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Calling Josh Hamilton

The Guideposts editor-in-chief gets emotional over a certain baseball star.

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OK—here’s me on a perfect summer night: flopped on my couch in a T-shirt, shorts and bare feet, with a ballgame on the TV. Millie’s usually flopped next to me. Millie is a big baseball fan, even if she is a Golden Retriever.

Maybe it’s just the movement on the HD wide screen that compels her attention but she can really get into a baseball game. She is particularly interested in the Tampa Bay Rays, who are contending in the American League East this season.

You think I’m kidding but I’m not. Millie is from Tampa originally. They play my team, the Yankees, a lot, since they are in the same division. Millie and I catch all those games and I swear to you that she acts smug when the Rays win. That’s happened all too much this summer.  

No surprise then that I watched the All-Star game this past Tuesday (all four-plus hours) from my vantage point of the couch (my couch is located about a dozen subway stops due south from where the game was actually played, at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the last All-Star game to be held in the House that Ruth Built). I knew the evening was designed to be emotional and inspiring, with a long introductory section featuring over 40 Hall-of-Famers on the field and assorted other dignitaries.

Normally I’m itchy to get the game started but I found myself surprisingly moved by the pre-game ceremonies. And I was astounded, frankly, to realize how many of the people being honored had told their stories in GUIDEPOSTS. Just start with the Cooperstown cadre: Mike Schmidt, Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro, Gary Carter…all appeared in GUIDEPOSTS over the years.

Terry Francona, a GUIDEPOSTS author from two years ago, was managing the American League All-Stars. Russell Martin, the starting catcher for the National League, appeared in our pages last summer with a touching tribute to his dad, a Toronto street musician. Announcer Joe Buck, who called the game for Fox, also wrote about his dad, legendary St. Louis Cardinals’ announcer Jack Buck, for the magazine three years ago. And two men whose memories were honored, Tim Russert and Bobby Murcer, told wonderful GUIDEPOSTS stories. Bobby’s piece was particularly poignant, as he wrote so bravely about the cancer that would eventually kill him. 

I don’t usually get choked up over a baseball game, unless the Red Sox are really clobbering the Yanks. Yet I found myself fighting back tears even before the National Anthem was sung (by cancer-survivor Sheryl Crow, who recently appeared on our Up Side page). 

GUIDEPOSTS is certainly not a sports magazine. But through the years we’ve published scores and scores of stories by athletes (famous and not so famous), with baseball players being the most numerous. Why athletes? Because what they do requires such skill and determination, such dedication and willingness to sacrifice, that it almost cannot be undertaken without indomitable faith. And that is dramatic. That is inspirational. That is incredibly human. That’s GUIDEPOSTS.

So I was very, very proud indeed to see all those GUIDEPOSTS authors at the big ballpark in the Bronx Tuesday night. It reminded me how much our magazine is part of the national conversation.

But there was one player out on the field who hasn’t been in GUIDEPOSTS…yet. Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Know his story? After a promising start to his career Josh descended into a hell of drug addiction and alcoholism. Eventually he landed on his grandmother’s doorstep in need of food and shelter. When he saw the hurt and sadness in his grandmother’s eyes he begged God to help him get straight once and for all and return to baseball.

This year he’s having one of the best seasons any player has ever had. That’s inspiring. And that’s a story I want this young star to tell in GUIDEPOSTS. Soon.

Yo, Josh! You know how to reach me. 

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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