Jewish Journal

Rangers: ‘I am second’

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 2, 2010 | 9:52 am

I felt like I was going to vomit at about 7:30 last night.

It’s been a tough year for this sports fan. The Dodgers are headed for court-ordered sale. The Chargers would be better off in receivership than in AJ Smith and Norv Turner’s hands. UCLA basketball was disappointing and Bruins football has been more so. Heap on top of that the Giants winning their first World Series since moving to San Francisco and, well, at least I won my fantasy football match-up this week.

Too bad too for Josh Hamilton. You really have to root for the guy. Unfortunately, this season he ended up second.

Then again, he doesn’t seem to have a problem being second. At least not off the field.

You can see this in the above video for I Am Second, which a friend pointed me to yesterday. I’d never heard of the group, or Hamilton’s involvement, but, according to Sam Hodges of the Dallas Morning News, both go a few years back.

The evangelical Christian campaign has had the Texas Rangers star as a mainstay of its advertising. And Hamilton will be among those featured in a new round of I Am Second billboards going up locally next week, despite having recently acknowledged the authenticity of photos posted to the Internet that show him drunkenly cavorting with young women in January.

Hamilton apologized for the photos and his conduct, and said the episode was proof of his ongoing battle with addiction.

Leaders of I Am Second were impressed by how he owned up, and made a “pretty easy” decision to stick with him, said Nathan Sheets.

“We had him in the lineup before. We’re not going to take him down,” said Sheets, vice president of Plano-based e3 Partners Ministry, the group behind the campaign. “This isn’t about a bunch of perfect people.”

Hamilton said through a team spokesman that he’s not surprised that I Am Second leaders are standing by him.

“As a Christian, other Christians realize you are still going to make mistakes,” Hamilton said. “But as a Christian, you learn from and get encouragement from other believers. They don’t give up on you.”

The nondenominational I Am Second effort draws on celebrities and others who testify that they have placed God first in their life and depend on Christian faith to help them with their struggles.

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