The following are words that might not be too popular in the Metroplex or Orange County, and have rarely been spoken by those who think they know or who like to take jabs at one of the more intriguing players in the game:
Take a bow, C.J. Wilson.
His ballclub and its owner, on the other hand? They’re no angels.
The Ceej has freely spoken his mind, again, and what came out of his mouth this time was perfect.
Tired of seeing friend and teammate Josh Hamilton cast aside by their employer, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and owner Arte Moreno, after admitting to a relapse with cocaine and alcohol, Wilson stuck it to The Man when asked about the Hamilton-Angels saga.
“If Josh were hitting .300 with 35 home runs a year, what’s the situation?” Wilson said to the Orange County Register. “If you’re good, you get away with everything. That’s all there is to it.”
C.J., as Rangers and Angels fans well know, can have trouble throwing a strike. Not here, even if it wasn’t well-received by Moreno. And, apparently, it wasn’t.
The Angels are looking to rid themselves of a player in his mid-30s who is on the decline. That player just happens to be owed $83 million over this season and the next two by a contending team that could use the money at the trade deadline and in the off-season.
Were Hamilton still one of the game’s most feared hitters, there’s no way the contending Angels would be taking the same tack.
They would be compassionate. They would be patient. They would gladly shove Collin Cowgill and Kole Calhoun to the bench the moment Hamilton’s shoulder and mind were deemed ready for a major league game.
So this isn’t a case of C.J. being C.J. You know, the guy who talks and tweets about his awesomeness.
This is a case of C.J. being a decent human being while Moreno and other club officials have gotten ugly. The right thing to do during a situation like this, be it a friend or a complete stranger who is battling the illness of addiction, is to be compassionate.
Instead, Hamilton is being trashed publicly by the people who were thrilled to offer him a five-year, $125 million contract.
Moreno and crew threw a very public welcome-to-Anaheim news conference in December 2012 at Downtown Disneyland after Hamilton accepted his take-it-or-leave-it offer.
Moreno, who does his best to hide from the media and gleefully took from them one of the best press boxes in the game, beamed as he talked about what a wonderful person Hamilton was.
Great story. Great family. No worries whatsoever about the two public relapses with alcohol and the daily risk of a relapse with drugs.
What the Angels have never fully grasped, or maybe accepted, is how fragile Hamilton is. He relies on his faith to give him strength, but he always needed more with the Rangers.
The club built a support system for him, with Johnny Narron and Shayne Kelley serving as full-time accountability partners.
Hamilton needed frequent pep talks from manager Ron Washington just to get him in the lineup. Hamilton needed constant attention from the medical staff to be convinced that he was healthy enough to play.
Unable to regularly get good sleep and often ill because his immune system had been weakened by previous drug abuse, he occasionally slept on the couch in Washington’s office before games.
When Hamilton bolted for the Angels, there was a belief that club morale would pick up because of all the drama he caused.
Hamilton hasn’t received anywhere close to the same level of support from the Angels, and he is hurt by it. The club didn’t issue him a locker this spring as he recovered in the Houston area from shoulder surgery, a procedure they finally deemed necessary in early February after initially balking.
Foolishly, they let him rehab on his own.
And they were the ones who first confirmed that Hamilton had relapsed while knowing full well that the Joint Drug Agreement in the Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for confidentiality.
And now comes the Angels’ latest fumble, with Moreno saying that Hamilton has violated the terms of his contract and that he doesn’t expect him to play again for the Angels. This comes even though the players association and an arbitrator said that Hamilton didn’t violate his treatment program, and after the union stated that the CBA and JDA trump all language in players’ contracts.
Hamilton finally met with manager Mike Sciosicia, bench coach Dino Ebel and a handful of players, including Wilson, as the Angels had an off day Thursday in Houston, where Hamilton continues to rehab his shoulder and his addiction. Hamilton was a no-show last week at Globe Life Park, in part because the Angels have been so nasty and also because under the terms of the divorce papers he and his wife, Katie, have filed in Tarrant County, according to the Dallas Morning News, he isn’t allowed to stay in their Westlake home.
The widely held belief is that Angels will do all they can to buy out Hamilton. Moreno wants his money back, apparently even if it causes a rift with the union. And all that anti-Josh talk from others in the front office? The belief is that it’s being orchestrated by Moreno.
The players are said to be split on wanting Hamilton to come back, with those hesitant knowing he hasn’t been productive and believing his return would create a distraction.
Wilson is all for Hamilton’s return, as his friend and as the Angels’ players rep to the union. Foremost, he wants his friend and teammate to be well again.
Wilson is being compassionate toward another human being. Those who took the risk of signing that human being for $125 million? They’re no angels.
Take a bow, C.J. Wilson.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760