I pulled this from the comments because it’s good insight and a different approach to thinking about Josh Hamilton’s issues. While my post earlier takes a more harsh approach on the subject of vice, I agree with his conclusions on what should be done with Hamilton in the lineup.
Vices definitely can throw you off. Being a public figure is quite stressful because every fan acts like you’re a business commodity. That’s partly why there’s so much money given to pro athletes. Something has to offset the feeling that you’re a piece of property. With that stressor, in addition to a vice you feel convicted to control in order to feel good about yourself, I can see where I wouldn’t feel like swinging a bat day in and day out. The problem is that it’s blatantly obvious that he’s going through the motions, and I can only think of one or two other players I’ve ever seen flop like this. When Manny Ramirez was dogging it in Boston, he got a quick exit. I think it’s clear that this team can’t depend on Josh like they ideally would like to, and that’s just unfortunate. Moving him down in the lineup would at least shed some of that expectation, and I think that would save this team in terms of both their production and fan appeal. The switch to 5th worked well. Let’s try that again.