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Columnist questions Josh Hamilton's 'mental toughness'

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
Is Josh Hamilton lacking mental toughness? (Getty Images)

While Frank Sinatra's cold inspired a luminous piece of writing, Josh Hamilton's headache has prompted a child's screed.

Hamilton departed Tuesday night's game -- an eventual 11-3 loss to the Angels -- because of sinus pain and vision problems. Keep in mind that this was an eight-run loss, an outcome that not even a disinterred and reanimated Babe Ruth could have altered (disregard this point if you somehow believe that Hamilton, by force of his mighty will, would have prevented the Angels from scoring eight runs in the bottom of the fourth), and one game of the 138 that Hamilton has played this season. Also keep in mind that it's rather dangerous to face major-league pitching with compromised vision.

Nonetheless, Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas has gone trollin' for dollars. He sniffs:

We're not talking about a punctured lung or cracked rib like Tony Romo suffered last year against San Francisco. Or Jason Witten rushing back to play the opener less than a month after lacerating his spleen.

We're talking about something a couple of tablets usually knocks out.

...

He didn't feel good, so he opted to take the rest of the night off. He'll have a good excuse today and maybe even a note from a doctor or his parents.

First, there's nothing praiseworthy about the self-immolating instincts of pro football players. We're seeing what the "For God and Coach!" mentality has wrought. Second, Mr. Taylor is not, at last report, Josh Hamilton and is thus unable to know how physically diminished Hamilton was when he left the game. I do believe I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the professional athlete who's played through countless injuries in the past.

According to the boilerplate for this kind of thing, Taylor goes on to question Hamilton's mental toughness and leap to the conclusion that this is why the pending free agent won't be back in Arlington next season.

I don't know whether Taylor genuinely believes that missing 5 1/2 innings of an eight-run loss is the handiwork of a weakling or whether he's doing the Skip Bayless thing and costuming himself in the opinion that he thinks will prove to be the most infectious.

I also don't know which is worse.

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