It's Not Him. It's You.
Josh Hamilton is the most naturally gifted player who's ever worn a Rangers uniform. That much, we know. During his time in Arlington, he launched 450 foot home runs, ran the bases like a deer and gunned down runners from the outfield. And he did all of these things with a startling regularity.
Often, though, these hot streaks would be followed by equally epic cold streaks. During slumps, Hamilton looked lost at the plate, lackadaisical in the outfield and just mentally off.
For his many fans, Hamilton's amazing ability to redirect blame for his lengthy slumps, bizarre maladies and off-field indiscretions were just as compelling as his heroic on-field plays. Far as we can tell, Hambone's history with passing blame started with the 2001 car wreck that ended his second season before it began. Things only escalated from there.
And this trend didn't stop when Hamilton signed a $125 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels this past off-season, either. Just last week, the slugger blamed his abysmal start to the 2013 season on his sinuses and the weather in Orange County.
In other words: You can take the outfielder out of Texas, but you can't take the excuses out of the outfielder.
To further prove this point, we've compiled here a collection of Josh Hamilton's Top 20 excuses. We've also included with a handy translation guide to help you read between the lines of his often flawed reasoning.
While reading, and trying your mightiest not to roll your eyes as you do, calm yourself some by remembering the following, Rangers fans: He's not your problem any more!
It's God's fault.
Despite his apparent devotion, Hamilton often inappropriately adapts Christian doctrine to absolve himself of his failures.
1. “That's what I was at the time: a man with no soul.”
Context: Hamilton had just been asked about his prior struggles with drug abuse.
What Josh meant: “It wasn't really me that was using drugs. It was my soulless husk of a body.”
2. “I've been shown a lot of things over the past week, there's disobedience and there's obedience to God. I've been being disobedient. It may be a small thing to you, but it's a big thing to him. There's consequences. It's like a father and a kid. There are disciplines. You guys can chew on that and think about it.”
Context: Reporters were trying to get to the bottom of Hamilton's summer-long slump during the 2012 season, and were starting to wonder if his attempts to quit chewing tobacco were a factor.
What Josh meant: “God cares so much about getting me to quit chewing tobacco that he is forcing me to perform poorly in a sport he also obviously cares deeply about.”
3. “God told me I was going to hit a home run, but there was a period at the end of the sentence, he didn't tell me we were going to win.”
Context: The Rangers' has just suffered a crushing loss in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
What Josh meant: “God cares about my performance on the diamond, but not the rest of my team's. I'm special and different. Didn't you know?”
4. “I was out there getting ready for the season and took my focus off the number one factor in my recovery — my relationship with Christ […] I wasn't mentally fit to go in there, spiritually fit, and it just crossed my mind, 'Can I have a drink?' And, obviously, I can't.”
Context: Hamilton was speaking in response to his public 2009 relapse in an Arizona bar.
What Josh meant: “I mean, the Bible says we're all sinners, right? Right, you guys?”
Circumstances beyond his control.
Sometimes, things just can't be helped. In Hamilton's case, “sometimes” means “all the damn time.”
5. “These events — the accident, my parents' leaving, my back hurting — created an environment, where one bad decision could lead to many more.”
Context: A passage in Hamilton's book, Beyond Belief, on the impetus for his fall from grace.
What Josh meant:“Nature versus nurture? I'm a nurture guy. And I never got nurtured once. Hold me?”
6. “My first drink — my first drink ever — was at a strip club down there, with the tattoo guys. Pretty soon, I started using. First the powder. Then crack. I was 20. I wasn't playing. I was hurt. My parents left and went back home. I was by myself for the first time.”
Context: Before Hamilton's return to major league baseball with the Cincinatti Reds in 2007, Hamilton explains his lowest lows.
What Josh meant: “I am incapable of making any decisions on my own.”
7. “The next day, I was on a plane to Betty Ford. But they tried to make me believe the reason I did what I did was because of my family. It pissed me off. So I left after eight days.”
Context: Here, he's explaining why rehab didn't take for him the first time though.
What Josh meant: “Never mind what I said earlier about blaming my mom.”
8. “I'm quitting in January. After hunting season's over. You don't mind if I put one in, do you? Good. It's wintergreen. Flavored. Can't do the straight stuff.”
Context: Hamilton asking a reporter from Esquire if it's cool to dip during their interview.
What Josh meant: “How could I possibly be expected to shoot something without a dip in? What do I look like, some kind of sodomite?”
9. “The cocaine gave me that adrenaline rush. It was easy to keep doing it when I was away from baseball. Because not throwing somebody out — not hearing that crowd build up, and then the play happens and they erupt — that's why I kept going back to it and kept going back to it and kept going back to it.”
Context: Hamilton explaining the rush of cocaine to that same Esquire reporter.
What Josh meant: “Cocaine's a hell of a drug.”
10. “I was loading up on caffeine, and I'm out there in the bright lights, I can't control my eyes. They are stuck.”
Context: Hamilton explains the ocular keratitis diagnosis that led to his missing a week's worth of games during the 2012 pennant race.
What Josh meant: “Please take me at my word that this ailment was caused by too many Red Bulls, despite caffeine consumption not being listed as a potential cause of the condition by those clowns at the Mayo Clinic.”
11. “It was a moment of weakness because of an event with a family member.
Context: Hamilton explains his very public 2012 relapse in a February 2012 press conference.
What Josh meant: “It's my family's responsibility to keep me sober. You should know this by now. They should know this by now. “
12. “We just got cold at the wrong time with the bats.”
Context: Hamilton after the Rangers' 2010 World Series loss to the Giants.
What Josh meant: “How many times do I have to tell you that I am the direct result of the people surrounding me at any given time?”
13. “I definitely shouldn't have done it. They had a good angle to cut me off where I was going. It was a little too aggressive. The whole time I was watching the play and I was listening. I was like, 'Dude, I don't want to go. Something is going to happen.' But I listened to my coach and I went.”
Context: Hamilton explaining how he broke his arm while sliding into home plate on a scoring attempt from third.
What Josh meant: “My injury was 100 percent Dave Anderson's fault, for sure. I slide headfirst all the time. I've never broken my arm before. You guys know what I'm talking about.”
14. “We want to find out why it continues to happen. Whether it's things in my life — stress, home things, whatever the case — those things might be a trigger.”
Context: Another quote on that 2012 relapse.
What Josh meant: “While I still haven't quite pinpointed exactly what in my life makes me need to do drugs, I have definitely ruled out myself as the culprit.”
15. “I quit chewing tobacco, plain and simple.”
Context: Hamilton concedes that quitting chewing tobacco was, indeed, the cause of his 2012 slump.
What Josh meant: “Anyone know if the commissioner's office is cool with me smoking an e-cig out on the field? Can someone look into that for me?”
16. “I'm 'off' upstairs.”
Context: Hamilton, just last week, on his early 2013 season struggles.
What Josh meant: “Shut up, you guys. The only pressure I'm feeling is in my sinuses.”
17. “”It's just hard for me to see [at the plate] in the daytime. It's just what it is. Try to go up [to the plate] squinting and see a white ball while the sun is shining right off the plate, you know, and beaming right up in your face.”
Context: Hamilton discussing why his blue eyes are to blame for his struggles at the plate during day games.
What Josh meant: “Name one successful baseball player with blue eyes. I dare you. I mean besides Mickey Mantle. And Cal Ripken, Jr. And Lou Gehrig.”
There aren't any true baseball fans in Texas.
When all else fails, blame the people who pay your salary.
18. “You hate to have [the booing] happen in possibly the last game ever here, but at the same time, it's one of those things.”
Context: Hamilton on being booed after the Rangers' loss in the 2012 Wild Card game to Baltimore.
What Josh meant: “It's sort of like dropping a backbreaking pop-up on the last day of the regular season or almost single-handedly losing this game. Those things just kinda happen from time to time.”
19. “There's true baseball fans in Texas but it's not a true baseball town.”
Context: Hamilton on why he didn't mind ditching the Rangers and their fans that had supported him in recent years when he signed with the Angels.
What Josh meant: “Baseball rules and football drools.”
20. “The Rangers have done a lot for me, but I've got a question for y'all: Have I done a lot for the Rangers? I think I've given them everything I've had, I don't think anybody can say I haven't. When it comes down to it, people don't understand, fans don't understand, this is a business, this is an entertainment business.”
Context: Hamilton discussing his failure to sign an extension with the Rangers before the 2012 season.
What Josh meant: “Are you not entertained?!?!“