Hamilton's Future Now Clouded - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Hamilton's Future Now Clouded



    It's now been confirmed by everyone involved that Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was seen drinking this week.

    Hamilton's past is well-documented. Years of alcohol and drug abuse nearly derailed his baseball career at a young age before he was able to turn things around and win an AL MVP in 2010.

    Hamilton addressed the situation in a news conference Friday, which is great and courageous on his part.

    But what does this mean for Hamilton down the road? First off, the Rangers' top concern will be making sure Hamilton is OK and can work through his latest incident, the second run-in with alcohol, that we know of, in the past three years for Hamilton.

    But after that, the Rangers have to look at their future with Hamilton as a part of it. Hamilton recently went on record saying he wanted a contract extension before spring training began, and things seemed to be in the works to meet that request, as Hamilton said he wouldn't negotiate during the season. He is a free agent after the upcoming season.

    There was also talk of the Rangers bringing in Prince Fielder, which would've likely come at the expense of keeping Hamilton past the 2012 season. They opted to go the Hamilton route. Now that is all up in the air.

    With all due respect to Hamilton and his fight with substance abuse, baseball is a business and a team has to trust its employees. Granted, this is the same team that kept Ron Washington after he admitted a "one-time experimentation with cocaine" but this would be Strike 2 on Hamilton since he's joined the team. The drug and alcohol concerns might not even be the top one for the Rangers regarding the transcendent slugger. His fragility and tendency to get injured is also a huge concern.

    So to sum things up, the Rangers need to figure out how they're going to approach this with such a beloved figure, but first they need to be sure Hamilton is OK, as many of his fans seem to be doing.

    Hamilton's wife, Katie, tweeted some thoughts this morning from their account @KandJHamilton:

    “Truly appreciate all the encouraging & supportive tweets we've been getting. God is Faithful and forgives- so thankful that you all are -- Showing us such love and encouragement during this time."

    You'd have to wonder what bartender would serve Josh Hamilton a drink. You can't tell me there's a bartender at Sherlock's that doesn't know who Josh Hamilton is or about his shaky past with alcohol and drugs. Yes, it is Hamilton's ultimate responsibility, but who would serve someone with such a public problem? It's an interesting moral question that will have a wide variety of answers.