Quotebook: Josh Hamilton on winning MVP
November, 23, 2010
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
Josh Hamilton spoke to the media after he was named the AL MVP on Tuesday. Here's what he had to say:
ON MIGUEL CABRERA'S SEASON: It was unbelievable. Every time you turn on the TV, just watching him play, his swing is a beautiful thing to watch. He's an all-around great player. We chatted it up at first base when we played each other. I don't know what kind of guy he is in the clubhouse, but he leads by example. Every time I'm in the outfield and he comes up, I think 'What's he going to do this time?'
WHY YOU ON MVP? That's a loaded question. Hopefully, Most Valuable Player is somebody who excels, obviously, at their position, with the bat. But has done things each night, whatever that might be, that helps their team win. I think I did that the majority of the season and helped us get somewhere we've never been before. I have to give thanks to all my teammates for helping me as much as I helped them.
WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THE SEASON: Obviously going to the World Series, but remembering how we got to that point. ... For me, it was the most fun I've ever had with a group of guys playing together for that one common purpose -- that goal -- and that's hard to find at the professional level. You say you want to do it, but to have the right mix of guys that love each other, pick each other up. That's very rare and hopefully we can retain that and have that for a few more years.
ON HIS PAST: I do reflect. I think I lose sight of things, and I think if I didn't reflect, a little ego might start sneaking in there, and that's one thing I don't want to happen. So I do reflect, and I think about where I was at my lowest time and how God has brought me through that and sustained me. ... It's just awesome to think about where I am at this moment and where I was.
HOW UNLIKELY FOR YOU TO GET TO THIS POINT: I would say a 99 percent chance that this would never happen. I mean, honestly, I think a lot of people would agree with that. But it was a 100 percent chance this would never happen if I tried to do it on my own.
ANY DISAPPOINTMENT FOLLOWING WORLD SERIES? There's always disappointment if you don't win the World Series, but we made a lot of history in Texas that they had never done before. Winning the ALDS and then winning the ALCS and beating the Yankees, things we've never done before. So looking back at the year, obviously you'd like to win the thing if you're there. It didn't happen, but we have a lot to be proud of. But at the same time, that's also going to fuel my fire working out in this offseason and getting ready for next year -- that we were there and came so close, but we didn't quite make it.
THINK MISSING SEPT. WOULD COST YOU MVP: Yeah, I did. When people would talk to me about the possibility of this, that's what I would tell them. But not playing that last month, obviously I had a good reason. But I feel like what winning the MVP is -- and not taking away from anything the other guys did, I'm sure they did the same thing for their teams -- but you want to help your team win any way possible every night, whether that's a hit or throwing somebody out or making a great catch or stealing a base, scoring a run, walking, whatever it may be. When I was playing this year, I really felt like I did those things.
WHAT WILL DRIVE YOU? As a competitor, as a player and just the way I'm wired, I want to be the best and do the best that I can all the time. I work hard at practicing, getting ready for games. I've seen it with players in the past, they have all the talent in the world, but they don't have that work ethic. It doesn't matter how much money you're paid, how little money you're paid, how much recognition you get. It doesn't matter about any of that stuff. It matters about what happens with you and how you want to prepare and how you want to be remembered.
LOSING THE TOE TAP: I think taking the toe tap out of my swing helped me tremendously to be able to see pitches better. A lot of movement was taken out. And when there's a lot of movement, a lot of things can go wrong and you don't have very long to react when you're up there. So it kind of slowed things down a little bit for me by taking that toe tap out.
LINEUP BEHIND YOU: I can say there's not a better lineup in baseball. And I'd get called on that, but I really believe that. It was awesome for me to watch because, at the beginning of the year, I went to the 5-spot for a while and I was standing on deck and watched Vladimir play the game and hit and it's just something like I've never seen before. You can't teach it. He always has a smile on his face, and he thinks he can hit everything. And he does pretty much hit everything. And Kinsler obviously has his skill set, and he's a competitor and he fights hard when he's at the plate and can do damage at any point. And you go on down the line. You've got David Murphy. ... It's crazy talking about two or three of the guys when you want to talk about all the guys and how each person had their role on the team and got through some injuries and the other person stepped up, stepping, but Vladdy and Kins were batting behind me when I moved back to that 3-spot.
KEY TO STAY HEALTHY FULL SEASON: I think going into last offseason it was key for me to change my workout program. That means not going in and try to lift the gym, but go in and specifically train for injuries that I've had. And knowing what injuries that I've had helped me put a program together with Jose Vasquez, our strength coach, and really specifically train those things and not worry about gettng big, but just worrying about getting strong and staying flexible and just being able to do baseball activity. So that's what I'm going to do again this offseason.