Josh Hamilton: Protecting his Quit?

Josh HamiltonLast week, (former) Texas Rangers all-star Josh Hamilton signed a $125 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels making him one of the highest paid players in the game today.

The Texas Rangers were and are upset.

According to ESPN, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels had hoped to re-sign Hamilton, who led Texas to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. He said he was disappointed the Rangers never got a chance to match any offer during the process, as they had expected, or be contacted before Hamilton agreed with another team.

Hamilton is a 5 time all-star and former MVP.  He could have demanded that type of money from the Rangers or nearly any other team in the league.  I guarantee that the Angels offer was not going to be far off from Texas’ offer (had he let them).

So, something else is at play here.

The slugger was considered a risk by some teams because of his history of alcohol and substance abuse, which derailed his career before his surge with the Rangers over the past five seasons. Hamilton had a relapse with alcohol last January and another one in 2009.

“I have a past history of making mistakes with drugs and alcohol, drinking twice in seven years, which is not good for me,” he said. “They’re going to help me with my support system to put things in place that I had with the Rangers. Nothing that is straining the organization or the clubhouse.”

We, as quitters, know that the first rule of quitting is to protect your quit first.  We know that, when left to our own devices, we will fail.  We know that success comes in part from our support system.

Although Texas showed great support for Hamilton initially (before he was a proven commodity), they made a fatal mistake last year.  Hamilton quit chewing tobacco mid-season.

Nolan Ryan had this to say (again, per ESPN) about it in October:

You would’ve liked to have thought that if he was going to do that, that he would’ve done it in the offseason or waited until this offseason to do it,” Ryan said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Galloway and Company” this week. “So the drastic effect that it had on him and the year that he was having up to that point in time when he did quit, you’d have liked that he would’ve taken a different approach to that.

This is a very common attitude from some of our “supporters”.  It’s easy to support somebody when it doesn’t effect your relationship.  But real support is shown when there is a cost associated.

It should not have mattered how few games it cost the Rangers last year ultimately.

I would have bolted to greener pastures as well.

I have great respect for what Ryan has done both as a player and as an owner of the Rangers.  He seems to have a very good head on his shoulders, but he is completely wrong on this.

Tomorrow never comes to an addict.  You can’t quit when the “timing’s right”.  There will always be strife, and there will always be a better time to quit.  Even though Mr. Ryan sees this battle as small compared to the rest of Hamilton’s battles, it is important.  A quit does not start when the last pitch is thrown and won before the first pitch of the next season is hurled.  It is an everyday battle regardless.

I’m guessing that Josh Hamilton saw this flaw in his support system at Texas.  I’m guessing it made him second guess his entire relationship with the organization.  I’m guessing he did what we all are asked to do at some point in our quits:  Protect your quit at all costs.

Nobody can make you use.

No amount of money or fame is worth being enslaved by a tiny metal can and a poisonous weed.

We all can quit.  It’s just a matter of how bad we want it or what lengths we are willing to go to.


540 days quit

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