NBC 5 Sports
Laugh, Josh. Go ahead.
Before we get started, let's make one thing abundantly clear: Josh Hamilton didn't lose Wednesday's game, and consequently the AL West, for the Texas Rangers. Did he have a lot to do with it? You bet. But that loss can be pinned on the entire pitching staff, minus Koji Uehara, and the Rangers' failure to capitalize on key situations.
But now that we have that out of the way, let's get to Hamilton and most importantly his colossal mistake in the fourth inning, and how he responded after it.
With the score tied at 5-5, after the Rangers' pitchers squandered away a 5-1 lead, Derek Holland induced what should've been an inning-ending flyout to center with runners on first and second base, who with two outs, were of course running on contact. Hamilton got under the ball, put his glove up and Rangers fans everywhere gasped as the ball glanced off his glove and hit the ground, allowing the A's to take a 7-5 lead. After that gasp, those same fans threw stuff at their televisions after watching Hamilton loaf back toward the ball, seemingly waiting for David Murphy and Nelson Cruz to back him up and pick up the ball, which Murphy did.
The lackadaisical effort didn't lead to more runs scoring — those two runs were scoring regardless after the drop — but it sure looked awful, especially coming from a guy who's supposed to be a leader and in such a crucial game for the division title.
After throwing stuff at their televisions, those same fans likely found something else in their house/office to break when they saw Hamilton's conversation with manager Ron Washington in the dugout following the mishap.
Washington seemed to sternly ask what happened, to which Hamilton responded by putting his hands out, palms up, and appeared to say "are you serious?" Yeah, Josh, he's serious. After giving some lip back to his manager, Hamilton walked off. There's no other way of putting it, he showed up his manager — that same manager who's coddled him and been a soundboard for all of Hamilton's personal problems since he's been a Ranger. That's not cool.
Some will say the Rangers would not even be where they are without Hamilton, and that's definitely true. But don't forget, he completely disappeared for a third of the season, hitting below .200 and he failed to show up over the last week of the season, at the plate and in the field.
Wednesday's lack of effort might have been the final straw for Hamilton in Texas, as he'll hit free agency this winter. There's been talk on both sides for months to either let Hamilton walk or re-sign him. After Wednesday, the decision is an easy one.
It's hard to believe a guy like Adrian Beltre, who gives 100 percent no matter how he's feeling or what he is going through, can be teammates with Hamilton and look him in the face. Is Hamilton a nice piece to have in the Rangers' lineup? There's no doubt about it. But at this point, I say you offer something respectable, yet modest in regards to years, along the lines of three years for $60-70 million, knowing he will probably balk at that deal and then let him walk.
Because frankly, he's worn out his welcome.