How Not To Cover Josh Hamilton's 4-Homer Game

BALTIMORE, MD: Josh Hamilton #10 of the Texas Rangers hits a two-run home run in the third inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. Hamilton hit four home runs during the game to become the 16th player in MLB history to make the accomplishment. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Tuesday night in Baltimore, superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton slugged four home runs. In one game! And he hit a double too! That sure seems like something we should be talking about.

Against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, Josh Hamilton did something amazing. Technically, Josh Hamilton does something one could consider amazing every time he plays, but Tuesday he was especially amazing. You already know the story, because everybody already knows the story. He hit four home runs. Four home runs, in five trips to the plate! Four home runs and a double in nine swings! Tuesday night, Josh Hamilton made baseball history.

Lest you try to rain on the achievement parade, there have been fewer four-homer games by position players than there have been perfect games by pitchers. Okay, sure, Josh Hamilton had his four-homer game against the Baltimore Orioles, and maybe in your opinion the Orioles can't pitch. Philip Humber threw his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field, and one could argue that the Mariners can't hit, especially in Safeco Field. The fact that conditions might have made Hamilton's four-homer game a tiny bit more likely doesn't mean that his four-homer game was in any way likely. Five at-bats. Four home runs, and a double.

In the aftermath of such an explosion, you'd think that we'd see a similar, slightly delayed explosion of articles discussing how amazing it all was. You know, the way you do after amazing performances or amazing baseball games. Here's what I saw. An article from Jeff Passan:

Josh Hamilton's record-tying four home runs add intrigue to renewed contract talks with Rangers

An article from Jon Heyman:

Hamilton wants to be paid like 'elite' player but Rangers should be cautious

An article from Bob Nightengale:

Josh Hamilton: Four-homer night complicates Rangers' dilemma

(The dilemma is Hamilton's contract.)

The ESPN/MLB front page:

Hamiltonespn_medium

Tuesday night, Josh Hamilton hit four home runs (and a double, can't forget about that double) in one nine-inning baseball game. The response has largely been to talk about Hamilton's contract negotiations, because Hamilton is a pending free agent, and he presents an interesting case.

And he most certainly does present an interesting case. Genetically speaking, there's never been a pending free agent quite like Adam Kennedy, but there's really never been a pending free agent quite like Josh Hamilton. Is he the most purely talented position player in baseball? Is he a drug addict likely to relapse? Is he too unreliable? Does his talent off-set his unreliability? It's going to be fascinating to examine whatever contract Hamilton ends up signing.

But, two things. For one, we spent so much of the spring talking about Josh Hamilton's contract negotiations. Remember that, when Hamilton's side and the Rangers were talking contract? Tons of people wrote about it. Tons of the same people wrote about it. At the time, Hamilton was a supremely-talented baseball player with extraordinary question marks. Today, on May 9, Hamilton is a supremely talented baseball player with extraordinary question marks. Next to nothing has changed. Why revisit the same topic? Why write what's been written? Why write what's been written within just a couple months?

And for two, Josh Hamilton hit four home runs and generated 18 total bases in one baseball game. Hamilton had one of the greatest games in the history of Major League Baseball. Why not write about that? Why not take some time to appreciate what Josh Hamilton did on a baseball field, instead of using that to fuel something written about what Hamilton might do at a later date in somebody's office?

The guy who made the most sense was Peter Gammons on Twitter, and if you're familiar with his history, you know that sometimes Peter Gammons makes literally zero sense on Twitter. Said Gammons Wednesday morning:

He's exactly right, except for the comtract part. Hamilton's performance was a historic performance to be appreciated, and somehow I feel like it's being glossed over. Not by everybody, but by too many bodies. What's important right now isn't Josh Hamilton's next contract. What's important is what Josh Hamilton just did to pitchers on a baseball field.

I know that it can be hard to write something original or properly appreciative after a game like this, which comes out of the blue. Nobody figured Hamilton would hit four home runs in Baltimore and he did it at night, meaning writers had to turn around pretty quick to churn out their content. That's the business. I think that's an excuse for maybe not writing the best thing one's ever written, but I don't think that's a valid excuse for taking the complete wrong approach.

And I do recognize that by writing about people who aren't making enough of what Hamilton just did, I'm not making enough of what Hamilton just did. This article probably isn't a part of the solution. But I don't think it's a part of the problem, where the problem is thinking about Hamilton's contract instead of Hamilton's figuratively mind-blowing numbers.

Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one baseball game*. Matt Kemp and Rickie Weeks failed to hit four home runs in last year's Home Run Derby. That is the story. It is one hell of a story. I don't know why everybody isn't trying to write that story. The other story isn't the least bit fresh or the least bit time-sensitive. Something's gone awry, and this moment, this historic moment, is already passing.

* and a double

***


The SB Nation YouTube Channel | Subscribe Now | Follow @SBNStudios


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.