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Josh Hamilton reveals “mystery issue” is chewing tobacco

Aug 3, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Josh Hamilton AP AP

Josh Hamilton has yet to reveal the nature of the mystery issue he’s repeatedly made cryptic comments about for the past week, but Jon Heyman of reports that the former MVP’s inability to quit chewing tobacco is the source.

Hamilton unsuccessfully tried to quit last year and then went public with a follow-up effort last month, but apparently it didn’t take.

Considering how open he’s been about the chewing tobacco habit in the past it seems a little odd that he’d be so cryptic about the situation this time around, particularly since his comments led to speculation about a variety of potential off-field issues and caused both manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels to address the situation.

Here’s the initial Hamilton comments that started all the rumors and speculation last week:

I’ve been shown a lot of things over the past week. There’s disobedience and there’s obedience to God. I’ve been being disobedient. It may be a small thing to you, but it’s a big thing to him. There’s consequences. It’s like a father and a kid. There are disciplines. You guys can chew on that and think about it.

I suppose “you guys can chew on that” was a hint. Or maybe not. And then last night Hamilton declined to reveal any details, saying “people are not going to understand” and “it’s nobody’s business.”

Hamilton has been in an extended slump at the plate, going from the best player in baseball early this season to hitting just .201 with 59 strikeouts and a .674 OPS in 49 games since June 1 and .178 since July 1. He’s shown some signs of life recently, going 2-for-5 with four RBIs last night and 6-for-19 (.316) with three extra-base hits in his last four games.

UPDATE: Hamilton issued the following statement:

Due to the speculation that occurred from my recent comments, I felt it was important to clarify what the “issue” was to which I was referring–both personally and professionally. The issue is “discipline.” Professionally, it’s been plate discipline. Personally, it’s been being obedient to the Lord in quitting chewing tobacco. I was hesitant to address the tobacco once again, because it’s an area that I’ve struggled with trying to quit in the past. I wanted to have some time of success “under my belt” before addressing again publicly, but feel I haven’t been given that option with all of the speculating out there as to what the “mystery issue” was. But there you have it. Discipline. Hebrews 12:4-5 and John 3:30.

  1. thesixersbench - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Everybody in the know was aware of this for weeks. Guy has some serious demons and will continue to struggle with them, but I wish him the best. An extraordinary talent, but not someone I would invest heavily in. The risk/reward with this one is off the charts.

    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      “in the know” What are you effing talking about? What a moron. Shut up and get back in the basement. You truly want us to believe that a two month batting slump is chewing tobacco? This is dude is banging groupies three at a time on the road and his sobriety coach told his wife. Nolan knows this guy is more trouble than he’s worth.

      • thesixersbench - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Your diction belies your intelligence.

        Tell me, how does it feel to roll out of bed at noon every day?

  2. buddysguys - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    this guy is such a pu**y

  3. yahmule - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    We knew about the injury variable and the possible relapse variable. This year, he added the hit like Babe Ruth for two months and then hit like Timmy Lupus for two months variable. Who was the last free agent to combine this much talent with this many red flags?

  4. bowwserr - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    deathmonkey, quitting tobacco multiple times isn’t quitting multiple times. It’s trying and ultimately failing lol. You never completely cure an addiction; it’ll always be there. kudos to Josh for fighting his. Im tryin to quit smoking, and it is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do

    • nixonotis - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      Struggled with cigarettes for years, but I finally have my first extended run of success by using the electronic smokes. Not recommending that any non-smoker try them out, but for someone struggling to quit the real thing, electronic cigarettes sure beat the alternative.

      On the other hand, I more or less replaced one habit with another (albeit much less dangerous) one. Good luck!

  5. vette7274 - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    My God,,, leave him alone and let him play ball!

    • yahmule - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:46 PM

      Yeah, everybody. Stop forcing Josh to make cryptic comments and then clarify them a few days later in a way that is certain to induce skepitical reactions. What the hell is wrong with you people?

  6. biffnasty - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Seriously? Really? What a puss

  7. drewzducks - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    The real issue is rather than chewing it he’s decided to snort it up his nose.

    • raysfan1 - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      Powdered tobacco snuff? How 18th century of him.

      • drewzducks - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM

  8. downhillrider - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    i like this guy and I hope he can stay on top of his addictions but from a baseball standpoint if anyone gives him more than a 2-3 yr deal they are foolish.

  9. fincity305 - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Bringing up religion at this point is the ultimate excuse at this point, you stupid non collegiate athlete.. Own up to not being able to be a complete professional, stupid!

  10. bobhpine - Aug 3, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Mystery solved! Hooray!

    What a tool. Multi millionaire athletically gifted superstar is “struggling” with chewing tobacco? Dude take a drive to north St Louis or any bad part of town. I’ll save my sympathy for people with real struggles. This guy should start a club with Drew Brees for recovering douchebags.

  11. brenenostler - Aug 3, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Props to the guy that said “Mark my words, he’s gay” the other day. You sure nailed it.

    • Marty - Aug 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      That was me, and I was being facetious.

      Still, tobacco = disobedience to Gawd? LOL.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 4, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        If tobacco = disobedience to Gawdm then what about the evil weed?

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Yeah…but I still thought it was funny brenenostler. Thanks for bringing it up again. It made me laugh this time as well.

  12. jimeejohnson - Aug 4, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Gawdm = God damn!

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