C.J. Wilson rips A's fans, mound

Updated: August 12, 2011, 9:35 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson made it clear that he won't have the Oakland A's on his list of potential free-agent destinations this winter.

The lefty is slated to open a three-game series at Oakland on Friday night, and on Wednesday before the Rangers closed their homestand against the Seattle Mariners with a 4-3 loss, Wilson said he finds little to like about the team or its home on the east side of the Bay.

"I hate pitching there. The mound sucks, the fans suck. There's no fans there," Wilson said, free-flowing off a question about the ample foul territory at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. "It's too bad because the fans that are there are really adamant and they're really stoked on the team and they play drums and they wave flags and that's cool. But, you know, some games you go there and there's like 6,000 people there.

"It's kind of sad because it's a major league team and there's guys out there that are obviously pretty good players -- guys like (Trevor) Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, obviously they are All-Star pitchers -- and I just wish that the fan base supported them a little bit more."

The Rangers will get to escape the 100-degree temperatures that have gripped the region for more than a month, but Wilson said the home fans in Arlington make it preferable for him to pitch in the sweltering heat of North Texas than the mild climates of Northern California.

"I'd rather pitch here than in Oakland. I like the fans here a lot better, so you don't have to worry about me signing there after the season," Wilson said. "They hate me there anyways so it doesn't matter. The players on their team hate me, whatever; I don't care."

Wilson, who is 1-2 against the A's this season and 0-1 at Oakland -- going seven innings in each start and allowing a total of eight earned runs -- said the hatred stems from being on rival clubs and because the Rangers clinched the American League West title and celebrated on the A's field a year ago.

"It's true, dudes on their team don't like me, I get it," Wilson said. "We're rivals. We're trying to beat them. When I was here in '05 and the Angels beat us we didn't like that. (The A's) had to watch us celebrate on the field last year; they're not going to like that. I'm sure they think that. Whatever motivates you. I think that about other players on other teams. So, it's like I'm sure guys think that about me at some point."

"I talked to Napoli about that," Wilson continued, referring to teammate Mike Napoli, the former Los Angeles Angels catcher, "and he said he hated me when he played for the Angels."

Wilson will enter Friday's game with a 10-5 record and a 3.35 ERA, looking for his first victory since July 16. He is 0-2 in his past four starts, including a complete-game loss against Angels ace Jered Weaver in Anaheim on July 21. It was the last time Wilson has lasted more than 6 2/3 innings.

The three-game set at Oakland starts a 10-game, three-city road trip highlighted by four games in the middle against the Angels, who started Tuesday night 1½ games behind the Rangers.

Wilson said the A's series is key because the Rangers have sometimes approached games against teams with lesser records, like Oakland, "lackadaisically."

"I think sometimes we go into those things thinking our record is so much better than this team so whatever, and that's not the right way to do it," Wilson said. "You have to be like this is a major league team, we have to beat them, we have to outplay them every inning.

"I think that's the difference when we win games and when we lose games to teams like that. Sometimes we take it a little bit lackadaisically I think, for lack of a better term. I want to go out there and throw a shutout against every team. It doesn't matter who it is."

The Rangers avoided arbitration with Wilson, 30, after last season, his first as a starter. Texas signed him to a one-year deal worth $7 million, up from his $3.1 million salary in 2010 when he helped Texas advance to the franchise's first World Series.

Jeff Caplan is a columnist and reporter for ESPNDallas.com.