Found February 18, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
SURPRISE, Ariz. Who cares?
That's what someone tweeted to me in the afternoon Monday in response to Josh Hamilton's comments about baseball atmosphere and fanbase in the Metroplex.
Unfortunately for that person, plenty of people care. And maybe the reason they care is proof of how much the area has become a baseball hotbed.
We won't use the phrase baseball town here because I still haven't found a definition for what a baseball town is. Is it a town that doesn't boo people at games? By my count, that means there are zero baseball towns.
Even the people who say St. Louis is a baseball town would be wrong. Before the All-Star Game in 2009 President Barack Obama came on the field to throw the first pitch. He was booed. Sure it was because he was wearing a Chicago White Sox jacket but a boo is a boo. So scratch St. Louis.
David Murphy, one of the smartest players in the Texas clubhouse, had a hard time figuring out what a baseball town is.
But in the wacky world of Hamilton where you never know what's going to come out of his mouth next, he told CBS 11's Gina Miller that "there are true baseball fans in Texas but it's not a true baseball town."
That struck a nerve with the Texas fan base. And it's a large base if you look at the attendance of more than 3.4 million in 2012. Let's hope for Hamilton's sake that he doesn't think Anaheim is a baseball town. The highlight of most Angels' games is the fireworks display coming from Disneyland at night. It's the same town that saw an attendance drop from 2011 to 2012 despite the signing of superstar Albert Pujols.
But again, you never know what Josh is going to say next. Or when the next tent revival is coming.
But Hamilton's wife Katie may know what's going on best. Maybe she knows how Texas fans are feeling. At the Hamilton press conference when he signed with the Angels, Katie talked about how the Rangers never put a ring on Hamilton's finger and made it official.
That could explain why some factions of the Texas fans are upset with Hamilton's latest speech. Remember when you were 17 and your first "real" girlfriend dumped you? It was a painful time and you hoped that things could still work out. Well she moved on and said a thing or two about you that you didn't like. It stung didn't it?
Maybe that's what has upset people so much. They invested so much in Hamilton that they felt like they had a relationship. He moved on and said some not-so-nice things. It stings. But it's time to move on and don't worry about every comment Hamilton makes. Believe me, if you tried to understand everything Hamilton said, you'd be confused because in five years in Texas he said things one day and the opposite things the next.
The good news for the Texas fans is that the Rangers have taken the who cares attitude.
One player told me Monday he didn't even know why anyone wanted to do a story on Hamilton anymore. He's no longer with the club. His old locker in Surprise is now being occupied by Joakim Soria. Soria's role with the Rangers this year could be just as important as Hamilton's was last year. Soria could miss up to two months this season but some of the Texas fans will tell you that Hamilton didn't play for a couple of months last year either.
There aren't any signs of the Rangers retiring his jersey anytime soon either. Pitcher Matt West is now wearing No. 32.
Manager Ron Washington has moved on.
"Josh is an Anaheim Angel," Washington said. "That's Josh's opinion. We'll leave it at that."
The Rangers don't care about what comes out of Hamilton's mouth. But it's okay if fans do.
When Hamilton talks, it's normally a story. It doesn't matter if it's about his off-the-field issues, his hot streaks, his slumps, his problems with dipping, his problems with fans, his huge new contract. The fact is that he's a baseball superstar, a beacon of hope to those who have struggled with addictions and he attracts attention.
There's nothing wrong with that.
There's also nothing wrong with fans getting upset or offended by his comments. Or thinking he's right. That's going to happen when you draw 3.4 million to games, set television ratings records and go to the playoffs three-consecutive seasons.
So it's okay to care, baseball town or not. Whatever that is.
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