Monday, April 8, 2013
Should Rangers fans have booed Hamilton?
By David Schoenfield
One of the big stories of the weekend was Josh Hamilton's return to Texas where he was greeted like he had played his fiddle in center field while watching the Rangers burn in the final week last season.
Should he have been treated with such venom? Eric Karabell and I disagree.
Perhaps it's simply wishful thinking, but I'm assuming Hamilton knows how to deal with boos and cheers and anything else that comes from hostile or friendly crowds by this point of his career, and his play was unaffected. Just ignore it, Josh. Plus, he created the buzz in the first place, not with his 2012 play, but his 2012 words and the fact he left for a division rival. No matter what kind of town you think Dallas is, Josh, keep it to yourself!
That said, I love the passion from Rangers fans. Keep it coming! Boo every visiting player, coach and announcer if you so desire. I'd much rather see a crowd into the game than uninformed people sitting on their hands quietly bored and leaving in the sixth inning. So they were vocal to Hamilton; big deal! It hardly means they didn't appreciate all the good he did for the franchise over successful seasons. It means they give a hoot, he's an enemy player and yeah, he didn't choose his parting words so wisely. Former Blue Jays and current Red Sox manager John Farrell also took an earful from Toronto fans as well this weekend. So did the pitching coach on a visit to the mound (clearly disguised as Farrell!), but at least the fans were heard! Good! Let's hear it from fans more often!
OK, I get it: Josh Hamilton said Dallas is a football town. Well, he's right! Of course, Dallas is a football town. Does anybody actually disagree with that statement? Were Rangers fans really that upset over a comment that was truthful and accurate? No, they're upset because he struggled down the stretch, dropped a fly ball and then left for a division rival. Hey, it happens, especially when the Rangers didn't really want to bring him back anyway. The truth is, I think Rangers fans would have booed Hamilton even if he had said he'd never heard of the Dallas Cowboys. But sports stadiums and arenas are too often full of anger instead of joy.
Regardless of your position, some Rangers fans should not have targeted Hamilton’s wife, Katie. She was with their children in the stands and had to call for security because some fans were shouting obscenities at her and insulting his family.
So how about showing some appreciation for what Hamilton did for the franchise? An MVP Award, two trips to the World Series, three trips to the playoffs. Before Hamilton arrived, the Rangers had suffered through seven losing seasons in eight years. Hamilton actually made people in Texas care passionately about baseball. What's wrong with showing a little class? Imagine if Rangers fans had stood up and gave Hamilton a standing ovation his first at-bat instead of a standing ovation when Derek Holland struck out him out? That would have showed me Dallas has become a baseball town.