There’s a time and a place for analysis in sports, and then there’s what’s going on over Josh Hamilton’s injury yesterday. If you didn’t see it, Hamilton tried to tag and score from third on a foul pop along the third base side. When third base coach Dave Anderson saw no one covering home, he sent Hamilton, who slid head first trying to avoid Victor Martinez’s tag. In the process, he broke a bone in his shoulder and will now be out 6-8 weeks. Almost immediately, the talking heads on ESPN started pointing fingers.
Opinions ranged from “Dave Anderson is an idiot” to “Josh Hamilton should’ve ignored the command.” Come on people. This is baseball! Players and coaches make split second decisions and sometimes injuries happened. That both of these occurred on the same play has opened up the flood gates for second guessers. Here’s my guess: Had Hamilton scored and not been hurt (and it appeared Martinez might have missed the tag), ESPN would be talking about his “gutsy” call and the play would be #1 on Diamond Gems during Baseball Tonight. Had Hamilton refused Anderson’s command, folks would be talking about how the former drug-addicted now MVP Hamilton had gotten too big for his britches and should have followed his base coach’s orders. Let it go, guys. It was a bang-bang play and unfortunately Josh got hurt.
Worst among all the voices out there was former Mets manager Bobby Valentine who suggested that Hamilton’s former life as an addict may have weakened his body and contributed to the injury. That’s out of bounds, Bobby. Way to kick a man when he’s down.
Sadly, even baseball abhors a media silence these days. Sometimes it’s best just to say nothing though.