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Hamilton avoids alcohol in celebration of AL West clinching

We’re all familiar with the scene after baseball teams clinch postseason spots. Champagne everywhere. Beer poured over heads that are guarded only by goggles. Cigars lit and puffed frequently. Laughter. Cheering.

It’s all very cool and all very innocent, but not to an addict.

So Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who spent his first couple years as a professional baseball player fighting battles with drugs and alcohol, sat on the sidelines as his club celebrated its first playoff berth since 1999 on Saturday in Oakland.

According to the Associated Press, Hamilton changed quickly into street clothes after the win and slipped into a training room as his teammates enjoyed the alcoholic beverage scene.

“It’s exciting,” Hamilton said about clinching the division. “It’s a proud day in Texas. It was great to be on the field and with the guys you’ve been in the trenches with.”

But he wasn’t going to put himself in a compromising situation. He wasn’t going to tempt himself with beer and champagne, as exciting as winning the AL West might have been.

Hamilton has been out of the Rangers’ starting lineup since September 4 because of two small fractures in his rib cage. He is making progress, though, and hoping to return for the final three games of the regular season. The MVP candidate was batting an incredible .361/.414/.635 with 31 homers and 97 RBI before going down.