After blowing away baseball to the tune of a .635 slugging percentage over the course of the Texas Rangers’ first 81 games, Hamilton noticeably tailed off in the latter half of the year. His slugging percentage fell by .125 points and his OPS by .183. Many ideas were put forth for Hamilton’s decline, with the two prevailing theories being his penchant for swinging at the first pitch of an at-bat, and the other his quitting chewing tobacco during the middle of the season.
On Friday, Hamilton granted an interview to The Dan Patrick Show (compiled by Sports Radio Interviews) that touched on many subjects, including his relative struggles in the season’s second act. And, as Hamilton sees it, his dropoff is entirely due to that ill-timed decision to quit chewing.
“I quit chewing tobacco, plain and simple,” Hamilton told the show. “To think it doesn’t have an effect on your physical, mental, I’ve been chewing for almost 11 or 12 years but I knew I needed to do it during the season because if I could do it during the season around guys doing it all the time I knew I would be okay.”
With $123 million invested in Hamilton, the Angels certainly hope that situation is behind him, but one issue that will never truly be behind Hamilton are his addictions. Hamilton’s been upfront that his past addictions will never truly leave him, which is why he travels with an accountability partner. In the interview, Hamilton also touched on whether living somewhere like Los Angeles, where there is probably more temptation than Arlington. Texas, is problematic.
“No there is no concern there, Dan,” Hamilton told Patrick. “If I’m going to get in trouble I’m going to get in trouble, period.”
Keep in mind that Anaheim is a good 30 miles away from downtown Hollywood, and many Angels choose to live even further away from Los Angeles, in communities like Anaheim Hills and Newport Beach.