Josh Hamilton has reportedly admitted using cocaine and alcohol recently. He came forward of his own volition. He met with the powers that be at the MLB headquarters on Park Avenue in New York City earlier this week.
Some reports conclude that Josh will be suspended for eighty games based on their interpretation of the labor agreement between MLB and the Players Union governing such things. Others point out that the eighty-game suspension might hinge on many factors – Josh was suspended as a minor leaguer in the past. He was suspended before the current agreement. There are many et ceteras and caveats applied to the assumpiton of a suspension.
So many details need to be finessed about Hamilton's relapse, including the fact that he came forward and admitted it. The arbiter of all this will be the new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. He has a chance to start his reign by sending a message of how he will handle players who violate the league policy on drug abuse.
To interrupt this story, did you hear the little-reported news that MLB is shuttering its "Fan Cave"? Who cares? Well maybe Angels fans should care. The Fan Cave was the brainchild of Tim Brosnan, MLB's Vice President of Business. With little interaction on the Social Media front, one would imagine that the four-year Fan Cave experiment might have many avenues to explore in expanding MLB's reach. Why close it now? Well, Brosnan has left MLB after over twenty years of success. Why? Brosnan opposed new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in running for that very office and lost. Manfred has made one of his first acts as commissioner the shuttering of the pet project of the man who dare challenge him.
Why does this matter to Angels fans? Because seven owners also opposed Rob Manfred succeeding Bud Selig and sided with another candidate, Tom Werner, for baseball commissioner last year. One of those opponents was Arte Moreno, a holdout until the very end.
The new commissioner could make an example of Hamilton and suspend him without pay for eighty games. One consideration that will go through the mind of Rob Manfred on this will be the $12 Million that Arte Moreno would not have to pay Hamilton during that suspension - money that could be used to add heavy artillery at the trade deadline, or just go back into Arte's pocket.
A lenient approach to Hamilton will hand the star-crossed outfielder and all his problems right back into Moreno's lap in May after Josh recovers from shoulder surgery. Manfred will look like a man sympathetic to the disease of addiciton when he will really be acting out a ruthless Machivellian exercise of complete power over an old foe.
Will Arte be made an example of for all who would consider crossing the new commissioner? Stay tuned.