On Friday, I spoke with Johnny Narron, the Rangers' special assignment coach and Josh Hamilton's devoutly religious "accountability partner." He was gracious, forthright and apparently full of crap.
Narron, you'll recall, said that he'd "be shocked" if the photos I'd briefly described for him "had any validity." He didn't "put a lot faith" in them. He suggested they might have been doctored. I asked several stumbling variations on the question of whether Hamilton had backslid. He gave several confident variations on the answer, "Not to my knowledge."
Now, here's Hamilton from Saturday's press conference:
As soon as it happened, I called my support system, like the Rangers, MLB even, and told them what had happened. I was absolutely open and honest about it.
Johnny Narron was in Arizona. It's one of those things where, a little bit, when you start getting time under your belt, you start taking it for granted. You might feel like you can have some freedom every once in awhile. Obviously, I don't have enough time under my belt. It's not Johnny's fault. We have a good relationship and we trust each other. Obviously, I breeched [sic] that trust. I've asked for his forgiveness. We've done things to improve that and be on the same page even more.
So Narron knew, if we're to believe Hamilton. I'll grant the possibility that my questions were sloppy enough to allow for a certain lawyerly parsing on his part. For one thing, I was operating under the misapprehension that the photos were taken in March, not, as Hamilton clarified Saturday, in January. The alternatives are that Narron — who did not return my call this morning — was either lying to me to give Hamilton a chance to respond in full (understandable, but damned un-Christian of him) or the whole thing had just slipped his mind, making him perhaps the worst accountability partner in the history of drug addiction. Whatever the case, Narron is probably not someone in whom we should put a lot faith.