To boo or not to boo — that is the question for Rangers fans today.
The prodigal son or the face of the franchise Josh Hamilton (at least someone not named Nolan Ryan or Michael Young) returns to Arlington.
He gets his homecomings over early as he has already visited Cincinnati (he played for the Reds in 2007) and now Texas.
Some 50,000 fans will be on hand as the Rangers get their home schedule underway with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the beautiful Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
For the last five years, Hamilton has roamed the outfield gracefully and helped bring the franchise from also-ran status to two-time American League champions and three straight postseason appearances.
In 90 percent of those innings he participated, Hamilton made spectacular plays with his glove and bat. He won the AL MVP award in 2010 and, if not for mismanagement of pitching in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, he would have had the game-winning homer that would have given the Rangers the championship. He would have been an October legend.
Hamilton would have been in the class with DFW legends of Roger Staubach, Tom Landry, Emmitt Smith, Bob Lilly, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, Dirk Nowitzki, Mike Modano, Doak Walker and Nolan Ryan.
Hamilton is an engaging person.
It is commendable that he is on the forefront of discussing his alcohol and drug addictions; and his testimony about his faith is inspiring.
Still, Hamilton has an ego.
He could be so gracious most of the time, but his antics (aside from the whip cream, etc.) or too much caffeine and other distractions can take a toll on a clubhouse.
His mammoth home runs made him a fan favorite as he immediately became a superstar after coming to Texas from Cincinnati. However, in a span of a few months, fans have turned on Hamilton. His lackadaisical play at crucial times last season and his propensity to swing at the first pitch, made it seem as if he was in a hurry to get out the ballpark quickly. He was at the forefront of the blame for the Rangers’ collapse last year, batting just .245 in the final month, striking out at an alarming rate, missing five games in September because of his, yes, too much caffeine, and dropping a routine fly ball in the AL West deciding game.
In the wild card playoff game with the Orioles he was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts on a total of eight pitches.
Then he signed with a division rival.
I know loyalty goes only so far in this day and age, but one would think Hamilton would have given the Rangers a shot at re-signing the superstar considering how the club stood behind him and provided a caretaker for him.
Of course, $125 million for five years says a lot. The Rangers likely would not have signed him for that amount, but a lot of his Benjamins will go to the higher taxes of the Golden State. Many athletes, Fortune 500 companies and regular folks like the fact there are no state income taxes in our beloved state.
Then there was the comment about Texans being football fans and not true baseball fans, or something to that effect.
True, football is at the top in our state, but that doesn’t mean fans can’t also be baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball, tennis, golf fans as well.
Anyway, everyone has their right to do what they wish, but I say don’t boo. Maybe a respectful cheer for all the good he accomplished here. After all, Hamilton put the Rangers on the map.
After the first time, just treat him like another player and hope the Angels don’t fare well.
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