Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has openly talked about his past struggles with drugs and alcohol, suffered a relapse with alcohol, according to a report.
The Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday night that the recovering alcoholic had a relapse on Monday night at Sherlock's Pub & Grill in Dallas.
Teammates Ian Kinsler reportedly showed up at the bar to convince Hamilton to leave, but it's unclear whether he was successful.
The relapse is Hamilton's second since becoming sober in October 2005. The 2010 AL MVP had wasted multiple years of his career due to drugs after being selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, but seemingly got his life back on track and began to flourish on the baseball field.
But before Monday's relapse, Hamilton was caught shirtless and drinking at a Tempe, Ariz. bar in 2009. He immediately owned up to his mistake and informed the Rangers and Major League Baseball, but clearly has not been able to completely rid himself of the demons.
This most recent relapse raises questions whether it was caused by the traumatic death of Shannon Stone at a Rangers baseball game in July. Stone, a 39-year old firefighter, called out for Hamilton to throw him a foul ball and tragically fell to his death while reaching over a railing to catch Hamilton's throw.
As soon as the tragic event happened, I wondered just what kind of an effect the death would have on Hamilton.
At the time I wrote:
Hamilton has done well at getting his life back on track. Most stories show he is a good father to his three daughters and he has excelled on the field, winning American League MVP honors in 2010.
But how does a man with past demons as strong as Hamilton's, react to such a traumatic event? Will Hamilton be able to sleep at night knowing he indirectly caused the premature death of a Texas firefighter?
Can he resist those major temptations when times get toughest? One would certainly hope so, as Hamilton seems to be a good guy, but traumatic events like these can have long lasting impacts on people. Simply seeing a person die in front of you could cause issues, but thinking that you might be the main reason has to be very tough to handle.
I got quite a bit of hate for that column. One commenter called it the stupidest article I've ever seen and questioned how can you really live with yourself and write this crap?
Not to say that I was right in writing that July column, but it's impossible to not connect the dots in some way. Hamilton clearly has some major addictions that he has to deal with on a daily basis and the stress of Stone's death and barely losing the World Series could have pushed him to go back to alcohol after a few years of sobriety.
It's not particularly fair to either Hamilton or Stone's family to speculate about the reasons for the latest relapse, but it is a question that will be asked over and over again while people try to wrap their heads around his drinking. Hamilton will likely be forced to address the issue publicly at some point and you can bet the Stone connection will be asked.
It's additionally unclear how this latest relapse will affect Hamilton and his goal of getting a long-term extension with the Rangers. Hamilton has publicly stated that he'd like to stay in Texas, but the organization flirted with signing slugger Prince Fielder, who ultimately signed with the Detroit Tigers, to a long-term deal instead of their star.
The Rangers will likely encourage Hamilton to get additional help and try to help him continue to fight a losing battle against some of the worst demons this world has ever seen. It's a sad story of someone succumbing to addiction yet again, but the public has a right to know what caused the latest relapse.