Josh Hamilton has long had an “accountability coach” or “accountability partner” accompany him at all times when at the ballpark and on road trips. The idea is to have someone to keep an eye on him and help him deal with the temptations and difficulties which come with being a drug and alcohol addict. The OC Weekly reports, however, that the role of this person is being limited:
The franchise released a statement that says Hamilton has, in his own words, “downsized the role” of his accountability partner, having him only accompany the slugger on road games and not dress for games in a uniform like an additional coach. Among the partner’s duties is handling the 32-year-old’s meal money.
“It’s time to cut the cord a little bit,” Hamilton says in the Halos’ release. “I don’t really use it for home games. I go to the park, I do what I need to do, I know what I need to do, and I have my family. That was one of the main reasons.”
He’ll still have someone on the road, but not at home, where he’ll rely in his wife more.
Whatever works best for him. All that matters is that he stay clean.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.