Former Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton was greeted with plenty of boos by a sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in the outfielder’s first trip to Texas since signing with the Los Angeles Angels during the offseason.
After the Rangers’ 3-2 win, Hamilton made things worse for himself with Rangers fans in his postgame news conference. Hamilton, clearly upset by the fan response, said it was the loudest he’s ever heard the park.
Hamilton said before Friday’s game that he wouldn’t retract his comment about Dallas being a football town.
“I can’t say that I didn’t expect it,” Hamilton said. “I will never take back what I said until they show up every night for 30 years. But I’m glad I can help create spirit and fire in this town. Honestly, man, that was louder than any playoff game I’ve ever been to so I’m excited for them about that. Hopefully the fans can carry that on through the season.”
Hamilton was introduced with the rest of the Angels’ starters about 25 minutes prior to the first pitch and was booed, although there were small pockets of fans who stood and clapped. But that was light compared to the decibel level of the boos once everyone was in their seats for the start of the second inning. Hamilton was introduced, and a chorus of boos drowned out anyone attempting to cheer. Once Rangers starter Derek Holland threw a strike, the ballpark erupted in cheers. And those cheers only got louder when Hamilton struck out on four pitches, waving at a 1-2 slider for his seventh strikeout of the season.
Before the game, Hamilton indicated he expected more negative than positive reactions.
“I’m not setting out to prove anyone wrong,” Hamilton said. “I’m just setting out to play the game like I always have, hard and give it what I have. If they boo, like I’ve said, they booed when I was here at times, so I don’t expect anything less, especially playing for the Angels.”
Josh Hamilton is in Arlington for the Rangers’ home opener against the Angels. Listen in to Hamilton’s comments. Then, ESPN Insider Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the Rangers-Angels rivalry
Hamilton added that “you can’t let stuff like that hurt your feelings” and that he’s heard worse things than boos from fans as he’s stood in the outfield at various stops around the league.
“My family will be at the game,” Hamilton said a few hours before first pitch. “People obviously know my family. I hope they respect the fact that they’re there.”
Fans clearly enjoyed Hamilton’s 0-for-4 day, which included Holland striking him out twice. Hamilton is 1-for-16 in the Angels’ first four games.
“I’d lie to you if I said it didn’t bother me a little bit,” Hamilton said. “But it didn’t like overwhelm me, oh my goodness, what am I going to do, get me out of the lineup, I can’t stand it. It wasn’t that detrimental. It’s what I expected.”
Hamilton compared his treatment to that at other ballparks, including Yankee Stadium. He made a good point after Rangers fans supported his story and his personal triumph.