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October 5, 2010

Josh Hamilton


Q. When you think about what could have been, what do you think about?
JOSH HAMILTON: Let's see. I think that I made some mistakes and God's grace and his mercy allowed me to use another avenue and path to get me to where he wanted me to be. So I can't think about the what-ifs. All I can think about is moving forward in the future.

Q. Obviously you were just asking if this was the room. Given your story and all you've come back from, all you've overcome, now you're playing the Rays in the post-season. Is it just another notch in the story?
JOSH HAMILTON: Yeah, it's amazing how full circle it's come. I was talking earlier about seeing the guys that I've played with over there. You know, during the regular season, we kind of meet up behind second base and warm up and cut up and talk with each other and kind of catch up a little bit. So it's good to see that factor of it.
But at the same time, now we might give a little wave, but it's not going to be the buddy-buddy, how-you-doing-type of atmosphere, it's going to be more competitive, win or lose, winner takes all type of deal.

Q. And I guess I should have been more clear with this, but I talked to Carl Crawford earlier and asked him, and he said our outfield was supposed to be Baldelli, himself and you. Do you ever allow yourself to think about if the three of you had all panned out together?
JOSH HAMILTON: Yeah, it would have been a pretty disgusting outfield. It would have been sick. You probably would have had to hit it over the fence for a ball to drop in, really. So you think about that.
But I mean, that's what's so hard to predict, like when you're scouting and you're predicting and projecting players. I mean, that's what's so difficult about it, because you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know what life is going to throw at them or injuries or anything like that. So when you project things like that, that's exactly what it is, a projection, because a lot of times it doesn't end up that way. But to think about it, it would have been a pretty good one.

Q. More current, can you sort of explain what Guerrero's influence has been on you in the lineup, in the clubhouse?
JOSH HAMILTON: From the moment I met Vlad, he's a player that just brings a winning attitude to the team. His smile is infectious. I mean, he's always smiling, unless you throw them high and tight (laughter).
But just for a little bit of time this year, I hit behind him. I was hitting in the fifth spot, he was hitting fourth. To stand on-deck and watch him swing the bat is something that you see once in a lifetime, you have that opportunity. You always talks about just seeing the ball, and it's that simple, see the ball, whether it's down bouncing on the ground or up over his head. He's one of the best hitters that the game has seen. So he's going to have an impact on the guys around him.
You can't teach what he does by any means. But the intimidation factor he has when he's in the lineup on other teams -- because they don't know what to do with him, I mean, really. Honestly you don't know what to do with Vladimir Guerrero. I think sometimes the best thing to do is throw it down the middle. But it's just awesome to be in the same lineup with him, knowing his stats, knowing what he brings to the table every day.
I mean, it's unreal to me to think about what -- I think he's hit in 12 seasons or 11 seasons over .300. That's pretty amazing. And he's the same guy. He's not, quote, your normal superstar, because he acts like just an average person. He's very humbled and down to earth, and I could probably talk about him all day. He's just a great teammate to have.

Q. When you step back and think about it, how pleased and happy are you with your life away from baseball right now?
JOSH HAMILTON: Very good. Mentally, spiritually, family, all those things are in a good place. I think that showed on the field this year. When those things are where they needed to be, God first, and really pursuing that relationship with Christ, everything else in my life is taken care of. It's just been a really good year.
Even last year when I was hurt a lot, it was still a good year for me because spiritually, and it taught me a lot of lessons and helped me prepare for later in my career this year and moving forward.

Q. Can you talk about David Price, tomorrow's starting pitcher for the Rays?
JOSH HAMILTON: He's good. Next? I'm just kidding.
You know what, he's a hard-throwing lefty. He likes to throw his fastball. You know, he'll try to get you to chase out of the zone with his breaking ball, breaking stuff, off-speed pitches. So it's just see the good fastball for a strike, you hit it, try to make him get the ball up off-speed wise, and don't try to out-think yourself or think too much or out-think him. Just let your ability take over and react to pitches, because he's had a good year, he's proven himself in the league. So we'll take what he gives us and try to put the barrel on the ball, keep it simple.

Q. How are your ribs right now, and do you feel 100 percent? Does it hurt when you swing and miss? Are you wearing a flak jacket?
JOSH HAMILTON: That's 25 questions in one, man. First of all, nobody -- if you ask anybody, nobody is feeling 100 percent right now, so that kind of puts things in perspective for me.
You know, the ribs, I'd be lying to you if I said that it didn't hurt. It does. But mind over matter. When I think about the little bit of pain I'm in, I think about Christ on the cross and what he bore for us. So that puts things in perspective tremendously.
Flak jacket I'm wearing is just for impact purposes only, you know, whether I hit the wall. They said the only way I can re-injure myself is if I run into the wall again or run into somebody, dive for a ball and land on it, which is three things that could possibly happen. So just precautionary reasons.
Swinging, it's going to hurt if I swing and miss, so I'll try to do that as little as possible. But you know, it's just that time of the year. You suck it up, you get after it, because I want to be in there for my teammates. I want to be in the lineup. I've been there most of the year with them through everything we've gone through together to get to this point. It hasn't happened in 11 years, so I would definitely love to be out there with them, and I'm going to be out there with them.

Q. Can you remember the last time you wore a Rays uniform of any time? Was it in Hudson Valley in '06?
JOSH HAMILTON: Yeah, it was Hudson Valley in '06. And yeah, that was kind of coming full circle, too, playing '99 with the Renegades, winning a championship with those guys, and then being out of baseball, coming back into baseball and starting there again. So you know, it started there and it restarted there.

Q. Being able to go there and have success and hit as well as you did, did you surprise yourself just being able to be away for that long and come back and hit at Hudson Valley that year?
JOSH HAMILTON: Yeah, I only played like 15 games. I had to go get my knee scoped again, just add it to the list. But you know, coming back for the first time, I remember I was at the complex over here, and the first day I came back, I remember it was literally the first time I had taken -- no, it was probably the third or fourth time I had taken batting practice on the field. But there was a lot of media there, and I think I was using Crawford's bat. He sent a couple bats over for me to use, and I just remember it was just like I hadn't ever left the game. I mean, it was just fun and powerful and homers and line drives. It was just like I was where I was supposed to be, back playing the game.

Q. Cliff is 0-3 against Tampa this year. How does that happen with a guy like Cliff Lee?
JOSH HAMILTON: That's baseball. I mean, you take the best pitchers on any given day, any team on any given day, they can beat anybody. That's what makes the game so special. You might have a team that's a lot better than another team and supposed to win, but they just don't get it done that day.
You know, we've been saving our wins for the playoffs against the Rays. What are we, like, 13 -- what's the number? We've won three out of 16 games against them in the last three years or something, something ridiculous. But that's why I'm saying, we're saving them for the playoffs.

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