Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News went on TV yesterday and had this to say about Josh Hamilton’s recent fall off the wagon:
It’s time for Josh [Hamilton] to grow up. This thing about a week or so ago … he just cannot do that. But if also can’t wrap himself in the cloak of his faith, an accountability partner or the bartender, he’s gotta do it himself. There are a lot of people out there get up and deal with this same problem every day, and they handle it. It’s time for him to cut the free pass. You’re 30 and going to be 31 in May — you’ve got to deal with it yourself.
Did Fraley watch Hamilton’s press conference last week? I did, and at no time did he blame anyone else but himself or do anything other than say how unacceptable his behavior was and how he needs to do better. What “free pass” is Fraley speaking of? I’ve seen none of it. Am I crazy?
Seems to me that Hamilton is proceeding like any other addict. Ups. Downs. Attempts to make his life better. It’s a life long struggle. He just happens to be doing it in public.
But I guess Fraley wants a cleaner narrative. One in which Hamilton is either a hero or a scoundrel. Too bad life doesn’t work like that.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.