Its been an interesting few days in the hobby as a whole, and in the Josh Hamilton segment of it as well.
First, the obvious hobby news. Topps gets an exclusive license from the MLB. As an avid hockey collector, I am not really looking forward to how this is going to turn out. Upper Deck has had an exclusive in the hockey world for quite some time, and it has a lot of drawbacks. Simply put – UD seems to have gotten lazy with hockey. There are tons of mistakes, which just don’t seem as prevalent in the other sports where there is competition. I hope this doesn’t happen with Topps and baseball.
As for UD continuing to produce sets featuring players without logos – its an option, but not necessarily a good option. In The Game has produced quality hockey sets without a license for years, but they just don’t have the same provenance as the licensed sets. The die-hards appreciate and collect them, but they don’t catch on with the mainstream.
Moving on from the hobby news, which right now is just speculation because no one really knows how it will turn out to Josh Hamilton news. Even though he hasn’t been hitting very well, there has been plenty of news floating about. First, he reveals that he was taking medication for ADD which affected his appetite and caused him to lose about 20 pounds. He’s gained some back, and stopped taking the medication.
The bigger news, in some circles was the publication of photos of Hamilton partying it up in a bar in Arizona during the off-season. The Texas Rangers Blog summarizes the story quite well. It happened back in January, and Hamilton came clean to the important people in his life immediately after. He didn’t take any drugs, which would have resulted in him likely failing an MLB-mandated drug test, but he did go out and get drunk. And do body shots. And be photographed doing both of these things.
I’m disappointed, but not stunned. Obviously, the fairy tale would continue if Hamilton resisted temptation at every turn, and led a monk’s life from the time he stopped taking drugs. I’m not surprised it didn’t turn out that way, though. I don’t have any history of alcohol or drug problems, and I find it pretty easy to have someone twist my arm into a few drinks, and then a few more, and then a few more. Its a slippery slope.
I’m happy Hamilton dealt with the issues quickly to alert those who needed to know, and hope that he has taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again. As much as athletes seem like superheroes at times, its important to remember that they still have their foibles: “I don’t feel like I’m a hypocrite. I feel like I’m human.”