I guess we shouldn't have expected Josh Hamilton to go away quietly.
As you may have heard, and if you haven't here's an article from Richard Durrett, Josh Hamilton said yesterday that Rangers fans are spoiled and the Dallas area isn't a "true baseball town" because some fans booed him.
The hornet's nest was stirred and then punched in the face.
Jean-Jacques Taylor goes HAM on Hambone for his comments writing that Rangers fans didn't boo Hamilton because they're insincere fans, they booed Hamilton because he quit on the team.
Kevin Sherrington writes that if Hamilton wants to know why he got booed, he only has to look in the mirror.
Evan Grant chimes in by writing that Hamilton's comments make him appear to be the spurned and spoiled party here.
Tim Kurkjian was on with Galloway & Company (audio link) and said that he feels Hamilton was offbase about the DFW area not being a good baseball town while maintaining an adorably puzzled tone in his impish voice.
Anthony Andro writes that Rangers fans have shown that they care and, regardless of Hamilton's comments, that demonstrates validity as a baseball community.
Let's face it, Hamilton was probably going to garner some boos this April. Now, as Durrett writes, he's definitely going to hear 'em. Maybe this was all just Hamilton's way of fulfilling the prophecy for himself.
In other former-Ranger news, Michael Young has reported to spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies and sounds pretty happy about it. No word yet on his take on the hierarchy of sports in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
T.R. Sullivan writes about Jason Frasor aiming to play a prominent role in the bullpen for the Rangers this season. Every time I read Frasor's name, I think about Joakim Soria's rehab status.
Behind the DMN paywall, Grant writes about Jurickson Profar going with his head over his heart in his decision to not play for his country in the WBC.
Durrett writes about the Rangers going with Profar's wallet by signing him and ten others to pre-arb contracts.
Jeff Wilson writes about new hitting coach Dave Magadan in camp preaching the art of grinding out at-bats and doing the little things or something. I've never been clear about what hitting coaches actually do.
Grant has a blog post up about Lance Berkman potentially being utilized as an assistant hitting coach which perhaps gives him even less incentive to find himself a glove.
Durrett has a write-up on Cody Buckel as a potential fifth starter candidate in camp. Obviously Buckel is an extreme long shot to make the club, but who would have thought Robbie Ross would make the 25 man on Feb. 19 last year?
Drew Davison writes a Getting To Know Ya on Alaskan-born outfielder Aaron Cunningham. From Alaska to Round Rock. Yeesh.
Sullivan's notes cover Ron Washington and David Murphy backing Rangers fans after Hamilton's comments, pitchers bunting, Nick Tepesch getting a look, and other items.
Finally, here are some superfluous thoughts about Hamilton's comments:
I don't really take what Josh Hamilton said to heart. I think we experienced Hamilton long enough to know that he's prone to have a bit of a raw nerve. Getting booed last October seems to have legitimately annoyed him and he knew this would make headlines in our realm with him an hour away in Tempe, AZ.
If anything, I'm surprised he's still thinking about us. Hamilton spent half a decade building up equity with the people around here - even through the missteps - so when some fans became disenchanted with him in the end, I suppose that left him a tad bitter and the taste is still lingering.
Here's the thing though, what Hamilton is saying isn't without its truths. The Dallas-Ft. Worth area is traditionally a football first town. It's not a thing that we're particularly ardent about denying, anyway. The Dallas Cowboys play right across the street in a stadium the size of Dallas County. That's just a thing that will always be true. The Cowboys will always be one of those enduring staples of Americana, win or lose, that the Rangers won't ever touch. So, of course that's what you say if you're Hamilton and feeling chafed. "You're not a good baseball town." Our status: Told.
But that certainly doesn't mean there aren't people that love baseball, love the Rangers, and love experiencing the greatest era for baseball that the area has known. Those people won't bat an eye at these comments from a jilted now rival. Who cares about the town? We care about the Rangers.
And, yes, perhaps those who care about the Rangers have gotten a little spoiled by success. I don't consider that a bad thing necessarily. How would you ever become a baseball town if you don't harbor expectations for your baseball team?
And just what does a "true baseball town" even mean anyway? Not booing? Just enjoying the fresh air and smell of the grass but not holding the team to a standard? They boo in certified Baseball Towns® like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. They care about winning in certified Baseball Towns® like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. If a "baseball town" literally means a town where baseball is the most popular sport, then put "baseball town" on the endangered list.
Yes, Texas Rangers fans boo sometimes. Am I personally a booer? No. But sports fans boo. You know why? To echo Andro, it's because they care and they have passion. The fact that there was even a throaty outburst of boos last October just means the Rangers have reached a different level of relevancy. It matters to people. Booing is an act where fans can display a meager amount of agency in a situation out of their control. Even if I think booing might be channeling one's passion for the sport in a way I don't usually engage in, it's still passion.
In this particular case, it seems booing really stuck in the craw of the recipient. So I guess score one for those who want their displeasure to be heard. Unfortunately, in this case, that displeasure, and corresponding craw-sticking, may have helped to drive a talented ballplayer into the arms of a hated division rival. But I'd wager that there are 150 million more important reasons for why Hamilton isn't in Surprise, AZ right now.
As far as if the DFW area is a "true" baseball town or not? That's not really for Josh Hamilton to decide, I feel. I do know that for the first 35 or so years that the Rangers have been in Arlington, baseball fans have been turning up in varying numbers to see some poor to just plain forgettable baseball in some of the worst conditions in the league. Over the past five years or so - the Hamilton years - the team has emerged as one of the model franchises in the league with memorable play and record attendance. It may never be better than now and fans have supported the club like never before.
I'll tell you one thing though, if Hamilton is looking for a "true" baseball town, he won't find it anywhere in the Los Angeles masquerade of Orange County, California. And let's not forget how quickly they booed Albert Pujols in Anaheim last April.
TL;DR version: LOL Josh Hamilton calls us fake after moving to The OC.