Josh Hamilton struck out 162 times last season, so he knows something about swinging and missing.
But his latest whiff, with the fans who cheered and supported him through five seasons with the Texas Rangers, might be the longest lasting.
In an interview Sunday, Hamilton -- who left Texas for a $125 million, five-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels -- said the Rangers don’t play in “a true baseball town.”
It was as if he’d made fun of Willie Nelson and Texas barbecue while wearing a Sooners hat. Fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area -- who turned out almost 3.5 million strong at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington last season -- now have a Texas-sized beef with their former basher.
Since his comments, fans have ripped him over social media and Metroplex columnists have wondered what he was thinking.
Now, a 15-year-old student from Birdville High in North Richland Hills, Texas, is campaigning to let Hamilton know how his former fans feel about him.
On Tuesday, Brandon Holmes launched a Twitter account called Silence4Josh, urging a special greeting for Hamilton when he arrives for the Rangers’ season-opening home series April 5-7 against the Angels.
“On Opening Day, do not boo Josh,” Holmes wrote. “He wants it. He craves the attention. Don’t give it to him. RT to spread the word!”
Holmes’ brother, Brad, 24, a graphic and Web designer, designed the shirts, and Brandon came up with the slogan.
Ticked-off Texans have been responding quickly to Brandon Holmes’ idea. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said the feedback has been “ridiculous” and he has almost 1,400 followers.
Holmes helped stir the pot of bitterness by retweeting Hamilton’s message from this past July 2 about winning fan balloting and being voted into the All-Star Game with three teammates: “So thankful to all who voted 4 me & my teammates for the ASG! Truly an honor! We r so blessed 2 have the #bestfansinbaseball. #RangerNation”
Just months later, Holmes feels as if Hamilton has betrayed fans who were loyal to him for so long and is off base about the team’s fans. The team not only drew more than 3 million last season, but has averaged more than 2.9 million per season since 2010.
"He went off and signed with the Angels ... and makes comments like that after five years or so of us putting everything on a silver platter for him,” Holmes said.
Holmes believes giving Hamilton the silent treatment in that Rangers home opener will be more effective than a cascade of boos.
“I feel like it would be," he said, pointing out that Hamilton already heard plenty of boos late last season during a long slump and a quick playoff exit.
In addition to silence in that April 5 game, Holmes is considering another idea to go along with it: asking fans to bring newspapers to the game, so they can hold them up as if reading during each of Hamilton's at-bats.
“I want there to be pure silence,” he said.