Josh Hamilton just spoke to the media about his falling off the wagon on Monday night in Dallas.
Hamilton said he had “a weak moment” Monday night. Brought on by “personal reasons, with a family member.” He said he walked to a restaurant and had three or four drinks. He said he called Ian Kinsler. Kinsler joined him at the restaurant, but he did not know Hamilton had been drinking. “I can be sneaky and deceptive,” Hamilton said.
After the restaurant closed, he and Kinsler went to another location where Hamilton said he didn’t drink in Kinsler’s presence, but resumed doing so after Kinsler left. He said that there were pictures taken by people and that he assumes that they’ll leak out eventually, though there wasn’t any suggestion that they’re going to be particularly interesting or salacious.
Hamilton said that he he had two drug tests since Monday and says he is clean. He said alcohol is a different thing for him and “a switch flips.” He made no excuses. “It was just wrong,” Hamilton said. He said “90 percent of the time I’m fine,” but that not everyone is fine all the time. He said he’s going “to lean on some shoulders and, hopefully, we’ll get to a point where people can lean on mine again.”
All-in-all, Hamilton sounds contrite and accountable. He plans on meeting with the league and the union in New York and to consult doctors who have dealt with his addiction in the past. I’m not sure that there is anything else he could say or do at this point. It’s, as far as anyone not close to the situation can tell, all he can do and all you’d hope to hear from him.
I imagine that this is very similar to the sort of struggle every addict has. Except Hamilton, by virtue of who he is, is forced to do it all in public.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.