Josh Hamilton. Wow.

Sixty Feet, Six Inches Correspondent IAugust 8, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 20:  Center fielder Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers on July 20, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The big news on the 'net today is that Josh Hamilton may have had a backslide. That is horribly depressing and the photographic evidence doesn't seem to dispute it.

Just last year, Hamilton was possibly the most inspirational story in all of sports.

After being a first overall draft pick in 1999, Hamilton showed right out of the gate why the Rays were right to take him. He tore through the low levels of the minors then hit a stumbling block when he reached AA.

That stumbling block turned out to be drug related. Hamilton became addicted to heroin, which caused him to be out of baseball for four years. After getting his life back on track, he came back to baseball and signed a contract with the Cincinnatti Reds.

In 2007, he made his Major League Baseball debut and killed the ball in the Reds outfield. It was inspirational. It was awesome. It made people happy to see a rehabilitated addict get his life back on track.

When he went to Texas the next year and continued his production—this time as a full-time outfielder—and had a huge showing in the Home Run Derby (how many people actually remember that Justin Morneau won the HRD in 2008? How many remember Hamilton's performance). It was looking like a full-on inspirational film.

Now, it looks more like the book version of The Natural than the movie one. (If you don't know the book ends way differently, I encourage you to read it. The movie ruined the story).

Hamilton is set to hold a press conference today where he'll confess to everything.

I sure hope that this is only a minor setback, and not a major backslide. I loved the Josh Hamilton story while it lasted.

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