MVP Josh Hamilton gets more ginger ale
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's a good thing Josh Hamilton likes ginger ale.
The Texas Rangers slugger got yet another shower of the non-alcoholic bubbly after the Rangers' 6-1 win over the Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series clinched the franchise's first World Series berth.
But this time, he got it on the field. Players and coaches scrambled to grab 1-liter bottles and soaked Hamilton and each other on the infield just before the presentation of the AL championship trophy.
Hamilton was named the ALCS MVP after hitting .350 with four home runs in the series.
Hamilton, who has battled alcohol and drug addiction, doesn't want to be around the smell of champagne. So before his teammates popped corks on the traditional celebration beverage of choice, they sprayed themselves -- and Hamilton, of course -- with ginger ale.
"It says so much about the guys and the organization how sensitive they are to my situation, but at the same time wanting me to feel like a part of the team and the celebration," Hamilton said. "It spilled over on the field. Hopefully it will set a precedent for sports teams. Don't flaunt it. We're role models."
When the Rangers won the AL West in Oakland, Hamilton did not take part in the clubhouse celebration. He hugged his teammates on the field and then showered and changed clothes to keep an appointment to speak to church groups in the stadium as part of Faith Day. His teammates tried to douse him with water bottles, but by the time they found him, he was already dressed and ready.
In Tampa Bay, his teammates made sure he couldn't get away. They planned in advance the ginger ale celebration, ordering large plastic bottles of the drink along with the champagne. It was the same thing on Friday.
Maybe the biggest difference for Hamilton is that against Tampa Bay he hit just .111 in the series. Against the New York Yankees, he batted .350 (7-for-20) with eight walks, five of them intentionally. He had the Yankees so concerned in Friday's Game 6 that they walked him intentionally three times after he hit a first-inning single. The second walk, in the fifth inning, hurt the Yankees dearly as Vladimir Guerrero got a two-out double to score two runs.