Tuesday night in one of the coolest moments of team unity ever, the Texas Rangers celebrated their five-game, ALDS playoff victory, the first in franchise history, with ginger ale instead of champagne.
The reason? Josh Hamilton's continuing recovery from substance abuse would have otherwise prevented him from participating. It was a unique and instructive continuation of Hamilton's redemption narrative and yet another sign that the Texas Rangers, perhaps more than any other professional sports franchise, have mastered the art of public relations in the Internet era.
How so? A year ago last August their best player, Hamilton, and this March their manager, Ron Washington, became sporting pariahs. Washington tested positive for cocaine and Hamilton, arguably the most famous substance abuse recoveree in America, went into a bar and eventually pictures of his relapse were plastered on Deadspin.com.
The Rangers had a decision to make: how do we respond? Does Josh Hamilton ignore the Internet reports and continue on as if nothing has happened, as if there's been no relapse? Do we fire Ron Washington to appease? The Rangers made their decisions, confront the stories head on, have both player and manager acknowledge their failings, apologize and move forward. Don't allow personal failings to eternally define two of the most famous faces of your franchise