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Josh Hamilton Returns to Earth



    Everyone might have been celebrating the wrong thing last week when we were throwing platitudes at Josh Hamilton a mile a minute.

    Clearly, he was just an average baseball player blessed with an implement touched by the gods. That implement was the bat that Hamilton broke in the seventh inning of Sunday night's game. It was the one he used to hit eight of his nine home runs last week and the one he used to drive in runs like the Pied Piper driving snakes out of Ireland.

    How can we be so sure that it was the bat and not Hamilton responsible for the fireworks? Just look at what Hamilton did on Monday night in the 3-1 loss to the Royals.

    He didn't hit four home runs. He didn't hit two or three home runs either. He didn't hit even a single home run against Bruce Chen and the Royals bullpen. No doubles or triples either, which makes you wonder how much longer the Rangers can stick with Hamilton in the lineup now that his bat has splintered.

    Anybody can go 1-for-3 with a walk. Alberto Gonzalez managed a solitary single on Monday. You don't hear anybody playing the theme music to The Natural when he comes to the plate or talking about a new deal worth hundreds of millions for him.

    No, it seems pretty clear that all of the hype about Hamilton should really have gone to a man with a lathe and a dream. How many more times will we insist on celebrating the man swinging the bat instead of the man who crafted the bat? Hopefully this sobering lesson will serve to make us all a little more aware of the real heroes in this world.

    Seriously, though, that's a pretty spectacular life for a bat and it's pretty cool that it is going to Cooperstown. While Hamilton is obviously the reason for the success, those of us who believe in the cosmic nature of baseball have to find a little space to celebrate one of the more gifted slabs of wood to hit the scene in quite some time.

    Hamilton will get more chances, but the bat's time is done. It deserves a moment of appreciation.