Friday, October 22, 2010

Hamilton wins ALCS MVP award as Rangers pop cork on... ginger ale

Raleigh's Josh Hamilton, who has struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, was awarded the American League Championship Series MVP Award following his team's 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees.

The win clinched a trip to the World Series. Instead of popping the cork on traditional champagne, Hamilton's teammates sprayed ginger ale on each other out of respect for Hamilton and his issues with alcohol.

Hamilton hit .350 in the series while hitting four home runs and driving in seven runs. "First of all, all glory goes to God, Jesus Christ," Hamilton said. "Secondly, i love my teammates. Any of these guys could have gotten this award... I don't want to talk about myself - I want to talk about them."

Hamilton said the Rangers are in this position because the players "don't know how to fail" and there is great team chemistry. "The guys love each other and support each other," he said.

Hamilton, whose voice was cracking as he was being interviewed about what he means to win the MVP after all his struggles, said in the final inning he was in the outfield tearing up, trying to hold it all together in case the ball was hit to him. "It means a lot with everything i've been through and what God has brought me through to this point with this group of guys," he said. "I'm so excited and I feel blessed."

He has 26 tattoos that he now tries to hide and which he got while drinking and doing drugs in Florida early in his professional career. "My first drink - my first drink ever - was at a strip club down there, with the tattoo guys," Hamilton said a few years ago. "Pretty soon, I started using. First the powder. Then crack. I was 20. I wasn't playing. I was hurt. My parents left and went back home. I was by myself for the first time."

The whole world is with the popular Hamilton now and many are rooting for him and his Rangers team as they go to the World Series to play the winner of the Giants-Phillies series.

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