Sunday, October 17, 2010

Potayto...Potahto You know the Rest

The Rangers are in the Play Offs....they're in a battle against the Evil Empire as we speak (or as I type).  Cliff Lee was brought on to help out the pitching staff and to win it.  They got their division and now they're on a quest for the bigger hardware. Nolan Ryan is at the helm and I personally hope The Rangers give the Yankees a noogie just like Ryan gave Ventura years ago.

Two players are detrimental in this quest: Josh Hamilton and CJ Wilson.  Two very different men who've reached a place where they've dreamed of but took different routes to get here.

CJ Wilson born in 1980 in Newport, California - land of free thinkers.
Josh Hamilton born in 1981 in Raleigh, North Carolina - land of Old School thinkers

CJ drafted in 2001 in  the 5th round by The Rangers but 141st overall and begin playing in their Minor League working his way up.
Josh drafted 1st in 1999 by Tampa Bay, signing a contract and playing in their Minor League soon thereafter, making his mark.

As CJ was just beginning to make his mark in baseball in 2001....Josh and his parents were involved in a car accident. Although his parents recovered, Josh had injuries that (by choice) took him down a road of abusing drugs and alcohol and his first stint in Rehab.  His drug/alcohol abuse continued through to 2004 till he was suspended for failed drug tests.  Josh did not play baseball from 2004 - 2006. In the summer of 2006, the Rays allowed him to play in the minor league but later was drafted in the Rule 5 Draft and ended up with the Reds. The Reds had to retain him all season to keep rights on him and in December 2007, Josh was traded to The Rangers.  Josh married the daughter of one of the men who helped him in his quest to 'get clean'.
Once in the Rangers, Josh flourished...making it to the All Star Game and in the Home Run Derby, recording the most home runs total in the derby...not winning the title but his first at bat recorded 28 home runs!!
But just as soon as his life was connecting and back on track, headlines ripped showing him to lapsed in his drug/alcohol addiction.  The incident occurred in January of 2009 and although Josh informed MLB. the Rangers, his wife and hit in August of the same year splatting him all over the news.  Josh is now clean and has chosen to not join in any of the alcoholic post-season celebrations.But there was another player who chose not to participate in alcoholic post-season celebrations but because he didn't have the Sensationalistic Story....he wasn't thrust into the limelight. Well...until he put 'his opinion' out there.

Flip over to CJ...he begin playing in the minor league with the Rangers in Frisco till around 2003 when the season was cut short and he had to have the Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2004 recuperating ( a very different sort of rehab than Josh's) and returned in 2005 but progressed slowly up to being closer 2008 but back down to Relief Set Up Man in 2009....but in 2010, CJ was named in the Starting Rotating Pitchers line up.  CJ, a professed Taoist, lives a 'Straight Edge' life, a life that one abstains from alcohol and drugs and promiscuous sex in order to maintain a healthy and poison-free body. He even has a tattoo inscribed on his torso "Straight Edge" to make a statement. He  CJ put his opinion out there regarding baseball players regarding politics in a Pearlman interview:  Although the term 'thinking man's game' is associated with's very that many of the players don't always think alot about politics or other worries of the world...according to CJ.

"It's frustrating," says C.J. Wilson, the 27-year-old Texas relief pitcher. "I'd say there are two reasons. One, there's a general lack of education among us. But two -- and most important -- you're talking about a population that makes a ton of money, so the ups and downs of the economy don't impact whether we're getting paid. Therefore, we often don't care."

You can best believe he got alot of grief over that comment from inside his own clubhouse....but I think CJ has learned his lesson.  Although his opinion may be somewhat correct....ya gotta watch how you talk about 'your team'.   Wilson is definitely an eccentric individual in the world of baseball....he's not your normal jock. He's even working on a novel. Of course, baseball is the backdrop but it's more or less a book about life.  CJ races race cars and plans on turning to that occupation once his baseball career is over. CJ has a twitter and blog he keeps up with.  He loves photography but why shouldn't he?  His parents were as well...CJ also entered the screenwriting program while he pitched at Loyola.   He is also a I dont mean he pitches with his left hand....I'm talking politics. 

So the Rangers and Yankees have each won one....and now we proceed to Game 3....I love watching baseball but the stories behind the players can be quite as  interesting as the game itself. 

I have been wondering what a conversation/debate would be like to listen to between CJ and Schilling. :)


Ted D said...

A conversation between Wilson and Schilling is a pay-per-view I'd buy in a heartbeat. He is a really interesting guy with a great back story.

Nice job, Tex.

Tex said...

thanks and I should have written a 'disclaimer' statement regarding North Carolina :)