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Ron Washington stayed and Vladimir Guerrero and Cliff Lee arrived, but nothing sparked the local baseball season more than the resurfacing of Hamilton. After a slow start, Hamilton lost a toe-tap timing mechanism in June and found his old swing. He again became one of baseball's best hitters, flirting with a home run/batting average/RBI Triple Crown that made us forget his horrible 2009 low-lighted by injuries and a certain Arizona episode involving whipped cream. Hamilton's power kept him among the leaders in dingers, but nothing signaled his return to glory more than a scorching liner against the Angels that bounded past the second baseman and all the way to the wall for a stand-up triple. Only Josh could take things that far.
Just when Ron Washington appeared on the fast track out of Arlington after disappointing seasons in his first two years as manager, Wash saved his job by leading the Rangers to a surprising 87 wins last year, but we learned in March that he tested positive for cocaine while doing so. Despite the implausible claim that it was his only time trying it and his subsequent admission to taking amphetamines as a major-league player and smoking pot in the minors, management stuck with him and somehow the label as a druggie never did. The issue fizzled quickly and now that Texas is headed toward its first playoff appearance in more than a decade, Wash's name is being tossed around as a candidate for the league's manager of the year, which seemed impossible for a guy who spent nine months in outpatient counseling as a result of testing positive for an illegal drug.
Seems a safe bet that this is one of the most competitive categories in this whole damn issue. In this corner, you have Eric Nadel, iconic radio voice of the Texas Rangers for more than 30 years. In this corner, you have Ralph Strangis and Darryl Reaugh, the only hockey announcers North Texas has ever known. Yet standing in the middle, stiff-arming the competition, stands Brad Sham, Dallas' version of Vin Scully. Yes, he roots for the Cowboys. But he does it eloquently, almost subtly, somehow without being a homer. And he's by no means a shill for Jerry Jones, evidenced by his memorable, disgusted calls of a rare catch by Martellus Bennett and an all-too-familiar drop by Roy Williams.