Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's Musings on Sports -- Of Celebrations, Ginger Style

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. Although Max resigned from 1050 more than a year ago, I have tried to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

This morning I was listening to an interview with Nolan Ryan of the newly crowned AL champion Texas Rangers. During the interview, a question was posed to Ryan about his impressions of Ranger slugger, Josh Hamilton. For those who do not know about him, Hamilton is a recovering drug/alcohol abuser who burst onto the scene in 2008 after being traded to Texas by the Cincinnati Reds.

Due to some family commitments over the past weekend, I was unaware that Hamilton had been named the MVP of the ALCS and the interview was newsworthy in at least this regard. However, the answer that Ryan gave to the question posed as to his impressions of Hamilton was even more revealing to me. Ryan talked about how after the Rangers had beaten Tampa Bay in the ALDS, the team had foregone the traditional champagne celebration and had instead doused each other with ginger ale, in order to honor Hamilton.

This evening, I did a little digging and came up with the following quote from Kevin Kaduk on yahoo:

If you remember correctly, it was Hamilton who sat out the team's AL West clincher party last month because he's a recovering drug and alcohol addict who didn't want to be tempted or give the wrong impression to the fans who support him. A few teammates tried to douse him with water after that win, but let's be honest, there's nothing fun about getting sprayed by water. Hamilton quickly left the clubhouse to go talk with a church group.

The bubbly, on the other hand, is a different degree of fun and the Rangers were prepared this time around. According to our own Tim Brown, they started celebrating the franchise's first playoff series victory by breaking out the green plastic soda pop bottles and making sure that Hamilton got his. Their star outfielder responded by telling reporters that "this stuff burns your eyes just like that other stuff (champagne) does." Meanwhile, his wife said that it was "precious" that the team had her husband's best interests in mind.
[A link to the full article can be found here - ].

The concept of looking out for teammates and not providing them with undue temptation can be found in Judaism as well. The Torah teaches in Vayikra 19:14 that a person should not place a stumbling block (michshol) before a blind man. There are myriad halachos which are taught from this pasuk as to how one should not put his friend in a position where he may come to sin. Its nice to see its application in the clubhouse as well.

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