Hey y’all. Your buddy Josh Hamilton here, writing to personally invite all of you to make the short trip to St. Louis and join us for our big weekend series with the Cardinals. With the inconsistent play of the leaders in the Central, no team, other than the Pirates, can be eliminated from pennant contention. That’s what makes this part of the baseball season so exciting. The Reds’ resurgence can be attributed to any number of factors: the change in management, some timely hitting, solid bullpen work. The Cardinals’ recent success, if you’ve been paying attention to the drivel oozing out of the baseball media, can be traced to a single source, Rick Ankiel. Apparently, failure on baseball’s biggest stage, three seasons lost to injuries, and then a dramatic comeback as a fourth outfielder endears you to the public. Oh, that just warms my heart. Suddenly, after four home runs everyone’s calling you the Natural and they’ve all forgotten about Josh Hamilton. That’s bush league man. Use some imagination.
Where I come from, North Carolina, we don’t forget about our new favorite player just because somebody who used to be a pitcher gets called up, and look, now he’s an outfielder. Give me a break. We all know Ankiel’s a cyborg who’s been programmed with the ability to grow a soul patch. All you do is lift up his hat, remove the “pitcher” cartridge and insert “outfielder.” It’s an elementary school science experiment. You guys are smarter than that. And it’s not like he came straight to the bigs after having never played any higher than A ball. Hey hoss, it's nothing to feel bad about, some guys just need that extra season at AAA, but you know who didn’t? That’s right, you're looking at him, 2007’s feel good story Josh Hamilton. It’s like no one’s been paying attention to what's been going on here in Cincinnati. Out of the sport for four years, put $3.5 million of my signing bonus up my nose, I’ve even got Narron’s brother babysitting me on the road. I may have found Jesus but I’ve still got the demons man, demons that look like a bag of rock. How about the time where I turned up all strung-out on my Grandma’s porch. You remember any of that shit? I guess it was only in USA Today, maybe you don’t read nationally syndicated publications. But hey, Ankiel used to be big-time until his brain broke. What a scoop.
If you want me out there on the mound throwing 95 over the catcher's head, that’s no problem, check the scouting report from high school. And that’s even after I tuned it down. Pitchers are dead weight, people show up to watch me swing the bat 110 mph. It’s documented. If you're willing to settle for the Full House of baseball comeback stories, you know with all the scripted laughs and contrived emotion, go ahead and cheer for Uncle Jesse Ankiel. I'll still be here, taking it one day at a time, just trying to bring a little hope to the community around me. Try and remember that. JH