There’s no easy way to say what must be said. In situations like this, where no amount of decorum or politeness will mask the sting of the words, it’s best to just go full steam ahead and hope for the best.
Josh Hamilton has been a bust.
In the field, Josh Hamilton has been nothing short of amazing, making catches that you’d expect to show up Mike Trout’s highlight reel instead of a man 10 years his senior. Make no mistake, if the Angels organization had signed him for his fielding, he would more than be earning his paycheck. Unfortunately, he was signed for his bat, which has been uncomfortably quiet this season. He’s had his moments of course. 10 home runs on the season thus far means he’s no Miguel Cabrera, but he is not making an entirely poor showing. In addition, Hamilton seems to be actively working to correct his problems, and so it is hard to find fault in him. The problem may be something completely out of his control.
Let’s take a look at Hamilton’s symptoms: Low energy (to account for slower bat speed), mood swings (to account for the streaky hitting), nightmares (getting swept by the Astros), hearing voices (Boo-birds can be pretty vitriolic people) and relationship problems (bitterness with Rangers fans over the whole “football town” comment). These symptoms, when typed into a Google search, will initially yield cancer as a result. Don’t worry though, keep in mind that this an internet search. Look around long enough and you’ll find people saying that eating all of your fruits and vegetables causes cancer. Digging past the cancer results, we find things like depression, stress, bi-polar disorder, pregnancy, and Beiber fever. Stress is the only likely diagnosis out of these, but there is one more that we should perhaps explore:
Now before you start shaking shrunken heads and offering blessings of incense, let’s break this down academically. According to Wikipedia, Voodoo is a spiritual folkway rooted in West African Vodun, an indigenous organized religion (Baseball fans may remember it best as Pedro Cerrano’s religion in “Major League”). The most infamous symbol of voodoo is the voodoo doll, which is used in some rituals to cast voodoo curses. In men, the head, temples, thumbs and big toes are targeted. If you were sticking pins in a person, can you think of any better places to hurt a baseball player?
Hamilton has come a long way and overcome many, many hurdles to become the man he is today, but a man’s past never completely goes away. Maybe on one of those wild nights of his past, Josh managed to anger the wrong people. It’s not difficult. You go to enough bars, someone is going to be drunk enough to hate your guts for no other reason than they don’t like your face. Maybe one of these intoxicated individuals decided Josh needed some humbling and knew a practitioner of dark arts.
Or, maybe a baseball fan in Arlington, TX called a cousin in Louisiana to work some of the old black magic. Either way, there may be a hex afoot.
How does one break a hex? To be frank: You don’t. It’s superstitious nonsense. There’s no curse. The Bambino didn’t curse the Red Sox, they just sucked until 2004. The White Sox weren’t cursed for throwing the 1919 World Series, they were responsible for the creation of the Commissioner’s office and shrugged their “cursed” classification in 2005 . Hamilton’s not cursed, he’s in a slump. It happens to every hitter. Historically, Hamilton has always gone through hot and cold times. Also historically, the hot streaks have lasted longer than the cold.
That has not been the case as of late, but given that Josh Hamilton carries the horrible label of “streaky”, we can hope that when the ice breaks, the hot streak will be the hottest yet and Hamilton will soon find himself returning to the form that brought him 42 home runs last season.
And if he doesn’t do it soon, maybe we should start offering Jobu some rum to enlist some voodoo of our own to help speed things along.