Former Texas Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson did an extensive Q&A with Bryan Curtis at Grantland and it included some questions about Josh Hamilton and his comments about the Dallas-Fort Worth area not being a true baseball town. Here's part of that interview:
Q: I’m Josh Hamilton. What’s the biggest difference between playing in Anaheim and playing in Texas?
A: Baseball is baseball, you know? The only difference is he’s trading one hostile environment for the other.
Q: Did you agree with Hamilton’s assessment that Arlington isn’t a “true baseball town”?
A: There are so many different ways to slice that. I’ve been editorialized (against) plenty, so I can relate to the reaction that he got.
If you really look behind the quotes, what he said was: Texas is a football state. Everybody loves football in Texas. That’s never going to change. The Cowboys are always the biggest show in town. Always.
Now, (the Rangers) draw a lot of fans — at least, they have the last couple of years — but that’s because the team has been so good. When I was a rookie, when I first came up, we were not drawing 3 million fans a year. It wasn’t like the Cubs.
More people get turned on to baseball because the team’s winning. The quote might be a little bit weird, but if you step back and take a look it, it’s like, well, yeah, every city whose teams wins, more people go to the games.
I see Wilson's point. And he was smart enough to be careful in answering the question. I think those of us that live here understand this is a winner's town. That's the case in a lot of places. But I also think some folks tend to underestimate how this area supports its winners. Some cities may have sellouts here and there for winning teams. But the Rangers had 3.4 million fans last year. It was a consistent crush of fan support as the team tried to hang on to the division. And they came in April and stayed through September. So winning or not, that's to be applauded. It shows me that this is a baseball town. It's first and foremost a football town. We all know that. But the two aren't mutually exclusive. You can be a football town and a baseball town.
Don't you think? (You can check out Wilson's comments about other things as well here.)