The minute the Angels interest in Josh Hamilton was reported, people on Twitter and in the comments started in with stuff about how it’s bad for a drug addict/alcoholic to play in Los Angeles. This kind of thing:
— Jeff Kilgallen (@kilgallen5) December 13, 2012
The good thing for Hamilton is that there are no drugs around L.A.@bbtia
— Jared Youngblood (@JaredYoungblood) December 13, 2012
If the west coast isn’t in the World Series this year ill be shocked. At least there isn’t a lot of drugs and parties in L.A. for Hamilton
— Dan Purcell (@danpurcell827) December 13, 2012
This is a nonsense concern for a few reasons. Among them:
1. The Angels play in Anaheim, not some crash pad in the inner city or some burnout rock star’s home in Laurel Canyon. Disneyland is there for cryin’ out loud, and Hamilton will almost certainly live in some gated beach compound. He’s not exactly being dropped into a den of sin, here.
2. He played in Dallas for the past few years and Dallas, you may be shocked to hear, is a huge city with a lot of drugs and booze and things too;
3. His substance abuse trouble started back home in North Carolina and increased while he played in the Sally League and places like it. It’s not like he needed the bright lights and big city to tempt him.
4. As any addict can tell you — and as common sense instructs — you can get drugs or booze anyplace. Absolutely anyplace, from the biggest city to the smallest town in America. It’s not hard. The battle is not distancing yourself from them in a geographic sense. It’s about keeping them out of your personal space, both physically and mentally. Hamilton will battle addiction in L.A. like he did in Dallas and Cincinnati and Florida before that. He could be traded to Mars and he’ll have to fight it.
So yes, like Zack Greinke’s anxiety disorder we discussed this morning, Josh Hamilton in L.A. is an easy punchline or, at best, low-hanging analytical fruit. But it’s also pretty frickin’ beside the point, so just let it go, OK?