Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Down Goes Hamilton (plus Day 1 Dish)

Not the kind of blog post title you want to see, is it?

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton left the team's first full practice earlier Wednesday after taking a tumble chasing a popup.  It was on a simple, routine catch in which he kind of dove for the ball.

He went into the training room and had examined.  The team is calling it a left shoulder contusion and muscle spasm .  He's listed as day to day but, to me, that's not the end of the story.  You always have to look a little closer with a player like Hamilton who appeared in only 89 games last year.  Has the injury happened before? Could it be a recurring issue?  There are always questions that need to be answered.

Hamilton left the Rangers complex early and went out the back way to get to his car, not taking the typical route that most players do get there (i wasn't the one who pointed this out, btw - a former player did).  Maybe that's not a huge deal but he didn't want to talk about the injury at all.  Fair enough.  He happened to be casually chatting with some print media types when I had just finished up an interview I was conducting.  We walk over with our camera and he's indicating he doesn't want to talk to us.  (I videoblog about this on YouTube).  Regardless, I walk to the car with him.  He was happy and polite enough to talk to me without the camera.  I ask him if it's a recurring injury and he tells me it's the "first time it's happened".  "So it's never happened before," I continue.  He reiterates it hasn't.  He adds that it's a bummer but perhaps a good thing that it happened early in spring training.  

I asked Rangers GM Jon Daniels and Manager Ron Washington the same stuff.   The "never happened before"/"first time it's ever happened" message was the mantra across the board.  Ok, cool.  Let's hope that's the case and that it won't be a bigger issue down the road or hasn't been an issue in the past.  I'm just sayin'.

Flies vs Hounds
I know autographs are really cool to some people.  To me, they're just ink.  Trust me, unless you see someone sign something, there's a good chance it's not real.  I've worked for two professional sports franchises, TRUST me.

Anyway, it's so weird....professional autograph seekers hang out at spring training practices trying to get players' autographs.  They will walk with a guy while he's walking from field to field to try and get him to sign something.  I heard one of the autograph guys bragging how he had "15,000" autographs to sell.  Seriously?  The players are working! 

The autograph seekers are affectionately termed "flies" because they swarm every time a guy gets near them.

Now, I understand that perhaps just below autograph seekers on the food chain is....wait for it....the media! Yes, we are a well-hated bunch.  Our nickname: "hounds".  I understand it but hate it.  I hate the stereotype that comes with being a reporter/anchor.  Too many times people don't understand our jobs or really know what we do.  BUT, I guess if I had my druthers, I'd rather be a hound...much cuter than a fly.
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