On Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton's press conference was about as captivating as those things get. It lasted 45 minutes. Hamilton told the story of his slide into the darkness of drug addiction. About 20 members of the media showed up.
I'm in midst of writing my tome. I hope I do it justice.
From a baseball standpoint, the question is: Can Hamilton still play?
The Reds are guessing yes.
“I don’t think there’s anybody here (in Reds camp) with the combination of power and speed and throwing arm,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “But it’s a very, very difficult game to play. He hasn’t been able to play the last couple of years. There’s some rust there. We’ll see how close he is.”
Pete Mackanin, the Reds major league advance scout, was fairly effusive after throwing Hamitlon batting practice:
"When you throw BP to these guys, there’s a certain zone they have over the plate, where they hit with more authority. The thing that impressed me the most is he didn’t have one. Anywhere you threw it – up and in, low and away – he handled it and stayed on top of the ball.
"His approach was outstanding. Having never seen him before, I was extremely impressed with what I saw. I know it’s only one day in spring training.
“I hate to get excited in the spring. But, boy oh boy, you have to like what I saw."
The Reds have a support system set up for Hamilton, namely Johnny Narron, who's known Hamilton since he was 8.
You've got to root for the guy. If you catch video of the press conference, you'll see a warm, engaging person -- albeit with quite a history.