Sports Briefs: Josh Hamilton and the Triple Crown

Joe: There is no best player in any sport. There are great players in every sport, and with longevity at the top levels, they become HOFers. Josh Hamilton and the Triple Crown are like two train tracks running forward in parallel. So many things can derail the Hamilton track, many out of his control.

Brad: He is looking good for it so far.

Ralphie: I think he’s got a really good chance of doing it, and I hope I’m watching the game where it happens.

Chris: The Triple Crown has only been won 11 times, and the feat has not been achieved since 1978. Josh Hamilton has been called a thoroughbred, and good breeding is certainly part of what it takes to become a legend . . . that and devoting oneself to an ideal, according to Ra’s al Ghul.

Joe: Health is the No. 1 criteria for any Triple Crown contender. Strained, stretched, contused, broken and torn can launch a player into a slump, and any significant slump can be disastrous. Let's give him a 60 percent chance.

Ralphie: I think it will be hitting a slump. He can’t be that good forever.

Brad: Younger, fresher players might pose a decent threat to him, and the possibility of reinjury or addiction relapse is always in the background, too.

Chris: Potential Triple Crown winners are derailed each year, whether by healthier specimens, positive tests for performance-enhancing Flintstones vitamins or, as was the case in 2006, a broken leg. The frontrunner that year eventually had to be euthanized.

Brad: If you are going at a good pace and gaining ground, I think stopping to rest could throw off your game. He is going good and should just keep playing the way he is. If he were to sit now, he could possibly loose his focus and make poor choices.

Joe: Hamilton is a product of how he got here, and that includes the goods, the bads and the uglies. Let’s just hope he continues to give his team and his fans the best efforts of which he has shown himself capable--Go Josh!

Brad: His career has not been all that bad, so had he not have run off course, he could have been even better and accomplished more as far as records and that.

Ralphie: I want them to keep playing him to give him a better chance of winning.

Chris: Winning the Triple Crown would not only be a historic accomplishment, but it would also net Hamilton substantial endorsement opportunities, accolades and pungent bonuses. (I just said “pungent.”) The victor of the first leg is decorated with a garland of roses, followed by Black-eyed Susans for the second leg and carnations for the third. Hopefully, Hamilton is not allergic to any of these, as I wouldn’t want him catching a hay fever.

Joe: But personal triumph should be sought as a side to the main course--the World Series. Decisions to play or rest in late season should be made with the ultimate goal in mind--but you don't think that late in the season with a chance to grab a TC bonus, of say $500,000, that anything other than the ultimate goal would enter the mind of any team's management, do you?

Chris: We are still talking about horse racing? I hear Josh Hamilton is a real stud.

Ralphie: He’s a really good player, but I don’t think he’s the best. Albert Pujols is my favorite. He may not be the best, but he’s the best to me.

Brad: He is a very good player, but I have a hard time saying he is the best player. You still need your team to play at your best, and that would make it the best team not just player. I think I am still undecided right now on who I feel is the best.

Ralphie: If he’s as good as he is now, I can’t even imagine how good he would be without drugs and injuries. I wish there were some way we could know what he would be like without all of that. I would definitely want his baseball card then.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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