Though many sports scribes surmised Your Anaheim Angels of Anaheim leaked details of their outfielder Josh Hamilton's meeting with Major League Baseball to admit he'd used cocaine, the league says there is no evidence indicating that and no investigation of the team will be launched.
Under the terms of the MLB drug program, no information is supposed to be made public unless there is a suspension. But news leaked in February that Hamilton, a longtime addict who has been suspended multiple times before, had met with league officials in New York over a “disciplinary issue.” CBS Sportsline and the New York Daily News went on to cite unidentified sources who said the issue involved a cocaine and alcohol relapse.
The league is forbidden from releasing that information, and it would not have been in the interest of Hamilton or his people to let it get out. But it would help the Angels, especially if the headlines that were spreading were true: Hamilton was on the cusp of being suspended again.
A suspension would allow the team to get out from under $25.4 million due to Hamilton this year, the third of a five-year, $125 million contract. He's hit only hit 31 home runs in his first two years with the Halos, and he is now on the disabled list following off-season shoulder surgery. The Angels are not getting a return on that huge investment.
Baseball scribes across the nation following the saga believed their theories that the Angels were behind the leaks were confirmed by the team's harsh reaction to an arbiter ruling Hamilton should not be suspended.
The league reacted that it disagreed but would abide by the decision, but Anaheim's General Manager Jerry Dipoto said: “The Angels have serious concerns about Josh's conduct, health and behavior and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans. We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family.”
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who Angels owner Arte Moreno did not want for that job, just told the Los Angeles Times that he has “no reason” to believe the team was behind the leak.
“Confidentiality is an important component of the drug program,” Manfred reportedly said. “Unfortunately, the more people that know about something, the less likely it is that it's going to stay confidential. I think we will work hard going forward to make sure we do everything we possibly can to retain the type of confidentiality that has generally been a hallmark of our program.”
Nothing to see here, folks!
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.