Over the years, the LA Times’ T.J. Simers has made a (low) art form of consistently baiting the likes of Jeff Kent, Jim Mora and Dwight Howard, though it is fair to say the columnist must’ve been rubbing his hands with glee upon learning OF Josh Hamilton had signed a 5 year, $125 million contract with Angels prior to the 2013 season. Hamilton’s widely publicized religious beliefs either make him a role model or an object of ridicule, usually depending on his performance at the time (or whether or not you’re a Rangers fan). Even before tonight’s 0-5 outing in a 7-5 win at Chicago dropped Hamilton’s batting average to .206 (.612 OPS, .267 OBP), it would an understatement to say Simers was circling overhead. What follows might be Simers’ first demolition of Hamilton (“at least Dwight Howard works up a sweat…Hamilton comes across like the poster child for every athlete who knows he has guaranteed money coming”), but barring a sudden trade, suspension or retirement (of either party), it probably won’t be the last.
“I hear it from the stands every night,” Hamilton says. “You have to come to the understanding that people like to bring up your weaknesses and failures and throw them in your face.
“But it doesn’t get to me what anyone says. When you have the mind-set of what I have been forgiven for already, these people, these human beings bringing up things that God has already forgiven me for, it has no effect on me whatsoever.
“I will never ever satisfy or make 80% of the population understand me, love me or care anything for me. They will have no feel for me or understand what I stand for, which is my relationship with the Lord.”
The Angels signed him to hit baseballs. The facts are sometimes blunt, but most fans probably care more about his swing than his relationship with the Lord.
“I understand,” Hamilton said. “We’re all different. It depends on your starting point, and mine is the Bible.”
Given that context, he had dropped below the Methuselah line before being motivated by Page 2.
“Does it mention anywhere in the Bible,” I asked, “what it takes to hit more home runs?”
“It’s important to me to do well and that’s why I work hard to improve every day,” he said. “But when the game is over I stop thinking about it.”
If only it was so easy for Angels fans.