[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Josh_Hamilton_2008_%282%29.jpg”]
Josh Hamilton has openly discussed his struggles with chewing tobacco addiction in the past. And now, after becoming the newest member of baseball’s $100 million contract club, Hamilton confirmed to “The Dan Patrick Show” that it was indeed his attempt to quit chewing tobacco that caused his slump down the stretch and in the playoffs.When asked about his poor second-half (.259, 16 HR) and his abysmal performance during A.L. Wild Card game (struck out twice on just three pitches and hit into a double-play) Hamilton explained by saying, “I quit chewing tobacco, plain and simple…I’ve been chewing for almost 11, 12 years.”
He said he suffered physically from withdrawals “for about a week,” but admitted the bigger issue was the “mental thing he had to get through” from no longer playing the game with a wad of chew in his mouth.
Rangers owner Nolan Ryan criticised Hamilton after the season for not waiting until the off-season to quit tobacco. However Hamilton told Dan Patrick that he needed to do it during the season because if he could “do it during the season being around guys doing it all the time, [he] knew [he] would be OK.”
For a player that has struggled with addictions for a decade, the Angels are taking a big risk. And unlike his other addictions, this is one Hamilton needed on the field. It will be interesting to see how he handles this if he gets off to a bad start in Los Angeles.