Upon defeating Tampa Tuesday night to capture their first ever post-season series, the Texas Rangers’ decision to douse themselves and outfielder/MVP candidate Josh Hamilton in ginger ale rather the customary champagne was a gesture that “oozes of unparalleled goodness” gushed Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Pealman. And while I don’t wish to challenge Pearlman’s assessment of the Rangers’ “family-like collegiality”, there’s something curious about lauding efforts to soak Hamilton in a substance the SI columnist freely admits consists of “carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate [preservative] caramel color.”
I have no interest in mocking Hamilton’s attempts at recovery or finding salvation ; there will be ample opportunity to do that the next time Deadspin depicts him nearly comatose at a lap dance emporium. But I don’t think we can afford to be nearly so cavalier about the chemical contents in Canada Dry, nor can we say for sure what the long-term impact of exposure to such substances really means. As unsettling the thought may be of Josh Hamilton doing rails off the top step of the Rangers dugout, cheered on by a coterie of adult entertainers, is that really such a bad thing compared to Cirrohosis or Parkinson’s? Do we really want an otherwordly talent like Hamilton to end up as the Ken Caminiti of Ginger Ale?
In the unlikely event the Rangers advance past the Yankees and contend for their first World Series title, I strongly urge Texas’ new ownership to reconsider their clubhouse celebrations. Given that alcoholic beverages and Canada Dry pose separate but equally dangerous health risks for Hamilton and his colleagues, I propose the Rangers players simply cover themselves in their own urine. Though I can’t think of any reasons why this would be safe or pleasant, television viewers around the world would love to see Joe Buck squiriming thru such a ritual.