Well, a lot happened while I spent an enjoyable weekend in Yakima at a reunion of the first newspaper that employed me, the Yakima Herald-Republic. (More on that later, including some photos of an outing to see the Yakima Bears take on the Boise Hawks in a Northwest League thriller).
This is a distraction the Rangers hardly need as they find themselves in the heart of the pennant race, having just taken two of three from the Angels to pull within 3 1/2 games of first place in the AL West while moving into a tie for the wild-card lead.
But this is deeper than just a baseball story with pennant-race ramifications. It’s a man’s life at stake, a man with a family that has suffered with him before. I can’t help but feel empathy for him, and for them.
Hamilton seems to have handled this latest incident in an upfront and properly contrite manner, and I have no problem with the Rangers’ decision to give him another chance. But it’s another reminder of the insidious nature of addictions, and how even a feel-good story like that of Hamilton, who wrote a book chronicling how he overcame his addictions, is always just one temptation away from a relapse.
“Around the league, be careful because we’re going to hit people,” he said. “I don’t care if I get suspended because I need to protect my players.”
And also: “If I see someone hit my player, and I know they hit him on purpose it’s two guys going down. I don’t care if I get suspended.”
So guess who’s in town tonight to open a three-game series against the Mariners? Why, Ozzie Guillen’s out-for-redemption White Sox. Should be interesting to see if anyone gets hit.
Yes, I know it’s a very small sample size, but in nine games with Cincinnati, Balentien is 8-for-20 (.400) with a homer and five RBI, a .520 on-base percentage and .600 slugging percentage (for a 1.120 OPS). He’s driven in five runs in 25 plate appearances after having 13 RBI in 170 plate appearances this year with the Mariners, for whom he hit .213 with a .271 on-base percentage and .355 slugging percentage.
Let’s check back in a month and see where he stands.