Texas Rangers Josh Hamilton: Best Player in Baseball?

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Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are kings among sports fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area right now. But I would argue that the primary beneficiary in the NBA Finals was actually American Airlines, since both arenas in the series are named after the carrier.

However, it’s Josh Hamilton, left fielder for the Texas Rangers, who is probably the most talented athlete in the Metroplex. He is such a natural freak, which we haven’t seen since the early days of Ken Griffey Jr. Long before he was sleeping in dugouts.

It is true that Hamilton has already reached his thirtieth birthday, but he spent numerous years of his prime battling addiction. This is a negative from the aspect that the problem could resurface in any instant, but it is a positive from the standpoint that his body hasn’t experienced the same wear and tear from playing every year during the last dozen years that an everyday player would have.

Hamilton doesn’t have the best statistics offensively of any player this season, but one must look at his body of work over recent history to appreciate the legacy that he has begun. He has scored over three hundred runs, garnered nearly six hundred hits, and has ninety-seven home runs in only around five hundred games played. The three hundred and fifty four runs batted in is just one more measurement of his profound greatness over the last four years.

Scouts that patrol high school and college fields are constantly in search of five tool players. This encompasses hitting for average, and power. It also includes defensive range and prowess, the arm strength, and speed on the base paths. The only deficiency that could even be discussed with Hamilton is his arm strength. This is why manager Ron Washington plays him in left field most of the time.

No one with all of his faculties would ever argue that Dallas is a baseball town. The NFL may be on the backburner for a while and sports fans could have more time to focus their attention elsewhere this fall. The Rangers would be a better bet than turning attention to college football in minor and irrelevant conferences that may be on the dial on Sundays. One thing that the Rangers could do to increase business at the gate is to not have day games during the summer months.

Heat is obviously oppressive in the region, and there is no reason that fans should pay to soak themselves in their own sweat and get burned by the sun to watch the boys of summer. The only exception to this generality would be during the Fox game of the week on Saturdays. There is not much maneuverability in this scenario for teams that are currently at the top of their divisions. Josh Hamilton is surrounded by talented offensive players in the line-up like Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Nelson Cruz. This only increases the chances that Hamilton will continue to see quality pitches and put up prodigious numbers.

–Patrick Herbert

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