Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Josh Hamilton lacks mental toughness
By Jean-Jacques Taylor
Last week, Adrian Beltre stormed into Ron Washington's office, demanding the manager write his name into the lineup.
When he left, still scowling, a couple of minutes later, bench coach Jackie Moore smiled at Washington and said, "That's why he's your horse."
Now, let's examine Josh Hamilton's actions one night after an off day and an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Hamilton, two weeks from completing an MVP-caliber season with 42 homers and 123 RBIs, left an important game against the Angels with a sinus headache.
We're not talking about a punctured lung or cracked rib like Tony Romo suffered last year against San Francisco. Or Jason Witten rushing back to play the opener less than a month after lacerating his spleen.
We're talking about something a couple of tablets usually knocks out.
Beltre told Washington he couldn't play the field because of shoulder inflammation but he could swing the bat, so the manager needed to put him in the lineup.
Hamilton left in the bottom of the fourth inning of the Rangers' 11-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the first game of an important three-game series.
This is the dude who says he can't figure out why his impending free agency is so complicated.
What general manager wants to spend more than $100 million on a guy who can't play through a sinus infection in September?
The Rangers have clinched nothing.
This isn't about pain threshold, because last year Hamilton spent the playoffs playing with a groin muscle nearly ripped off the bone.
Hamilton is exasperating, and it's only going to get worse as he gets older and the aches and pains become more frequent.
Michael Jordan once played through a bout of the flu so bad he could barely stand and scored 38 points in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals.
Emmitt Smith played virtually an entire game with a dislocated shoulder and still rushed for 168 yards and caught 10 passes.
And don't forget that Dirk Nowitzki played through a torn tendon and the flu in the 2011 NBA Finals to help the Mavs win their only title.
That's what champions do.
Hamilton's departure seems more about mental toughness.
He knew the Rangers had a big division lead over the Angels, and Texas was leading the game 3-1.
He didn't feel good, so he opted to take the rest of the night off. He'll have a good excuse today and maybe even a note from a doctor or his parents.
None of that matters.
We saw one more example Tuesday night why his time here is nearing an end.