Lifetime, Television for Women, hasn’t had a movie involving a baseball playing maverick who falls hard and fights back after drug addiction, at least that is what my hours of “research” have told me (and by research I mean, I don’t watch Sunday afternoon movie marathons, really, I don’t, I swear, Ok ok… but I do watch The Golden Girls). However, if ESPN made movies for Lifetime, the story of Ranger’s cutie, Josh Hamilton, would make a fantastic first screenplay.
Josh went straight from high school to being drafted in 1999 by the Devil Rays where he played around their minor league system. Josh was considered a very promising young player, alas, a car accident would mark the beginning of a tailspin in 2001. Hamilton’s was still a name in the minors for the Devil Rays, but before the 2004 season, when he was set to start to play in the majors, he was suspended after violating the MLB’s drug policy. In fact, Josh failed several tests and got numerous violations, and even after vowing to get clean, get rehabbed, and play again, the league wouldn’t have him back. Cue the dramatic Lifetime movie music. Will our hero find a way to get back on top?
Hamilton was reinstated in 2006 and after some shifting around during the draft, landed in the Cincinaati Reds roster. He proved himself at their spring training coming into the regular season with a camp hitting average of .403. On his first game back in the majors in several years Josh received a 22 second long standing ovation. This would be the moment in the movie where you start to tear up. You might even have to put down your Ben and Jerry’s and spoon to grab a Kleenex.
Josh Hamilton now plays for the Rangers, and, along with his wife, regularly speaks out on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, which, by the way, is exactly what the scrolling text would say at the end of the movie, while we watch a freeze frame of him hitting a homer out of the park as a one-off version of “I Believe I Can Fly” plays in the background. That’s when you get up to pee, check yourself in the mirror, and vow to run five miles tomorrow because you’ve wasted your entire day watching Lifetime movies and eating ice cream.