I think the story to rock all stories this weekend was the Josh Hamilton developments from his night in January as he clearly and sadly fell off the wagon. I must tell you that this story bothers me quite a bit on a number of levels, not the least of which being that many of us have vouched for him dozens of times as being "authentic" with his story in a world of stories that are not authentic. Alas, He is human, and he definitely is chased by his demons on a daily basis.
But, what does this mean from a Rangers' standpoint? I think we better understand why he has not had his contract extended by the Rangers. We expected something to be announced in spring training this year, and when it didn't happen we found it somewhat curious. But, now, we see what the Rangers are doing. They can't trust him. That is why Johnny Narron remains by his side at all times (I guess not all times - see the pictures from January). And, am I to believe that Johnny Narron knew nothing of this relapse? And if so, what does that say?
Are the Rangers in a tough spot? Not really. Because this is what the arbitration process is made for. They will likely elect to simply go on a year-by-year trip to arbitration with Hamilton. They may eventually have to extend him, but for now, they can continue to pay him 1-year deals for 2010, 2011, and 2012.
By then, the Rangers will know more about Josh. Is he the player he appeared to be in 2008 or what he appears to be 2009? Can he hold up health-wise? Can he avoid his demons? If they like all of his answers, then they can give him an extension. But that can be 2-4 years from now.
I think JD, Nolan, and Tom Hicks will all take a sigh of relief that this did not happen a week after they committed 5-years, $40 million to him last winter. And now, they have a perfectly legitimate reason to avoid the topic altogether until 2012. We have said in the past that Josh Hamilton has cost himself millions and millions over his life by some of his decisions. I believe we can add quite a bit of money lost to those pictures that emerged over the weekend.
In other news...
* Tiger heads to this week's PGA Championship with two consecutive victories on tour - this one at Bridgestone . Woods-Padraig Harrington in the final pairing looked very intriguing, although I will readily admit I was more interested in Derek Holland's dismantling of the Angels for most of the day. But, I tuned in for a signature "Tiger Moment" on 16 as Tiger hit the most insane 178-yard 8-iron in golf history to 12 inches. Meanwhile, Padraig, who has won 3 majors in the last 3 years himself, was taking a snowman on the same hole, and the tournament was Tiger's.
This is Tiger's 70th tour victory. Check out this from PGA.com :
The win is the 70th of Woods' career on the PGA TOUR in 248 career starts (234 as a professional). As a result, he moves within three victories of tying Jack Nicklaus (73 wins) for second place on the all-time TOUR wins list. Sam Snead, with 82 wins, leads the list.
So, only 3 golfers EVER have won 70 tournaments. Snead, Nicklaus, and Woods. CBS showed that Snead won #70 at the Age of 41 at the '54 Palm Beach Open. Nicklaus won #70 at the age of 40 at the '80 PGA Championship. Woods is 33 years old.
It is possible that when it is all said and done that we will never see another athlete like Tiger Woods. He could be our Babe Ruth.
* UFC 101 was average. Not a ton of quality, but the top 2 fights were worthy. BJ Penn took apart Kenny Florian. Silva-Griffin was another Spider destruction of an opponent. I don't really understand how Silva knocked out Forrest while back pedaling, but it was devastating. You might be able to see the video of the knockout here if you hurry. With Miguel Angel Torres losing, the pound for pound champion is either Spider or GSP. You cannot go wrong either way.
* The Rangers tired of Vicente Padilla finally. And the parting shots are worth reading . This marriage was destined to fail from the time the extension was signed, and it is finally over. Now, the Millwood, Hunter, Feldman, Holland, and Nippert rotation will have to carry things the rest of the way. A bold move by a team that is technically leading the wildcard race this morning.
* Futbol is back! Manchester United vs Chelsea in the Charity Shield match to start the season was played yesterday and won by Chelsea . I tell you this for 3 reasons. 1) If you give the English Premiership a chance (seen on ESPN2 and Fox Soccer Channel) you will thank me for the rest of your life. Pick a team, follow them (the new season starts this coming Saturday), and realize theater that rivals any sport you already love. I promise. 2) the USA plays in Mexico on Wednesday in a big-time World Cup Qualifier. and 3) I want you to prepare for my first ever soccer-only chat coming Tuesday or Wednesday morning on this very website.
* Football is back, too! Yes, it might have just been preseason football, but tell me the NFL preseason opener didn't catch your eye for just a moment. Terrell was Terrell, and the Oilers uniforms were back. Vince Young looked pretty lost at times again, and I am so interested in his story and where it will go from here. I just cannot believe that Vince Young, the guy I wrote about in 2005 can possibly be this same guy now. I was convinced Vince Young was a superstar-to-be in the NFL. But, it appears I was way wrong. I never figured he would be brought down by something as seemingly harmless as criticism. It appears the guy had never been criticized until he got to Tennessee, and when he finally had it aimed at him, he crumbled. Will he ever rise again?
Another big week in front of us, with the PGA Championship, the Cowboys-Raiders, USA-Mexico, and more Rangers baseball. Let's get er done.