Nolan Ryan is pretty much untouchable in DFW, or Texas for that matter. I've always said, if he would run for governor, he'd probably win, and that's not an exaggeration.
That's why what the Texas Rangers' president and co-owner said the other day isn't garnering more backlash from folks. Ryan told ESPN Radio that Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton picked the wrong time to quit using smokeless tobacco, conjuring up his best impression of Robert Stack in "Airplane."
Hamilton got off to a torrid start to the 2012 season in April and May before hitting the proverbial wall in June and July, and it eventually came out that he was trying to quit chewing tobacco, which directly correlated on the timeline of Hamilton's struggles.
"His timing on quitting smokeless tobacco couldn’t have been worse," Ryan told the radio station. "You would’ve liked to have thought that if he was going to do that that he would’ve done it in the offseason or waited until this offseason to do it. So the drastic effect that it had on him and the year that he was having up to that point in time that he did quit, you’d have liked that he would’ve taken a different approach to that. So those issues caused unrest, and it’s unfortunate that it happened and the timing was such as it was."
First off, no one wants to advocate tobacco usage, and that's not what Ryan was doing. But the fact that Hamilton has tried, unsuccessfully, so many times to quit his vice and had to try in the middle of the season does raise a flag. It had a clear effect on his play, as trying to quit stuff like that can mess with your body in bad ways such as withdrawals and stuff like that.
When you're paid millions of dollars to perform on a baseball field, you should do whatever you can within the rules of the game and your own well-being to perform at the highest level possible. And sure, tobacco is good for no one's well-being, but what's a couple of more months? Especially when you've tried so many times unsuccessfully. Just wait a few months and then devote all of your energy to quitting. Just a thought, and one that Ryan wasn't afraid to express.