Josh Hamilton's "Homecoming."


The
last report I sent out was 2,554 words, yesterday morning.  It wasn’t until 1,863 words in that I mentioned
to you that the first episode of ESPN’s new series, “Homecoming with Rick
Reilly,” would air tonight at 7 p.m., featuring Josh Hamilton. 

 

I
didn’t know the format of the series or the nature of the story they were going
to tell, and I’m sorry that I didn’t learn more about it in advance so I could
pass that along to you.  I didn’t even
know it was actually going to be on ESPN*2*,
and I’m sorry about that, too.  More than
anything, it shouldn’t have been buried 1,800 words into a report that probably
got deleted halfway through by those of you who managed to stick it out for
that long, and I apologize for that.

 

I
don’t know when tonight’s episode of “Homecoming” will re-air, if at all, but I’m
not deleting that DVR timer, and every time it does show back up, I will watch
it again. 

 

Every
time.

 

I’ve
read Josh’s book, and probably every article out there that’s been written about
him.  But I learned a lot more tonight,
and got the chance to put faces and voices and stories to names.

 

One
person’s absence from the packed auditorium at Josh’s high school for the
taping of the show stood out.  His wife
and one of their daughters were there, and so was their pastor, and Josh’s parents
and more family, high school teammates and coaches and Ashley Pittman, and Johnny
Narron and Jerry Narron and other instrumental people in his recovery, and
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Clay Council. 

 

But
Josh’s grandmother Mary Holt wasn’t there, and since the show was filmed minutes
from where she lives that makes me less than optimistic that we might see her
one day in Arlington.  The footage of Mary and Josh sitting together
on a couch in her home, talking about what they went through together, was
unforgettable, but she wasn’t in the auditorium with everyone else.

 

For
22 years the Rangers have had a “Texas Hero” throw out the first pitch on
Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  There have been police officers and
firefighters who have saved lives.  A
World War II pilot who received the Bronze and Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts.  A 10-year-old boy who pulled his unconscious
sister from the bottom of a swimming pool. 
Tom Landry and Jessica McClure and military leaders and an entire
platoon.

 

She’s
not from Texas,
but if there were any way to get Mary Holt onto that mound to bring in the next
new baseball season, I promise that I will respond with the longest standing
ovation I have ever given anybody, anywhere.

 

Sorry
I didn’t alert you to the “Homecoming” episode any more prominently than I did
on Thursday morning, but I had no idea what we’d be getting.  When I learn when it will air again, I will
let all of you know, in its own email, not buried a million words down.

 

 

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

3 Comments

Nice writeup, Jamey. I live in the Raleigh area and have followed Josh since his days at Athens Drive.I had the opportunity to be in the audience for the taping of the show back in October and as good as it was on TV last night, it was 10 times better in person. It’s difficult to find the words to describe the atmosphere in the gym that night. Given the time constraints, a lot cool stuff didn’t make the show. It’s a shame that Mary Holt’s health issues kept her from being there in the gym and I hope that the ESPN folks gave her all 3 hours of what they taped. She’s a remarkable woman and the scenes of her with Josh were really special.I’m glad that most of the Ashley Pittman footage made the cut. From where I was sitting I could see Ashley getting ready to go on and he was weeping from joy. There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in the place when he and Josh shared that hug. I saw first hand how Josh treated Ashley during his days at Athens Drive and I was there at the spring sports banquet when Josh received the Ashley Pittman award. This is the same Ashley Pittman who would say to Josh’s Mom – “People were always so mean to me in high school, and I could never understand why Josh was always so nice.” Ashley is a remarkable young man and I hope he gets to play himself when Hollywood makes Josh’s story into a movie.

Correction to the next-to-the-last sentence in my comment: upon further review, this quote may actually be from another Athens Drive special ed student – not Ashley.

I missed your announcement about the program being on, but I was channel surffing, and came upon it about 15 min into it. I was wishing I had seen the entire thing. I was amazed at seeing it. I was glad to see Salty there as well. It was a great program!

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