SocraticGadfly: 4/19/15 - 4/26/15

April 24, 2015

Josh Hamilton, Texas Ranger?

Josh Hamilton
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, with Bill Baer at Hardball Talk rounding up several additional links, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Downey, and Owner Cluelessness are prepared to make a "dump" trade of — no stereotyping words — outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Texas Rangers, the city where he made good.

And, it's reportedly a done deal, with the Angels eating all but $15M of his salary.

Several questions, issues, and thoughts.

1. On that "eating salary," per more information, on USA Today and a Hardball Talk commenter, reportedly this is NOT adding up to $68M + $15M. The Angels are allegedly saying that because Texas has no state income tax, Hamilton:
(I)s also expected to help offset the remaining $15 million, according to a person involved with the talks.
I am sure this is not the first trade of a player from a state with income tax to a state with none, or vice versa, with one party eating contract. On the vice versa, the stRangers ate some of A-Rod's contract, but the Yankees weren't asked to "help Alex out" because he would now be paying state income tax.

To me, this sounds like a violation of the collective bargaining agreement between owners and the players union.

And, it's a bogus argument anyway. Twenty-one states have laws on their books to tax the salaries of visiting athletes in road games, meaning the "tax-free state" argument is bullshit. There's more here on how accountants who specialize in working for athletes have to deal with this. Wikipedia even has a jock tax page.

But, per the latest update on the situation, with Hamilton getting an opt-out after just 2 years (like he's gonna use that), Hamilton is eating $6 million of contract money.

Oh, and does anybody think Josh Hamilton is either:

1. Dumb enough to exercise that opt-out and leave $30M on the table (or $28M, after 1/3 of that $6M "no state income tax" is deducted), or
2. Going to have a banner year in 2015 or 2016 making it worth his while to opt out?

If the MLBPA thinks that's worth eating $6M, the players ought to fire Tony Clark and see if they can get Donald Fehr back, or somebody.

A lot of fans, I'll bet, don't get that the money per se isn't the issue; it's a player voluntarily undercutting a signed contract by renegotiation. See Section 2 immediately below.

2. Grant says originally said a buyout of Hamilton's contract is was being mentioned, with the Rangers then signing Hamilton for the veteran minimum, rather than Angels' owner Arte Moreno eating a chunk of the current contract. Unless the buyout is for 100 percent of what's left on the contract, the Players' Association and current executive director Tony Clark have to get involved, don't they?

Do they have that power? Well, if the attempted trade of Alex Rodriguez by the Rangers to the Boston Red Sox is an indicator, the answer is yes:
And the MLBPA nixed it. The union had to approve any alteration to a player’s contract that would reduce his salary. It also had to look out for the best interests of all its members, for whom Rodriguez’s contract was a benchmark rising tide that lifted all boats. And so it said no.
Sounds simple enough. 

That said, per the update, Tony and the union need to get involved on the "no tax, Josh will help us" issue.

3. What is Commissioner Corleone's role, if any?

We know that Rob Manfred, as former Commish Bud Selig's right-hand man for labor issues, was the person who got the Budster to bring the hammer down on A-Rod over Biogenesis. We know that he's been lackadaisical, even when called out on it, in looking at who leaked about Hamilton being under a potential disciplinary gun. Is he seeing this as a chance to push the union, if buyout is the operative word?

4. Given Hamilton's latest relapse is connected to him filing for divorce, and his sobriety support network starting with his soon-to-be ex-wife and ex-father-in-law — as Christian Right/prosperity gospel wingnutty as they are, as I discussed here — what sort of structure does he have for support, or does he expect to have?

Ron Washington is no longer the manager there, after all. With his own background, even if no addiction was involved, of having used cocaine, perhaps Washington, generally known as a "players manager" in terms of clubhouse chemistry, was part of that previous support — and on-field success — too? Jeff Banister may be a decent enough guy, but he didn't manage Hamilton before.

That said, Grant notes:

The Rangers have worked through a number of scenarios, including how Hamilton would fit back into the clubhouse. It should be noted that Roy Silver, who was hired as a special assistant in player development over the winter, operated the faith-based baseball academy at which Hamilton was reintroduced to baseball in 2007.
So, that may help. Or may not.

After all, just a month ago, Silver said Hamilton should retire.

5. Whether as a buyout for "considerations" or a straight trade, who do the Rangers send back? A few people on Hardball Talk have suggested Shin-Soo Choo. That would be even dumber, IMO, for Moreno than keeping Hamilton. Sure, it's over twice as many years, but Choo's remaining contract is 50 percent more than Hamilton's. I've suggested Elvis Andrus, who's just starting a long-term contract that's a moderate but not humongous overpay. Either he or incumbent Erick Aybar could be moved to second, as I highly doubt that Johnny Giovotella's start this season will last.

6. That said, per other fans, I don't get what's in this for the Rangers, other than a marketing deal. They're nowhere near contending this year, and many thought they'd be lucky to finish ahead of the Astros and stay out of the cellar, especially after losing Yu Darvish for the year to Tommy John surgery. Maybe they want butts in seats that badly, and the price was cheap enough, given that we have yet to hear any names of players going back to the Angels.

7. How will he do? Better than in LA, on non-park-adjusted stats, since Arlington's a launch pad and Anaheim is slightly to moderately pitcher friendly.

Adjusted stats? He'll probably do somewhat better than with the Haloes, but a fair amount worse on both adjusted and unadjusted stats than he did with the Rangers the previous go-round. And with him in left and Choo in right, Leonys Martin will have to bring his A game defensively every night.

#TxLege — Freedom from Big Gov for me, but not for thee, Texas cities (updated)

Texas politicians, whether many current occupants of the Legislature, or even more, the past and current governors and the current lieutenant governor, are fond of wanting Washington off Austin's back. After all, our new governor, when he was attorney general, used to brag about waking up and suing Obama, even though he often lost those cases.

But, especially in the current year and current legislature, home-rule cities' attempts to be free from Austin's tyrannical thumb, it's a different story.

Many of us have read the basics, but the Texas Municipal League shows just how bad it is, per Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League:
“Every legislative session, bills are introduced to prohibit, limit, or require certain actions by local governments. But this year, legislators have launched an unprecedented assault on the authority to make decisions at the local level.”
The top bill on that list is, of course, a larger-scale response to Denton's ban on fracking. Other legislation specifically addresses fracking. Yet other oil and gas related legislation would ban cities from going beyond the state in pipeline regulations.

Update: Meanwhile, as of April 24, I'm updating this post. It seems the hypocrisy needs to include TML itself, which went "neutral" on the revised version of House Bill 40, which bans local control over fracking.

But there are other fun ones. Doubling down on the "Oprah law" about agricultural defamation a number of years ago, some people in the Lege want to restrict cities' rights to put extra regulation on agricultural products.

Another biggie, about one-third of the way down the page, and of high importance with Indiana and Arkansas' recent Religious Freedom Restoration Act tussles, would prohibit cities from going beyond state law in adopting ordinances that create a protected class or prohibit discrimination on a basis not contained in state laws.

In plain English, no more HERO ordinances if this passes.

Related to that, another one would prohibit cities from enforcing any federal law the state finds in violation of the state constitution. We'll call that the anti-gay marriage services law.

Sandlin, again, talks about stuff like this:
“Texans want their community to be able to solve its own problems in its own way. When politicians in Austin decry a ‘patchwork’ of local ordinances, they are saying all 26 million Texans must conform to one way of thinking and one way of living dictated by the legislature.  Texans care deeply about their own neighborhood but they aren’t losing sleep over local ordinances in a city 300 miles away.”
And, that's not all.

Other laws, if passed, would:
  • Bar cities keeping their police officers from being immigration cops if the state says they have to.
  • Prevent local regulation of Tasers (Waiting for Taser Open Carry Tarrant County to form)
  • Keep cities from keeping propane tanks off urban property
  • Prohibit cities from enforcing federal firearms laws
And, the winner of the tinfoil hat prize? The Lege wants to ban cities from
Enter(ing) into agreements, contracts, accept money from or grant money to any organization accredited by the United Nations to implement policy that originated in Agenda 21.
That's our Lege!

TML has promised that link will be updated, so you can bookmark it.

April 23, 2015

Today's real appeasement isn't what wingnuts claim it is

With Sen. Tom Cotton and the letter of "The 47" of the Senate GOP to Iran, and three declared GOP presidential candidates and more on the way, expect words and phrases like "Iran," "appeasement," "Munich" and "Neville Chamberlain" to get mouthed by more and more Republicans in the next 18 months.

Or, with two Cuban-Americans in the race, substitute "Cuba" for "Iran."

Fact is that neither of these is what the real "appeasement" is.

Rather, as most recently illustrated by the Trans Pacific Partnership officially entering Congressional fast-track discussion, the real appeasement is continuing to "engage" with China in the blind, unsubstantiated belief that such "engagement" will automatically, at some point, liberalize Chinese government.

But, why would it?

Singapore was an authoritarian capitalist government for decades under Lee Kuan Yew. Israel is moving in a more anti-democratic direction as we speak, as is Turkey.

And, for worshipers at the hagiography of human rationality, Adam Smith never said that his invisible hand was dependent on a certain type of government. Since 1700s Britain was hardly democratic, that alone undercuts the slavering shibboleths of today's bipartisan foreign policy establishment about China.

Beyond that, it's not just Beijing that's being appeased — it's rich businesses, ever more multinational in character, even if officially incorporated in the US.

Of the four declared presidential candidates of both major parties so far, do you seen anyone who's not an appeaser?

April 22, 2015

#EarthDay at 45

Earth Day Flag by John McConnell / Wikipedia
It's hard to believe, indeed, that Earth Day is 45 years old.

And, the limited knowledge we had then about just what all needed protecting. The Cuyahoga River catching fire seemed like big stuff. It was big enough, but it wasn't that big.

We didn't know about the ozone holes at both poles, threatening to let more and more of Earth be hit with ever-higher amounts of cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.

Nor did we know that one of the replacements for the chlorofluorocarbons causing the ozone hole, hydrofluorcarbons, would turn out to be global warming gases — and potent ones. And, we're just now learning that carbon dioxide driving global warming may intensify ozone depletion.

Of course, we didn't know about anything about the reality of global warming in 1970. We didn't realize that, short of carbon scrubbing equipment that isn't likely realistic for decades, if at all, we need to stop using fossil fuels as much as possible and as quickly as possible. (And, even the alarmists are probably overselling what that will do; a 2C temperature hike is almost certainly already cooked into our climate.)

We know that, now. We also know that renewable energy is become more and more cost-competitive all the time. But, we still don't know if it's as readily storable as we might wish, and just what the carbon impact of massive storage systems might be themselves.

In short, we've learned a lot about just how little we know about Planet Earth. Not just in what most people think about environmentalism, but basic ecology issues, like the discovery of a new species of grass frog.

And, per the Wikipedia link, we know that "green" is a powerful word, especially when corporations combine "green" with "green." We're learning that, while it's not bad for corporations to have a true environmental consciousness, that many corporations will greenwash themselves all they can. (See friend Perry for a roundup of Earth Day op-ed cartoons on this and other subjects.)

So, look at a nonprofit site like to commemorate Earth Day correctly and non-capitalistically. Note that, despite Gaylord Nelson latching on to it, and pushing it, the first Earth Day had no politicians connected to it, either. Click the link in the Earth Day Flag caption for John McConnell for more information on that front.


As noted above, we don't need politicians claiming undue credit for the environmental movement. But, we can salute them, even if, like Richard Nixon, the Clean Air and Clean Water acts were not only his personal conviction, but were part of trying to "steal" white suburbanites from the Democrats.

Nor do we need badly written blog posts trying to "privilege" something like "Presbyterian environmentalism."

Mark Stoll's claim that because John Muir and Ed Abbey were raised Presbyterian, thus that influenced them as adults, is bad enough. As an adult, Abbey was a secularist of some sort and Muir would best be labeled as a Spinozan pantheist, I think. (Even Stoll, while writing precisely, notes that the adult Muir was NOT anywhere near a conventional Presbyterian.) Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau were in the same general ballpark as Muir, of course. Some of other things are worse. And, not knowing, or else ignoring, that Abbey rejected the word "environmentalist" to describe himself? Sounds like an author working with a shoehorn.

Based on all this, if/when I see the author's book, if I read it, it will be with a very critical eye. Did "people of faith" have an influence on environmentalism because of their faith? Yes. But, I just listed four people above who weren't conventional Christians. I'll give you a fifth: Stewart Udall, Interior Secretary for Kennedy and Johnson.

And, I'll give you a sixth. William Howard Taft, whom myth still presents as somehow anti-environmentalist as compared to Teddy Roosevelt, was no such thing. And religiously? He was our nation's sole, to date, Unitarian president — again, not a conventional Christian.

So, while Mark Stoll is right about "people of faith" and environmentalism (and I have no problems recognizing that), his idea of specific denominational influences seems forced and overblown.

Nor do we need the likes of John Horgan continuing his bromance with the neoliberal, tech-driven Environmentalism 2.0 of Michael Shellenberger, Ted Nordhaus and the rest of Breakthrough Institute.

We've seen what Net 2.0 is already doing to the political world — dragging neoliberals into ever-more libertarian-leaning technology-based ideas to attempt to solve poverty, unemployment, etc. It's a variation on what Evgeny Morozov calls "solutionism," and we don't need to get environmentalism running down that road.

There, I'll end an Earth Day blog post with noting the interesting twist of having Evgeny Morozov mentioned in it.

April 21, 2015

Coming soon on #PBS #Nova — cheese, Koch style!

Scott Walker/Wikipedia
The Koch Brothers got outed earlier this week on their GOP 2016 Presidential nomination favorite — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

First, why Walker?

1. He's a governor, and Dear Leader's leap from the Senate aside, from Jimmy Carter on, previous executive experience (counting Poppy Bush as Veep) has been the normal White House route. That rules out Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, as well as, possibly, Jeb Bush as an ex-governor too long removed from office. Chris Christie probably is too liberal. John Kasich will probably stay out. Rick Perry

2. He's shown the chops as a union-buster.

3. By winning a recall, and re-election, he's shown he's a winner.

That said, Ed Kilgore notes the Koch Corleones are likely to do the equivalent of a "request for proposals" before officially tapping one candidate. And Vox says that the Kochs might not tap anybody too quickly, lest they lose leverage — as risible as it is to imagine a group of billionaire brothers losing political leverage.

Meanwhile, the first point may be worth bearing for Democrats, too. Martin O'Malley's a (recently ex)-governor. Hillz Clinton was the executive power behind the throne for the Slickster, and after running for Senate, then was an executive of sorts as Secretary of State. Bernie Sanders, whatever his odds are, is a senator. (So is Elizabeth Warren, should she change her mind; that said, her short Senate tenure would put her in the Obama category.

Now, that said, the joking header?

The David H. Koch Fund for Science is a major supporter of PBS' Nova science program. (Nova's already been criticized for pulling its punches on climate change ever since getting Koch money, and PBS in general has been accused of kowtowing.) Hence my joking about the science of Wisconsin cheddar!

No, chimps are not "people"; no, they should not have habeas rights

Sometimes, a chimpanzee is just a chimpanzee, per Freud.
At other times, it's a pawn in a misguided legal game.
BBC file photo from Sydney zoo.
I don't care what a New York State appeals court says, with its ruling that captive chimps should be granted habeas corpus.

For people who cite the "'personhood" of corporations, or the right to legal standing that animals can get under the Endangered Species Act? Those are both more narrow and specific than habeas corpus, which has 800 years of law behind it and is considered the touchstone of civil liberties in general.

As for why such a ruling shouldn't have been granted, writing before the initial pleading, Eric Posner explains, as part of one comment I made at this piece at Massimo Pigliucci's Scientia Salon.

Let's go to Posner, to whom Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe obviously did not listen:
The reason Tommy (a chimp in another habeas case) will lose is that the New York Legislature did not intend to encompass animals within the definition of “person” for filing a habeas petition. If lawmakers had meant to extend the writ of habeas in this way, when that had never been done before, they would have said so. If Hobby Lobby wins, on the other hand, it will be because courts think that Congress did intend to encompass for-profit corporations within the definition of “person” in providing for religious freedom. Whatever you make of these outcomes, you don’t have to worry that chimpanzees, craft stores, and zygotes will use them to conquer the planet and enslave humanity. The law does not turn something into a person by calling it one. 

I hope the New York legislature rectifies this error ASAP. 

That said, per Science and other media, it may just be that the judge has made this ruling so as to get to further hear Stony Brook's side of the case.

However — and while I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, as a journalist, I have a reasonable understanding of basic issues — I think Jaffe could have used a lesser ruling than granting habeas rights to still get Stony Brook into court to discuss this issue more. So, while I wouldn't read too too much into this ruling, I wouldn't use the phrase or idea of "don't read too much into this" as an invitation to dismiss it, either.

Edit/update: It appears this is what happened, using a legal phrase I was thinking about. Judge Jaffe did NOT grant a habeas writ. Instead, she issued a good old "show cause" order. That order requires Stony Brook to appear in court to argue why a habeas writ should not be issued.

I also find it offensive that the Nonhuman Rights Project tried to compare animal captivity to human slavery by invoking the Somerset decision in its original pleading.

And, per the last comment on the piece, NhRP isn't stopping with chimps; next, reportedly, is an elephant habeas corpus petition.

Three numbers for 2016: 67, 3, $10

Those are three numbers that are key for my presidential vote.

First, I don't want any neolib Democrat, let along a Republican, raising the age of full Social Security eligibility any higher. And, of course, I don't want any privatization talk. Instead, try making all income subject to FICA taxes. And, we can use that to better means-test Medicare. (Which could be a backdoor way to do single-payer national health care as "Medicare for all," but that's another story.)

Second, if not like Europe, we need to at least be like Canada, and guarantee employees above certain age and experience three weeks of paid vacation a year. Given the tumult of the US economy, this shouldn't be chained to specific jobs. The sad part is that this isn't even on the radar screen of many Americans, whether their work collars are blue, white or gray. And it should be.

I'm sure wingnuts would say "We can't afford this." Well, it's more affordable than people burning out on jobs, eventually to take early Social Security, and maybe even, especially if their collars are blue, to find the need to file for SSDI.

Third, we need to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. That's in line with what it was at its peak in the 1950s 1960s. It's never been more than $11 an hour, even in Eisenhower Johnson-era prosperity, when far fewer married women, especially with kids, were working. So, and I've blogged about it before, while $15/hour might (even then, I'm not sure) be OK as a local minimum wage in pricey places like Seattle, it's way too high as a national standard. You'll kill red-state and blue-state rural areas alike.

But, $10 is needed. Then, let's make a COLA for the minimum wage part of the bargain, like Social Security, so the minimum wage doesn't start lagging again. We get both liberals and conservatives of various degrees and stripes to do this and take it off the table afterward.

And, I'm not alone in this!

Arindrajit Dube, an economics prof, says the same thing. Move to $10 an hour, then implement a COLA and take this out of the realm of politics. He discusses the issue in detail here.

April 20, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance honors the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing

Life amidst death: Ducklings at the OKC bombing site.
(Blogger's photo.)
The Texas Progressive Alliance honors the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing on the 20th anniversary of that dark day as it brings you this week's roundup. (And, this TPA member hopes — even if against reality — that we don't have future such instances.)

Let's also not forget today is the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, which might take decades before the ocean floor is clean.

On to the roundup.

Off the Kuff celebrated the city of Houston's victory in court against the petition effort to force a referendum on repealing the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos wonders what a progressive Democratic grassroots activist is to do when her Party's leaders turn tail and side against their constituents. Les Miserables: Texas Political Donors and Voters Bought Lemons.

Nonsequiteuse suspects it would be safer to go to the grocery store and more crowded on election day if Democrats would put down their guns and move slowly to the left.

Socratic Gadfly combines his being a history buff with being an aficionado of classical music and poetry to note how Lincoln's death has been commemorated in the arts, on the sesquicentennial of his assassination.

There's a new "Dirty Thirty" in Austin, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs pulls back the curtain on the so-called Texas House Democrats who voted with the Republicans to overturn municipal fracking bans.  Surprise: it's all about the money, specifically campaign contributions from oil and gas companies.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. It's always funny when the media tries to figure out why the GOP can't come up with a "fantastic scheme for all that cash", When Cutting Is All You Know.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about the $2000 ticket a San Antonio chef was given for feeding the homeless in violation of a law prohibiting the feeding of the homeless in San Antonio. These laws are evil. Houston has such a law.  APHV is part of

Texas Leftist noted (a few weeks back, but who's counting) on the recent designation of Interstate 69 get I through Houston and Harris County, and the economic impact expected.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme was extremely disappointed to hear Leticia Van de Putte use a fundamental Republican talking point to blow off non-discrimination ordinances. I want my money back from her Lieutenant governor's race.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Paradise in Hell marvels at the hatefulness of Steven Hotze.

Scott Braddock chides the Legislature for its inaction on the problem of misclassifying employees.

Texas Watch issues a call to action against a bill that would weaken insurance policyholder protections.

Texas Clean Air Matters is on the lookout for the legislators who are seeking to gut local control.

Better Texas Blog explains how the Aycock school finance bill would increase inequity among the highest and lowest wealth districts.

Sally Hemings — Jefferson's paramour?

I say yes that Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson's mixed race slave, was the father of several children by him.

Beyond the DNA evidence that points to him as the most likely of the Jefferson-Wayles family to have fathered the children in question, other, circumstantial evidence points the same way.

Under that link, Wikipedia lists the most notable circumstantial evidence:
Jefferson freed all of Hemings' children: Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston, as they came of age (they were the only slave family freed by Jefferson). They were seven-eighths European in ancestry, and three of the four entered white society as adults. Their descendants identified as white.[6][7] Hemings was "given her time", and lived her last nine years freely with her two younger sons in Charlottesville, and saw a grandchild born in the house her sons owned.

Those are exactly my starting points. Had he freed other slaves, we might be talking differently. But, Hemings, and these particular children, were "special" for some reason.

Jefferson's sexual relationship is the most obvious answer, and the most simple one. Under the Jefferson-Hemings controversy, there's more. 

So why did most white historians not want to believe this?

Maybe they thought it made Jefferson himself look too "low" or "base."

Maybe they didn't want to credit Hemings with negotiating freedom for future children when with him in Paris before they came back to America.

Maybe they, while acknowledging even more forcible sexual relationships between masters and slaves, didn't want to acknowledge one that involved emotions — but arguably was still forcible in some way, even if negotiated force.

April 19, 2015

Josh Hamilton, divorce and relapse — chicken or egg? And ixnay "divine plans" and AA

Josh Hamilton, neither
'good' nor 'bad" but possible
'ugly' of addiction.
Troubled Los Angeles Angels player and former star outfielder Josh Hamilton and his wife, Katie, are reportedly divorcing, in the latest update related to his alcohol-and-cocaine relapse this February.

The "trigger" for the relapse, reportedly, was a fight between the two.

Chicken or egg? Were they at the point of breakup before his binge a a Super Bowl party, and he decided to try to medicate his sorrows? Or, did he just lose control, and the divorce filing followed? That said, Katie claims she was "blindsided" by his filing. That, in turn leads to ...

At the same time, I sure hope Josh knows what he's doing. Per that story link, it was him, not her, that filed for the divorce.

It seems clearer than ever he needs team support, and not owner Arte Moreno and general manager Jerry Dipoto trying to kick him under the bus, since an arbitrator has ruled Hamilton did not break league drug policy. Teammate C.J. Wilson, who joined the Angels as a free agent a year before Hamilton, and is also the team's union rep, knows that. And, without antagonizing the higher ups, manager Mike Scioscia also does, as he said last week:
It’s a unique situation,” Scioscia said. “As an organization, first and foremost, we want to make sure Josh is getting the help and support he needs. That’s important for Josh to get back to where he needs to be and getting on the field and playing baseball. Things are open-ended, and there’s a natural frustration I think that goes with uncertainty, and that’s kind of what we’re dealing with.”


That's even truer because the explicitly religious restructuring of Hamilton's life, going beyond the 12-step movement's injections of god to overcome an alleged "powerlessness" that addicts supposedly (but not actually) are inflicted with, is connected with his current father-in-law. So, if he's choosing to "bail" on that, I sure hope he finds some alternatives for support and structure. On the other hand, per the language of the filing, he may have gotten tired of this.

It notes:

“The marriage has become insupportable because of the discord or conflict of personalities … that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation,”
So, apparently the conflict had been ongoing. Suffocating, maybe? Especially since it seems that Josh's parents, per the story of how he became addicted, may also have been smothering or suffocating? Yet, maybe Hamilton thought he needed some "liquid courage" (or a powdered version) before pulling the trigger on the filing.

And, I'm not going to berate him for that. As noted, this — his wife and even more his father-in-law Michael Dean Chadwick  — were his most basic part of his sobriety support structure.

That said, their Christian-based ideas on this are ... well, as if they've been tooting some of Josh's coke.

Start with this:
“God told me he was going to give Josh baseball back, but it wasn’t going to be for baseball,” Katie Hamilton said in a public talk in 2005. “It was going to be for something much bigger. He was going to give Josh a platform to help others. It’s not by accident that all the things that have happened in our lives have happened.”
So, Katie, God told Josh to relapse so that he would have a bigger platform?

Uhh, you need to read your own bible: 
Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)
So, no, Josh doesn't need a yet-bigger platform. Beyond that, isn't that self-righteous, and just generally egotistical, to think that Josh Hamilton was somehow specially called, chosen, or anointed?

Survey says yes.

Besides, related to that, Alcoholics Anonymous says, in its "big book" and elsewhere, that "ego deflation" is key to sobriety. (It actually may be for a certain percentage of Type A male alcoholics, like Bill Wilson, but for many people, healthy ego building, not ego deflation, is key to sobriety.)

That said, if you have a god powerful enough to overcome your "powerlessness," then why didn't said deity keep you from being addicted in the first place?

Well, that's because, even though AA sprung from semi-Calvinist background, it doesn't believe in double predestination. Rather, like Lutheranism, it believes in single predestination. If it's good, then it's all god, and god chosen. If it's bad, then it's all your or my fault.

Again, nobody is "powerless" over alcohol or other addictive substances. One may become close enough to powerless after starting addictive use again to never quit for good, but that's why this has more than two sides.

And, Katie Hamilton sounds a bit whack in other ways, with her "dating other teams" as the analogy for Hamilton looking to leave the Rangers in free agency, as he eventually did.

Let me take this as a chance to say that AA and NA, and the 12-step movement in general aren't the best answer for many, and, as we enter into the world of evidence-based medicine, aren't the scientifically proven be-all, on average, for anybody.

There are secular — non-religious but NOT anti-religious — options out there. I recommend one called Lifering Secular Recovery.

As for Hamilton? Besides sobriety itself, he may need to find a balance point, getting support, structure, and perhaps another family in the future, but without being "smothered."