After the Red Sox imploded in October of 2011, the team said goodbye to General Manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona with respectful announcements about how much they meant to the team.
And then the management started leaking all kinds of information to friendly members of the media to make sure that the story became how much Francona's personal issues got in the way of the team and how Epstein was planning an exit strategy before the year was over. It made a sad ending much uglier than it needed to be since there really wasn't anyone arguing against it being time for a change.
We're seeing something similar play out with the Rangers and Josh Hamilton. It's a bit more open thanks to Nolan Ryan's public condemnation of Hamilton's decision to quit chewing tobacco, but there are plenty of columnists writing about how "there was always something" with Hamilton that made him more trouble than he was worth on the field.
This is the same guy who they used to praise for playing so hard that he'd hurt himself, the same guy they kept running out in center field long after it became clear his body couldn't handle it and the same guy that they used as a marketing tool at every opportunity. Now he's dirt?
Hate the ending all you want, but be honest enough to say that you only even got to the Wild Card game because Hamilton was the best player in baseball for the first month of the season. Make the decision that Hamilton's cons are greater than his pros at this point, but have enough respect for the moments when Hamilton saved the team and helped fill the ballpark.
Jen Floyd Engel of FOXSports.com, who made her bones in Dallas, goes so far as to compare him to Terrell Owens. This is ridiculous and not a coincidence. There's an effort being made to salt the earth behind Hamilton so that there are no tears when the inevitable happens and Hamilton leaves the team he helped lift to its first two trips to the World Series.
Based on the way the season ended and the boos that rained down on Hamilton, you have to wonder why they are going through all the trouble. There can't be too many people still operating under the belief that Hamilton will be back next season and there aren't too many people who don't understand why that's the case.
So why go through all the trouble? Why not just be adults and say that the relationship is over, but that you wish Hamilton well in the future while thanking him for all he did for the Rangers?
It isn't that hard to take the high road. We're not arguing that the Rangers should make another decision about signing Hamilton because it is clear that things are done for him in Texas. Because it is clear, though, there doesn't seem to be any reason to keep belaboring the point.
All you're doing is making the franchise look petty and you might even be hurting yourself with future free agents who would prefer not to have all of their accomplishments turned to dust when the end date arrives. It's bad form and the Rangers should move on from Hamilton in words and deeds since they have already moved on from him in spirit.