Josh Hamilton Starring in His Own Threesome
Gotta tell you, my first impression of Josh Hamilton wasn’t so swell.
I was out at Rangers Ballpark last January for the team’s annual Fan Fest when Hamilton, the team’s new center fielder and born-again-and-again-and-again Christian, started talking to a riveted room about doing Pilates and serving God and playing baseball and serving God some more. At the time, I wrote that “if Hamilton hits the ball as hard as he beats The Bible, he’ll win AL MVP.”
Well I be damned.
Hamilton’s opposite-field homer in the 10th inning yesterday gave the surging Rangers an 8-7 win over the Twins and further fueled his momentum toward – Holiest of cows – AL MVP.
For now, about one-third into the season, Hamilton leads the American League in the Triple Crown with 12 homers, 53 RBI and a .335 batting average. In a bid for an unprecedented Quadruple Crown, he’s also got 26 tattoos.
I don’t think anyone outside Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels and our own Sam Merten saw this coming. Even Hamilton, who must have missed the part about the meek inheriting the Earth, shorted himself back in January when he predicted a batting average between .290-.310, between 30-40 homers, 90-100 RBI and 25 stolen bases. (Still, I’m not sure I’d trade him for Edinson Volquez. You?)
But now that it’s here, the Rangers are talking long-term contract. As well they should. Drop dead tomorrow and Hamilton’s the best center fielder in Rangers’ history.
He’s come a long way. Not just from his dark past of drug abuse and sleeping on porches. But from Fan Fest, where I asked him about the bandage on the tip of his finger. Seemed he carelessly allowed a thrown ball to carom off his hand, instead of into his glove.
So much for first impressions. -- Richie Whitt