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How does Josh Hamilton recover from this?

Jul 8, 2011, 2:29 AM EDT

Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers Getty Images

I feel terrible for the man who died in the stands at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday night and even worse for his young son.  But it’s impossible not to have equal sympathy for Josh Hamilton.

The foul ball that Hamilton threw into the stands is going to haunt the man for the rest of his life.  How will he be able to sleep tonight or any other night in the near future knowing that if he just threw the ball a little farther, some boy’s father would still be alive?

The answer is that he probably won’t.  And for this to happen to Hamilton of all ballplayers seems particularly sadistic.  Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, nearly lost his career to drugs before it even got started, and he only put his life back together by putting himself into the Lord’s hands.

And Hamilton still has his demons.  When it looked like he might slip back into drinking a couple of years ago, he swore off alcohol.  The Rangers, maybe sensing his fragility, celebrated with ginger ale after winning the ALDS and the ALCS in 2010.

One can only hope that Hamilton is able to put the incident behind him in the coming months, and that he has the strength to withstand those substances that may offer temporary relief but leave him far worse off for the long run.  Baseball certainly seems like a secondary concern at the moment, but the diamond is Hamilton’s safe haven and he’ll have the good fortune to be surrounded by teammates day in and day out.

The pain doesn’t figure to go away anytime soon.  But here’s hoping it only makes him stronger.

  1. purpleronin - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    If he finds himself taking it too hard he should perhaps seek advice on dealing with the guilt from former Laker Brian Shaw, who dealt with a similiar tradgedy years ago and has seemingly coped quite well considering. In the meantime, a little work on his throws from the outfield couldn’t hurt…….

    • florida727 - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:09 PM

      Not a bad post… right up until the asinine closing comment. What an idiot you have to be to make a remark like that in a situation like this.


      “…he only put his life back together by putting himself into the Lord’s hands.” Thanks for being bold enough to mention this, Matthew. It is exactly why Josh will get through this.

  2. ahemahem - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    No ill intent–trying to show some kindness, it backfires. Josh will need all the support he can get, and perhaps some of it will come as the community rallies around the bereaved family.

  3. bigleagues - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    Hey, I feel very sad for the child, but shouldn’t a fireman know the dangers of leaning out to far over a railing with a 20 foot drop? Shouldn’t ANY right thinking adult for that matter?

    It is most definitely NOT Josh Hamilton’s fault as the blogger intentionally or unintentionally implies.

    If I were the Rangers and any other operator for that matter, I would immediately institute a rule that no balls are to be thrown to a fan in an upper deck or in an area that is more than 8 feet from the playing field.

    • nixonotis - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:32 AM

      Are you dense? The implication wasn’t that Hamilton was ACTUALLY at fault, but rather he’d blame himself (and wouldn’t we all?) thinking that there must have been SOMETHING you could have done differently to have avoiding a tragic situation. As for your statement about a fireman knowing better, I am completely lost. He was trying to catch a foul ball. How many times have you seen someone fall onto the field, etc while reaching? Do you think he said, “fuck it, I can survive a 20 foot drop,” or maybe, just maybe, he happened to reach a little further than he should have and lost his balance? I doubt this was a calculated decision, but rather a perfect storm of many circumstances leading to a tragic situation. But blaming the dead father was a wonderful alternative. I’m sure his son would appreciate your sympathy followed by a critique of his recently deceased dad.

      • bigleagues - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:57 AM

        I’m not dense at all. NO baseball is worth risking your life for. What was this guy trying to prove? That he’s a great Dad by risking his life to get a baseball? Great. Now the kid is fatherless.

        I’ve seen this ridiculous hysteria grow from some different perspectives over the last 30 years You completely miss the point, so I’ll expand my comments to make the larger point.

        I worked in the front office of a baseball team. We CONSTANTLY had to deal with ADULTS who would show up at the park hours before a game and intercept players on the way from their cars or bus into the clubhouse. Those same ADULTS and more would also wait for an hour or two AFTER a game (and often after most of the ballpark staff had left) all to get autographs. During the game, the second an usher would turn their back or tend to someone in need – ADULTS would make a b-line to the side of the dugout and ASK for autographs, broken bats, balls, used batting gloves, etc . . .

        What does that have to do with anything?

        On two separate occasions, I’ve been sitting at MLB stadiums (Fenway and Shea) and had to catch an ADULT from falling onto CHILDREN in front of me because the ADULTS were attempting to catch a foul ball three rows ahead of them.

        I can’t even begin to put a number on the amount of times I’ve watched ADULTS race and push CHILDREN out of the way to get a stray foul ball on the concourse.

        This is CHILDISH behavior by these adults. Again I’ll say it, NO baseball is worth risking your life. There is no reason for Hamilton to blame himself. He tossed a ball towards the stands just like thousands of other baseball players do at every level do. He threw it short. If the people attempting to catch the ball were acting sanely, they would let the ball drop when its out of their reach.

        So I ask you, if the Father isn’t to blame for falling out of the stands attempting to catch a tossed baseball – who is? Hamilton? The Rangers? Did someone allegedly push the guy? Who?

        You know who else I don’t feel sorry for? The people sitting along 1B and 3B lines who get clocked by a foul tip because they aren’t paying attention to what’s happening in the game.

      • mccartywf1951 - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        I think that Bigleagues is dead on track — this doesn’t just happen at the upper levels of baseball. This type of behavor happen in all sports where it is more important that anything to be the one to catch the souviner ball or puck or bat it is insane. i was recently at an Los Angeles Angels game where a man of about 50 years dove to grab a foul ball and kncked over a young boy that hit his mouth on the concrete step and lost 2 front teeth. and the fool didn’t even catch the ball. i don’t blame the either of these men, and i hope the Team and the city will rally around the young boy and his mother as well as Josh Hamilton they all will need support in the days to come.

  4. metalhead65 - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    why should he feel guilty about anything? he was doing what ballplayers have done for years in tossing a ball in to the stands. it is not his fault the guy leaned over to far. whose to say the same thing would not have happened if a ball had been near the guy. he has nothing to feel guilty about.

    • visnovsky - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:38 AM

      Come on, just think about it. This is what he is thinking: if I don’t toss the ball, the guy doesn’t lean over too far and die; if I toss the ball farther, the guy doesn’t lean over to far and die; if I toss the ball somewhere else, the guy doesn’t lean over to far and die. Hamilton’s toss randomly lead to a guy’s death. Any person in his situation is second guessing themselves and definitely guilt ridden.

      • bigleagues - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        And again I reiterate, if I am Nolan Ryan on this day, I have already directed the manager that players will no longer toss baseballs into stands or concourses that are more than 8 feet from the playing field. Any player that ignores this will be fined or suspended.

        In fact, if Selig had a spine and any common sense, he’d issue a similar edict to ALL major league facilities.

        On the back of every ticket there is a disclaimer that limits the liability of the team and or facility in case of accidents. I’m willing to bet there are signs posted all over the place warning the people about leaning to far over the walls and railings. I’m also willing to bet that the family of this guy will find a way to sue the Rangers for negligence.

      • bigleagues - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        One more point on your statement . . . from my standpoint there is nothing random about this.

        EVERY single day in ballparks, stadiums and arenas across the country, athletes toss balls, batting gloves, wrist bands etc . . . into the crowd and people jump over seats, and or push into, shove or dive in front of other people to be the ‘one’ who got the item. It’s dumb and its not civil.

        This has been an increasingly dangerous phenomenon. To believe that the incident was ‘random’ is to ignore the cause and effect. It has nothing to do with Josh Hamilton or this poor guy who perished. It was BOUND to happen to someone – somewhere.

        So the question today shouldn’t be whether or not Josh Hamilton is going to fall off the wagon. That’s his problem. Not mine or yours. Rather the question is, are the Rangers or MLB going to take steps to prevent this from happening again? Are fans going to take a step back and take an honest look at themselves and stop bowling over other people ad placing themselves and others at risk of injury?

        Seriously what other aspect of American culture do we tolerate this sort of reckless abandon? Certainly it wasn’t funny a few years ago on Black Friday, when a several people were trampled over and sent to the hospital as the doors opened at a Long Island Walmart. Walmart had to answer to for their method of allowing a crowd to build up, then simply open the door like they were allowing a herd of cattle to stampede through the gates.

        Where is the demand that the Rangers and/or MLB take steps to prevent another tragedy like this from occurring?

      • cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        bigleagues, you make some really good points, but neither baseball nor any other business can protect their customers from irresponsible behavior. MLB changed their policy of not sharing foul balls and 3rd out balls with the fans as a gesture to try and take some of the sting out of the ’94 owners lockout.

        Unfortunately the fans who benefit the most from that policy are the rich people and their kids who can afford the expensive seats down near the field. So some teams like the Angels use CO2 powered air guns in order to propel free t-shirts up into the cheap seats, but this also causes wild scrambles that I’m surprised haven’t led to a fan or two going end over end out of the upper decks while scrambling for one.

        I’m sure that this ugly incident will now lead to a knee-jerk reaction on the part of MLB to go back to banning players and ballpark personnel from sharing foul balls and 3rd outs with the fans, but it is what it is.

        This incident though just further points out the lack of security in most major league ballparks, where “security” personnel are more like hospital candy-stripers than security personnel. Once everyone is seated, along about the 3rd inning the “security” people all disappear to the concession stands until the end of the game.

        If there would have been a security person near such a vulnerable spot, the likelihood of the man diving over the rail would never have been allowed to happen.

      • cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        “florida727 – Jul 8, 2011 at 4:16 PM
        Have to disagree with you “oldgator”. He only has one problem: he’s an @$$hole.”
        Agreed! I’ll second that too!!

      • bigleagues - Jul 9, 2011 at 1:36 AM


        I don’t know if you caught this in one of my posts but I worked in an upper level minor league front office. We dealt with similar issues, only with fewer people in the park.

        I’m with you on security. Most of those working security at major league facilities are game day jobs by retirees or people looking for extra income. More often than not, the ushers are relied on to enforce rules, something they do not want to do (unless its something really anti-social) with potential tips at stake. It’s only when an usher is ineffective that you see a couple of game day security thugs accompanied by a cop or two come over and resolve the situation.

        But for me, in situations like what occurred in Texas, I tend to view it as a cultural devolution. I don’t doubt that Mr Stone was a kind dedicate Father. But if we are to believe one report I read, it’s never a good idea to promise your son that you will score a baseball from his favorite MLB player (unless you are the clubhouse attendant) The odds of it happening are very slim and it really only sets up disappointment. And worse, as raw as this sounds, you might ed up dead or severely injured.

        I’ve literally been to thousands of baseball games between being a fan and in a professional capacity . . . and only a handful of times has ball tracked in my immediate vicinity.

        The culture needs to change. Ad it has to start with MLB and its member clubs.

  5. cup0pizza - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:39 AM


    • kiwicricket - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:25 AM

      You have a problem.

      • Old Gator - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:50 AM

        He has many problems.

      • florida727 - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:16 PM

        Have to disagree with you “oldgator”. He only has one problem: he’s an @$$hole.

    • nixonotis - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:34 AM

      Wow. Comments like this make me wish this site had a moderator to ban legitimately sick people like this. How can things like this go unpunished?

    • mercyflush - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:19 AM

      i’m just surprised cup0pizza made a comment on a non-phillies thread.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:36 PM

        In cup0pizza’s defense—yech, now I need a shower—he offensive to other teams, as well. He just trolls Phightins threads more than most others.

    • mgp1219 - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      if it happend to your father, you wouldn’t be posting moronic things like that. grow up!

  6. skerney - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    he is a very religious man. he’ll find solace where he needs to find it. i’m not religious but i know hamilton uses his faith to stay clean.

    • newpairofsox - Jul 8, 2011 at 7:40 AM

      To a brave man, good and bad luck are like his right and left hand. He uses both.

  7. hittfamily - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:14 AM

    What he should do is pray to the lord. Then when he is done wasting his time, he should should……

    I didnt know what to put. Almost anything seems more reasonable

    • nixonotis - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:36 AM

      As an atheist, I’m comfortable telling you that this is neither the time nor place to push your agenda on anyone else. Save it.

      • aceshigh11 - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:57 AM


        I can’t believe how many callous comments are already in this thread…I’ve found HBT to be relatively civil and sane compared to other political and music sites I post comments on, but I’m starting to re-think my assessment after this…

      • Old Gator - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:05 AM

        aces: all things considered, for an (inter)national blog this one isn’t bad at all. We’ve got only two or three recurring complete idiots here – Purdueman (whom Craig has banned now) and the moron in question, who I am going to guess is either an adolescent or a particularly severe case of arrested development. Fortunatey he or she has been around a lot less frequently since nauseating us all with his/her noxious comments about Gary Carter’s illness, but with any kind of luck the line has been pushed too far this time and Craig can slam the door here too.

      • ckg0913 - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        Let it go dude, sheesh.
        So what?
        “As an atheist.”
        How is that relevant, other than to start something?

        How about you stop pushing your own agenda.

        RIP to that poor man

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        I think you misunderstand what nixonotis was saying. If you read comment immediately above by hittfamily, you can see that it has clearly atheistic tones. I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, that nixonotis was merely saying that anti or pro religious overtones have no place in this discussion. He brought up the point that he is an atheist to illustrate that even though they may share somewhat of a similar ideology that this wasn’t the time to promote said ideology. By mentioning or implying that a similar belief structure is in place, it eliminates the possibility of hittfamily construing nixonotis’ comment as being geared toward the belief system rather than the untimely comment. Hence, nixonotis was not actually pushing his own agenda. If anything, it was quite the opposite.

      • hittfamily - Jul 18, 2011 at 9:02 AM

        Im a week late, but I feel the need to respond. I was neither being careless of calous. I was answering the question posed in the headline “How does Josh Hamilton Recover? Every other poster said pray to the lord, put your faith in god, ask for Jesus’ help etc. I was responding to these suggestions. I offered a differing opinion. I was mocking the posters, not Josh Hamilton or the family. I dont believe in divine intervention. Prayer will not solve the issues Josh will be plagued with. Counseling, grief therapy, medication, other proven scientific solutions would do far more good than praying the rosary, or bathing in holy water.

        People are welcome to disagree with me. I guess I’m not allowed to disagree with them though.

  8. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    This is terrible, first and foremost for the family affected by this incident. Hamilton will have to lean on his support network during the coming days, weeks, and even months. If he has managed to connect with other recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, he will know people who have dealt with tragedy in their lives and managed to stay sober. It seems like a simple concept, but Hamilton needs to remember that there is nothing that a drink or a drug will make better.

  9. APBA Guy - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    For Hamilton, this is certainly a time that tests his faith and his support network. On one level he’ll know that what happened isn’t his fault. But late at night, and in flashes of doubt, on a visceral level some element of self-doubt, of blame, will arise. For an addict or troubled person already taking painful daily steps towards sobriety there are always obstacles. This is a particularly large one. But as the 12 step guys say, the most important thing is to work the steps. In Hamilton’s case that means to keep doing what is working for him now: talk it out, seek solace in those who care for him and what’s best for him, and try, as best as he can, to place the event in perspective. One of the steps calls for making amends, which implies blame, but is really about taking responsibility. This step (or its equivalent in whatever system he is using) will be a particular struggle because the key is always proportionality: what is the proper level of responsibility. As in many things, time is a great healer, but working the support system, relying on your core beliefs, all these can reduce the impact of the grief, shorten the time required for recovery, and allow him to persevere on his personal journey.

  10. diehardcubbiefan4life - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    This is horrible, not only for the poor mans family but for Josh as well. Stay strong Josh. Just as the Good Lord helped you overcome your demons, he will help you overcome this and bless you and the mans family.

  11. buckeye2280 - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I think someone just needs to be there for Josh and let him know that the best way to honor the family is to not let it ruin him. To honor the guy would be to continue on the straight and narrow doing what he is doing and trying to be the best he can day in and day out.

  12. mgp1219 - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    The best thing Hamilton could do is to go to the funeral. As sad and unfortunate as this incident is, he and the family of the accident victim probably need to console each other for closure. Very sad for all involved.

    • anythingbutyanks - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      Might want to make sure he is welcome first.

  13. nwg369 - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    This is what happens when you replace blow with Jesus

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      What in the hell is that suppose to mean? Are you seriously trying to imply that giving up drugs and this guys death is somehow related or are you trying to make an off color joke about a tragic event?

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Looks like we have a new troll.

  14. spudchukar - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    As Kurt Vonnegut tried to explain, we need a little less love, and a lot more Common Decency.

  15. margaret7777 - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    A good thing for Josh to do might be to keep in touch with the son. Play ‘big brother’ to him if the son and his family would allow it.

    I’m not a religious person per se, but, I’ve noticed over the years that things often seem to happen for a reason, a reason that is not always immediately apparent. Perhaps Josh can have some kind of beneficial impact on the son’s life.

    • nixonotis - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:07 PM

      I understand what you’re saying here, but the suggestion that this tragedy happened for a reason leaves me feeling quite uncomfortable. Not sure the man’s son will be thinking that as he grows up without a father.

      • margaret7777 - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        I hear you, but we have no idea what kind of father this man was either. I hear that he was a firefighter. Perhaps he would have died fighting a fire next week – who knows?

        A lot of kids grow up without one or the other parent. Obviously it’s very sad, but this is not unusual.

        All you can really do after a tragedy is carry on making the best of things when it comes right down to it. The son growing up feeling bitter will not do him any good, that’s for certain!

      • cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        The best man at my wedding was an identical twin and I asked him one time what it was like growing up as an identical twin and he said: “I don’t know; that’s all me and my brother knew”.

        The same holds true of kids who prematurely lose their parents. Kids are very resilient, and once the grief wears off and reality sets in, the boy will adjust and his life will follow the new course that God has laid out for him. As Josh Hamilton was quoted as saying today: “it’s part of God’s plan”.

    • margaret7777 - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:17 PM

      So buy the kid off? That’s really weak IMO.

      As far as reminding the family about “what happened” – I suspect they will be reminded about it almost every day anyway.

      • cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 8:01 PM

        that wouldn’t be in any way “buying the kid off”. Hamilton doesn’t owe the kid or his family ANYTHING. It’s very clear on the back of every ballpark ticket (which is a legally binding contract), that by your voluntary admission into ANY ballpark or stadium, you are assuming the risk of accidents associated with the game being played.

        What it would be though is a nice gesture to acknowledge the families sudden and permanent loss of income in order to be able to secure their child’s future, but that will be taken care of regardless because there’s no way that the Rangers will let this get to court now that the Rangers have admitted negligence by removing the protective covering from where the man landed.

  16. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Whoever you are, seriously? You are going to jack Cur’s handle with a subtle tweak and post nonsense about two consistently quality posters.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      That was certainly bizarre. Ok, it appears my comment makes no sense. However, when I was posting it there was a comment from somebody who was using the handle Cur86, clearly jacking the real Cur’s handle who was posting nonsense. After I hit post comment, the offending comment was gone.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        Maybe Craig removed it? Or was it that curr68 troll?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 8, 2011 at 8:35 PM

        No it was Cur86. He has some posts above now that are reasonable. But there was one where he was insulting you and Gator. I mean right after I hit “post comment” it was gone. I don’t understand why somebody would take the handle Cur86 to begin with, though.

      • cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        Why not? It’s a free country and imitation is after all, the sincerest form of flattery! >-)

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:39 PM

        Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery—at least in clicheville—but intentional misrepresentation and deception is weak.

      • cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:54 PM

        What’s weak is getting hair implants and/or wearing a toupee to cover ones’ pattern baldness like you do, Utley. Like you don’t think women can’t see through your thinning hair?

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:20 AM

        Um…right…I am actually Chase Utley. I was commenting here from the dugout at the Bank during a key game with the Braves. You’re apparently a moron who likes to automatically give yourself a thumbs up immediately after posting your comments. You know where you can stick that thumb.

        By the way, I’m willing to bet that Utley would have much less of a problem getting the ladies than you would.

      • cur86 - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:27 AM

        You’re Chase Utley? No kidding! What a coincidence because I’m Al Gore! 😛 Tipper kicked me out of the house recently, but that was because I’m getting ALL that I can handle! 😉

  17. madocyankfan - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I didn’t think of it that way. Nicely written post. God bless to all those involved in this tragedy.

  18. winstonhussein - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    The best thing for Josh to do is come to a MLB blog and read up on the opinions of amateur psychologists to learn how to overcome beginning the series of events that led to someone’s ultimate demise.

  19. cur86 - Jul 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    You guys want to hear something REALLY stupid that’s likely to hang the Rangers in a court of law?

    I heard Nolan Ryan interviewed on the radio this afternoon and he said that the stadium had “a rubberized type surface” that covered the entire area below where the man fell to his death, but that the Rangers had it removed because too many fans were jumping off the next level (where the man fell), onto to scramble for batting practice and game balls hit there!

    In other words, the Rangers are admitting that they knew of the potential hazard, had a protective surface over it to protect the fans, and then purposefully removed it. If I’m on that jury? Guilty! Guilty!! Guilty as charged!!! Total negligence!

    • bigleagues - Jul 9, 2011 at 1:22 AM

      I wish I could say that Nolan Ryan is learning on the job, but he has been an owner and operator of minor league franchises for about 20 years. That is most certainly a faux paux on his part.

      It’s all perception at this point so far as the Stone family goes. What’s worse is there is no way the Rangers can look good in this unless they create the trust fo the boy, fly the flags at half staff, request that the media stop playing the video, etc . . . and really the Rangers did nothing wrong as operators.

  20. cur86 - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    What’s really weak is getting hair implants and/or wearing a toupee to cover ones’ pattern baldness like you do, Utley. Like you don’t think women can’t see through your thinning hair?

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