I had a post ready to go regarding the events and the fallout from last night's otherwise forgettable three-hour affair, but that post fell into a thresher maw and it's going to take a bit of time to resuscitate it. With that being the case, I wanted to go ahead and try and make a little bit of sense of this week's increasingly bizarre Josh Hamilton story.
On Tuesday night, Josh Hamilton pulled himself out of the game due to sinus issues that reportedly left him with what was described at the time as "blurry vision."
The following morning, Jean-Jacques Taylor pilliored Hamilton for his decision to remove himself from the game, citing the fact that he had just appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" the previous night and contrasting Hamilton's call against a sub-100 percent Adrian Beltre demanding his way into the lineup, and ultimately proclaiming that Hamilton lacked "mental toughness." This struck me as a rather odd criticism at the time, considering that (a) vision issues are a significant effectiveness/safety problem for any athlete, and (b) a player who lacked "mental toughness" presumably wouldn't have played last October in the kind of physical shape that Hamilton was in at the time.
Thursday morning, Gil LeBreton wrote a cryptic column that seemed to hint at the front office and/or players taking some level of exception to Hamilton withdrawing himself from Tuesday night's game. On Friday morning's Ben & Skin Show, there was a discussion -- and I did not personally hear this live, so I'm being careful here -- about how one of Hamilton's teammates "confronted" him after he removed himself from the game on Tuesday, and some further discussion about how the clubhouse was beginning to grow weary of the distractions and everything else that comes into the picture when you're talking about Josh.
Before Thursday night's game, Josh Hamilton was pulled from lineup consideration when this happened during pre-game warmups:
"We hit him a ground ball and he'd catch and spin and lost his balance. We're not messing with that," [Ron] Washington said. "We hit a fly ball and he misjudged it. We're not messing with that. We got him off the field."
Later that night, more quotes surfaced suggesting that there was nothing wrong with his vision at all:
"Everybody in my family's been sick," Hamilton said. "The last five or six days I've been battling something. Every time I get sick it turns into a sinus infection, and that causes me to get off kilter, off balance. If your head's a little stopped up, you can get a little starry-eyed, dizzy. It's not a big deal. I had a little of that earlier in the year."
Hamilton stressed that there's nothing wrong with his vision.
"My eyesight is good," he said. "Got that checked and it's 20/15. It used to be 20/10 but I'm getting older."
And last night, we received an update about Hamilton traveling back to Texas to undergo more testing (as doctors had not yet uncovered the root cause of his issues), as well as a strange remark from Washington:
"We're going to do all we can to ease his mind," Washington said. "Once he has peace of mind, he'll be fine."
Asked what he meant by "peace of mind," Washington said that once the tests are over and the medical crew can explain what's been happening, the veteran center fielder will be able to deal with it.
I don't quite know what to make of all of this. I'm not sure that any of us really do. I don't imagine that he would be sent home to undergo a more thorough battery of tests if there was total confidence in this merely being a short-term sinus issue, and I suspect that the fear of this being something more serious has Josh in a troubled state of mind right now. I also wonder about the clubhouse situation, and if there's any truth to this word of Josh being "confronted" -- even if it was as simple as one of his teammates querying him on his story -- and the players beginning to harbor doubts about Josh's level of dedication, then you kind of imagine that he no longer gets the clear benefit of the doubt from his teammates when problems like this arise.
That can't possibly be a good thing. Nothing is good about any of this. I just wish it would go away.