Hamilton, Rangers Must Now Be Fair to Each Other
You wake up in the morning, still hungover from another night of drinking, only instead of this following a night out with friends on a weekend, you quickly realize it's the middle of the week and that empty bottle on the floor was all your doing.
Determined you're going to change you start off the day mentally strong thinking today is the day I stop this, today is the day I get things under control only to have your inner demons scream all day long how much you need a drink.
Just one drink you think to yourself, I can stop after just one drink.
But you don't, all it takes is that one sip, that one satisfying concoction filling your body with warmth and much needed relaxation and you're in for another night of hard drinking.
A few drinks in you start to wonder what the hell you are doing, why didn't I stop at one or more importantly, why did I have one in the first place after all this was the day I was going to quit remember?
You take another sip and dip back into the dark only to wake up the same way the next morning convinced this is the day you stop.
This is the life of an alcoholic my friends, it's a constant, damaging and most often an immensely cruel cycle of life that those outside have no understanding of because quite simply, your brain works differently than that of an alcoholic.
Many have jumped on Josh Hamilton for going to a bar and having another relapse but there is one major flaw in their logic.
This is not a case of will power, not for Hamilton and not for any of the others facing down this disease.
Recovering alcoholics spend their days fighting demons and a disease most of us couldn't possibly fathom and it's why from time to time these things will happen.
It's why Josh Hamilton must have an accountability partner with him; other alcoholics call this person their sponsor.
Someone who understands their fight and will be there to pick them up off the floor if they couldn't prevent the relapse to begin with.
Believe me, it is no coincidence this happened quickly after Hamilton lost his previous accountability partner.
I bring all of this up, not to give Hamilton a free pass or to say everything is going to be ok because this is an issue that will follow Hamilton the rest of his life.
No, I bring this up to stress just how delicate this entire situation is and how important it is for everyone to realize this goes far beyond the baseball diamond both for Hamilton and the Rangers.
The Rangers have to be as supportive as they can be toward Hamilton, but are also responsible for the rest of the organization and the fans.
Hamilton has said time and time again he only wants a fair contract which is fine, as long as Hamilton is fair to the Rangers organization as well.
The baseball impact of this is nothing for the upcoming season.
Hamilton is under contract for the 2012 season and will report to camp and play his heart out for the Rangers.
The impact this relapse will have is on the future beyond this season, but both Hamilton and the Rangers have until Spring Training begins to come to an agreement.
For this to happen a very complicated contract has to be worked out between now and then, probably the most difficult contract in the history of sports.
If it was simply about the player Hamilton is and what he brings to the team, the contract would easily be done by now, but it's not.
It's also a commitment to a player fighting a disease that has also missed a significant amount of games in his career and the Rangers will do what is best for the organization going forward.
What that means for Josh Hamilton's future with the Rangers I cannot say.
At this point it all depends on what Hamilton means by a fair contract and how far the Rangers are willing to go with a player that provides so much talent but also comes with significant risks.
One thing I do know, the Rangers and Josh Hamilton have a great relationship that helps both parties and if they will both take a step back and look at the situation, they can come to terms on a contract extension that is fair to both Hamilton and the Rangers.
There is no doubt Hamilton will bounce back from this recent setback and spend his time in Arizona spraying baseballs into the Arizona sun focused on helping the Rangers get back to and win the World Series.
It's the type of player Hamilton is and his teammates will be right there with him because that's the type of players they are.
The Rangers are more than a team, they're a family and family is always there for you no matter what you've done.
There's no such thing as "just another relapse," and this one will undoubtedly have ripple effects, but Hamilton and the Rangers must be fair to one another and come up with a contract solution that benefits both parties.
Jon Daniels has become quite possibly the best General Manager in Major League Baseball and he has probably the toughest contract he'll ever have to negotiate on his hands.
The only thing I know for sure in all of this is there's no one else in sports I'd rather have working on a contract this complicated than Daniels.
Spring Training begins in less than three weeks so the clock is ticking.