May 20, 2019

“That’s the Way Baseball Go” On

November 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers held their season-ending rallies on Wednesday. What’s a baseball fan to do? How about reading about one of the two World Series participants?

After an MVP-caliber regular season, Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton returned from injury to lead his team to the Fall Classic. So what if he had only two hits during the World Series? Do you really think he was healthy? But he was back. Back in the spotlight to answer questions about his struggles with substance abuse, back to give his team the best effort he could. Other professional athletes with drug addiction problems could take a page out of Hamilton’s playbook, and get more assistance through HowtoHelpaDrugAddict.com and other similar websites.

If you haven’t read Hamilton’s “Beyond Belief,” or even if you have, now would be a great time to re-examine his story at length. ESPN the Magazine‘s Tim Keown coauthored the book, as he did with Dennis Rodman. That’s right, Josh Hamilton and Dennis Rodman.

Read “Beyond Belief” because:

1. Hamilton’s raw admissions will keep you turning page after page. Here’s a sampling:

“His words took my breath away. ‘Rehab? You mean drug rehab? The doctor turned me in?’ I couldn’t speak, but my mind raced.” (89, Beyond) “The last place I should have been during February 2003 was at a major league spring training. I was a mess, using every day, growing increasingly paranoid and defensive, listening to nobody.” (104) “I didn’t want to hear any encouragement, and I especially didn’t want to hear anything about baseball. I was so deep into a hole of self-hatred that even a mention of my past life made my insides recoil.” (157)

2. Hamilton had a lot to overcome, but he also had a number of supporters who helped him make it through the daily battle.

First, get his strength back. Next, trust – get others to believe him and vice versa. Then, and only then, could baseball, the game that started as a release and later grew suffocating, come back to the man some called the best prospect in history.

3. After more than three years of warring, Hamilton emerged ready, he hoped, for a return to the diamond.

Even in the midst of the tempest, Hamilton’s wife told him, “You’re going to be back playing baseball. Josh, there’s a bigger plan for you. When you come back, it’s going to be more than about baseball.” (186)

Following a successful restart in Cincinnati, Hamilton made his way to Texas. There, teammates immediately supported him. Veterans Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Hank Blalock were on hand for his first press conference.

Crates of letters greeted him as “proof that hope is never lost.” (193) Mothers and fathers shared family stories with the man-turned-baseball player. Kids told their new favorite player about their mom’s or dad’s struggles. Everyone could relate to Hamilton. And you can too. Read it for yourself, a friend or a family member. We all know someone affected by one type of addiction or another. “Beyond Belief” may be just what’s needed to help him or her overcome.

Sam Miller is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he worked with various teams in sports information and received the Freedom Forum – NCAA Sports Journalism Scholarship for his achievements. During the 2009 season, Miller served as communications intern for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate. Prior to that, he worked as a communications intern for USA Basketball and as an associate reporter for MLB.com.

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