- Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
A team's fan base will put up with botched snaps and dumb interceptions. It'll put up with missing clutch free throws.
It'll even put up with misjudging a fly ball and blowing a save in Game 6 of the World Series.
It won't put up with poor effort.
Josh Hamilton betrayed a patient fan base that has absolved him of his many off-the-field indiscretions and his litany of weird on-the-field issues with a lackadaisical effort to catch a routine fly ball in the season's most important game.
Fans put up with Hamilton's antics because they're mesmerized by his talent, they love his story of redemption and they see their own frailties in his daily struggle for sobriety.
Hamilton has abused that goodwill during the past month.
It began when Hamilton removed himself four innings into a pivotal six-game road trip against Los Angeles and Seattle -- he missed the last five games -- and it culminated with his lazy effort to catch a fly ball Wednesday afternoon against the Oakland Athletics.
With two out and two on, Hamilton casually put his glove in the air and the ball glanced off his black glove.
Instead of turning and sprinting for the ball, Hamilton jogged after it. That's right, in Game 162 with the American League West Division at stake, he jogged after the ball as though it were a game against the Cleveland Indians in the middle of June.
By the time David Murphy eventually fielded the ball, two runners had scampered home as the Athletics completed their rally from a four-run deficit and grabbed a two-run lead.
Oakland won 12-5, but the game was lost right then.
That's the moment the Athletics knew they'd win and the Rangers realized they were going to be part of an epic collapse for the second consecutive season.
Read the rest of the story here.
22hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
2dRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com