MLB Rumors: Texas Rangers Outfielder Josh Hamilton Suffering From Tobacco Addiction

By Bryn Swartz

Texas Rangers fans have grown concerned about the performance of outfielder Josh Hamilton, as the former league MVP has gone from the best player in baseball through the first three months of the season to one of the worst players in baseball over the last month.

In fact, his slump is bad enough that Rangers fans have even started booing Hamilton during games.

According to CBSSports’s Jon Heyman, one of the main reasons for Hamilton’s struggles is his inability to stop chewing tobacco.

If you know anything about Hamilton and his story, you know that he has overcome many difficult struggles throughout his career, including a serious drug addiction that plagued his career after he was selected with the first overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft.

He’s now a born again Christian who has written a tremendous autobiography (called Beyond Belief, and you should go buy it now) about his life, and he’s been nearly perfect at avoiding drugs and alcohol since his life was turned around. In fact, the Texas Rangers chose to celebrate both American League pennants without the use of champagne in the celebration because of Hamilton’s choice to avoid drinking.

So you wouldn’t think that chewing tobacco would be too difficult for Hamilton. It is, however, as he has reportedly tried to kick the habit since last year.

A report in Hardball Talk last month said that Hamilton has tried using toothpicks treated with tea tree oil, gum, or sunflower seeds instead of tobacco.

But he still chews, and Hamilton says he feels as if he is being punished by God for his inability to stop chewing tobacco.

“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.”

Personally, I cannot possibly have more respect for Josh Hamilton. I think the absolute world of him as a baseball player but more so as a person. I really hope he can overcome his addiction, and as a Philadelphia Phillies fan who knows that my team isn’t making the postseason, I’m rooting for Texas and Hamilton to take home the World Series title this year.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.

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