Josh Hamilton put on an amazing power display in the 2008 Home Run Derby, and like many baseball fans, I was absolutely captivated with his power display.
The guy has been a fantasy baseball monster in 2008, knocking in 95 RBI in the first half of the season. He is the epitome of the 27-year old breakout star this year, and his story of being a recovering drug addict and born again Christian is inspiring. 28 jacks in one round of the Home Run Derby is no joke, either.
With all of that said, I hope (for baseball’s sake) that Josh Hamilton is for real.
While watching Hamilton crush home run after home run last night, I began thinking to myself “I hope he’s clean.” Not clean in terms of the drugs that haunted his early 20s – Hamilton fights everyday to kick that habit. I mean clean in baseball terms – no HGH, no amphetamines, etc.
Everyone knows what Major League Baseball can test for… and also what they can’t. Call me a jaded fan, and (unfortunately) I’d have to agree with you. I started thinking back over previous Home Run Derby juggernauts not named Bobby Abreu – Miguel Tejada, his “B-vitamins” and 15 home run round in 2004 at Houston. Sammy Sosa’s moonshots and corked “batting practice” bat in 2000 at Milwaukee. Mark McGwire’s “Andro” inspired bombs in 1999 at Fenway.
There’s no doubt that Hamilton is an inspiration to many, and his success is the ‘feel good story’ of the year. I just hope his accomplishments this season and in last night’s Home Run Derby are fueled by ONLY his strong work ethic and blessings from God… not from the performance enhancing drugs that MLB is unable to track with testing.
Please understand that I hope my suspicion is wrong, but too often, inspiring stories in baseball die under a cloud of asterisks and suspicion. Congratulations to Josh Hamilton and his performance in last night’s Derby. I just hope his success isn’t too good to be true.