photo via the Los Angeles Angels Twitter
Hamilton readily acknowledged the risks taken by the Angels in signing him, but stressed he had a support system in place and was ready to contribute everything he could.
The Los Angeles Angels held a press conference on Saturday, announcing Josh Hamilton as the newest member of the team. The Angels signed Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million contract. Hamilton took questions from the press, many of which centered around the risk the Angels assume by signing a player with a history of both injuries and off-field issues. Hamilton seemed relaxed and forthcoming.
Asked about his feelings toward the Angels, Hamilton said he was excited. "Excited to be here," he said, "excited to think about the next 5 years, excited to be part of this lineup and what it's capable of." Hamilton, a potent offensive weapon in his own right, joins the lineup that led the American league in batting average.
Many of the questions focused on Hamilton's off-field issues of drug and alcohol addiction. Asked about the pressure that comes from knowing his every move might be captured on a cell phone camera and end up YouTube, Hamilton stressed his own responsibility and downplayed his athlete status. "It comes to the point of making choices." he said, "It [doesn't] matter if I'm a baseball player ... a guy that drives a bus, whatever. All our choices are susceptible to being on YouTube or Tweeted about."
Asked about his breaks from sobriety, Hamilton talked about his support network and the strength he draws from religion. He mentioned an "OK, had a slip up, moved on." reaction to relapses, and credited praying and watching a sermon as readying him for any stresses he encounters. "That sets me up for life that day," he said. He indicated that the team was supporting his particular needs:
"They're gonna help me with my support system as well, put things in place that I had in place with the Rangers, nothing that's out of the ordinary, nothing that's straining to the organization or clubhouse."
Hamilton was asked how much risk he thought the Angels were assuming in signing him. He noted that signing any player includes risk, and notes that he's had just two relapses in seven years. He acknowledged the risks involved, but discussed a conversation he had with a team trainer, where the trainer mentioned that they were glad his history had scared off other teams, and the Angels were excited to have him. "I'm so excited to hear an organization say we're happy we got you," he said "no matter what the risk is."