Josh Hamilton Will Play For The Rangers Tonight, And We’re Glad
Amidst all the shock and horror and crushing sadness in the wake of the tragic death of firefighter Shannon Stone at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington last night, one of the most surreal twists was that the ball Stone lost his life reaching for was thrown to him by Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton has it pretty good these days - he's the reigning American League MVP, led the league in RBI in 2008, and generally proves himself as one of the game's most gifted players on a regular basis. But to get there, he had to go through the lowest depths possible for a human to experience without actually dying. Not that that was for lack of trying: during his darkest hours of drug addiction, Hamilton tried to kill himself multiple times.
It's impossible to fully fathom Hamilton's experiences unless you're Hamilton himself, but it's plain to see he's dealt with far, far more hardships than anyone should ever have to endure, so the fact that he'd have to be the one mentioned in connection with Stone's tragic, completely accidental death - when all he was trying to do was give a guy a souvenir - seems like the universe just piling on a guy who already faces and endless battle to live a happy life.
How would Hamilton deal with the tragedy? Rangers manager Ron Washington said Hamilton would get the day off today if he wanted it - but thankfully, that won't be an issue. While there's no doubt Hamilton's saddened by what happened - his wife tweeted as much today - saying there's nothing to be gained from sitting out, he told Washington he wants to play tonight, so he will.
Washington said that neither Hamilton nor any of his teammates wanted any time off, and praised Hamilton for being strong in the face of the incident. In a situation that doesn't offer a lot to be happy about, we're happy about this. Josh Hamilton doesn't deserve to be negatively affected by trying to do a good deed for a fan, and it looks like despite the hellishness of this event, he's going to be able to keep his positive momentum going. He's more than earned it.
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