Hamilton is the story heard around baseball — drafted number one overall in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Rays, a golden boy that idolized The Natural, a fictional character played by Robert Redford in one of the greatest sports movies ever. But, like you see in many cases, young adults with access to all the money and fame in the world never seem to turn out well. Seduced by drugs, alcohol, tattoos, Hamilton was headed down a bad road. When young sports superstars get involved with money and the wrong crowd, the media has a field day and never seems to let it go.
Over the last couple seasons, and the 2008 All Star game festivities, newspapers, interviews, television and radio shows refuse to let his troubled past go. I find myself wondering why aren’t they talking about his career or season? Do reporters really want sports stars to fail so they have something to entertain them? Hamilton’s troubled life is in the past; his tattoos are there to stay, but even Hamilton is trying to make all the negative coverage turn into a positive. “My tattoos are to remind me of what I did wrong and to keep me successful at overcoming my addictions of the past.”
Yes, I know it makes for a great story to talk about how Hamilton revived his career, but it’s almost been nine years. Let them man breath and enjoy his greatness in 2008 without spinning his season back to 1999. He’s only first in RBI’s, third in home runs, and ninth in batting average in the American League, oh and he set a major league record Monday night by hitting 28 home runs in one round of the Home Run Derby contest. Instead, all weekend we hear about his drug addictions. Is he a good role model for children with all his tattoos? Will he ever break down again and take another drink? Face it sports reporters, he revived his life, career, and now he is among the best in baseball, because he dusted himself off and tried again.