the best,”"

It appears that Hamilton’s teammates were more than willing to offer him the support that Scioscia and Arte Moreno withheld because the two didn’t want to be held accountable for making a $125 million mistake by signing Hamilton. Yet, that is the same word, accountable, that the Angels’ brass used in reference to Hamilton after the trade.

"“Just hearing some of his comments, the one thing that I think is sad, and I’m a little bit disappointed in, is the fact that there wasn’t any accountability, most importantly, to his teammates,” Scioscia said about Hamilton following the trade."

Now Scioscia feels like it is his place to criticize a player on behalf of his teammates? Based on Wilson’s comments, the players do not share their manager’s heartless feelings about Hamilton.

Hamilton, like all of humanity is a flawed person who fights powerful personal battles on a daily basis. So for anyone claiming angelic virtues, whether that claim to be by the name on their jersey or by the way they profess to act, to suggest that Hamilton owes them an apology for being human is downright demonic.

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