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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

In The Olympic Year Billy Hamilton Strives For The Gold

Billy Hamilton would like to see gold on his mantle this winter but he doesn't covet Hussein Bolt's gold medal for sprinting a skill in which Hamilton also excels.

The Reds' outfielder would like a Gold Glove on his mantel to illustrate the work he's done in preparation to play centerfield.

"It would mean a lot," Hamilton said. "Just because after a couple years I thought I should have had it. I think about and I don't know what they look for. It shoudn't be about hitting. It's the Gold Glove not the Gold Bat Glove. I'd like it for all the effort I gave.."

Hamilton is just in his fourth full year in centerfield.  He was signed as an infielder and played secondbase but mostly shortstop.

"They came to me in 2012 when I was in Pensacola and asked me if I wanted to move to centerfield.  They said it would get me to the big leagues faster.  I started playing it that year in the Arizona Fall League."

Billy had reservations when first told but then thought it might be easier than playing shortstop.

"I told them I'll be honest with you. I've never played outfield.  I thought about and thought how hard could it be shagging fly balls. Then I got out there the first day and thought oh, I see how hard it it. It's not that easy."

After nightly appearances on Sportscenter and other hightlight shows,

"It is fun for me to be out there.  They let me play where they want me to play," Hamilton said. "It was hard being out there in the sun, then night games. Then how the ball gets off the bat and knowing who's batting. How they hit the ball and reading off the bat. That's the main thing.  Adjusting to the flight of the ball was hard for me. I never thought I'd be as good at it."

Another honor Hamilton has in sights is the Reds' team stolen bases of 81 set by Bob Bescher in 1911.

"It would be amazing," Hamilton said of breaking Bescher's mark. "I want to help my team and 81 bags would help them out a lot.  It's something I look forward to trying to get but it's not about me stealing bases it's about getting on base."

Hamilton declined when asked if he would like to race Bolt.

"I don't want to get embarrassed," Hamilton said. "I'm not a big race guy. I just play baseball and run the bases.  If I could train, maybe but let's start with him hitting a baseball and go from there.  It would be a lot easier for me to race.  I could train and run 100 yards.  I could do that. But let's see if he could hit a baseball. That is not easy."

Hamilton makes a lot of catches look easy but unseen is the work leading up to them.

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