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Angels Fans Loving or Hating Josh Hamilton

Awaiting word on a suspension...

Lead by example?
Lead by example?
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

We know a few things and speculate about a few things.

How we react to these things depends on who we are.

It would be easy to say "We are Angels fans" but this is a deeply divided community of Anaheim.

We know that Josh Hamilton met with MLB officials in New York City yesterday about a disciplinary matter. That is all that has been confirmed.

Some Angels fans want to cut him from the team immediately. Others though, they don't even want stories about this meeting being posted on the internet. In this era we live in of immediate, reflexive stridency, both sides thump their chests. In between the extremes are those lamenting the disease of addiction and others calculating how much payroll the team will save - all of the above in different levels of denial.

But back up to last week.

It was announced that, rehabbing his injury, Josh was not going to be at Spring Training. He was at a ranch in Houston. His wife was in Orange County filming a reality television show. Players rehabbing injuries do so at the team's training facility.

Everyone acted like this was normal. This was not normal at all. And yet - not a peep from the beat reporters whose access to the team - and hence their jobs - depends on being suckups. First day on the job you find everyone cuts off their "nose for news" in Tempe and Anaheim. No national media gives a hoot about the Halos so there was not a single speculation about the reasons behind the utter weirdness of Josh's situation.

Of course - if any of the local media were to have speculated about the reason for Josh's unique approach, well... the scolds fly out of the woodwork to shame any speculation about Josh or to rage against his very existence. And every "Get Well" platitude is smothered with a tabulation of what he is costing Arte each day. More denial waiting to be unleashed.

When enough was enough for this blogger I lashed out at Josh for the special treatment on Saturday (LINK TO ARTICLE). Remember when his Rangers teammates celebrated their pennant with ginger ale on his behalf - I was one of the cranks pointing out that the team would have never foregone champagne on behalf of a sober bench player. And in true fashion, when the Angels celebrated their division title last season, Josh left the game early "for physical therapy" and was not there to for the beer-and-bubbly dousings. Always seemingly just aloof enough that no discussion of him can ever be "right", HamBone manages to divide without ever conquering.

That screed I wrote against his aloof retreat away from his teammates never even entertained the notion that Josh had relapsed, which has clearly been the case as we now know. The beat writers missed this too. Nobody got the story right until the LA Times reported the first murky facts yesterday afternoon about the coming discipline. The media filled in the story all day. The defenders of Josh railed about support, the detractors raged about spent monies.

More news may come out today. And here we sit, still divided about a player who himself is even more deeply split into two.