It truly baffles, and kind of disheartens, me at just how almost everyone associated with the 2010-11 Rangers has become so despised by almost everyone in DFW. Ron Washington, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, even Nolan Ryan – so many people that created the best moments in the team’s history are now look on like, if you pointed them out in a crowd and handed an average Rangers fan a gun, they wouldn’t hesitate. So many people here who want to dwell on the bad than remember the good memories.
And no one seems to suffer that more than Josh Hamilton, who has reportedly met with MLB officials about an admitted substance abuse problem and possible disciplinary action. As of this writing, I have yet to hear what exactly this is for, but word is that it’s “worse” than performance enhancers, which sounds pretty bad.
For what it’s worth, I’ve seen comments on the story from people around the country feeling sorry for him and hoping he can get his life back on track. Not so from the people in North Texas who seem to be praying for him to get a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball and thus making it feel justified that Jon Daniels let him walk and replaced him with a grossly inferior player.
Fans in this area are enjoying every single moment of the possibility that Hamilton’s life may fall completely apart, like they hope to find him living in a back alley one day that they can walk by and spit on him.
And why does this vitriol remain? It’s because he committed the unforgivable, deplorable sin of… hurting the Rangers fans’ feelings.
He said we weren’t a “baseball town,” so we have to treat him like a pariah. Even if it was true – baseball town’s don’t need to see their team go to consecutive World Series to draw decent attendance.
So everyone here wants to see him fail. Not me. Why?
First, because maybe I just have a thicker skin in some areas, especially when it comes to things that I don’t have to take personally and can find a ring of truth to, whether I wanted to hear them or not. This isn’t like the grudge I maintain against Gavin Spittle and the people behind the scenes at 105.3 The Fan who told me some very disparaging and UNTRUE things about the friends of mine they took off the air. I’ve seen too many nights at the Ballpark of completely empty bleachers to know the lack of support this town has for baseball. When a radio host can say people in this area will forget about the Rangers once Cowboys training camp starts and not be called out on it, this isn’t a baseball town. People here just don’t want to admit it, and thus lash back at anyone willing to say it.
That is why I can’t see anything Josh said as deserving of being treated like he’s worse than Charles Manson. Especially because certain people in this Metroplex have don things far worse and continue to be loved. If a basal player says some mean words, we are supposed to pout and never forget it, but if a guy carelessly takes another human being’s life but is believed he can still help your football team win – well, then he has to be forgiven and the person he killed just had it coming.
But most of all, ridiculing Josh Hamilton won’t do anything to help the biggest problem at all – the mess the Rangers have become since his departure. You can laugh at his relapses all you want, but it won’t change the fact that we are now stuck with one of the worst teams in baseball and his direct replacement in center field has been an absolute failure with both the bat and the glove.
Heck, if anything, this could even HURT the Rangers even more, as Evan Grant theorized. If Josh gets banned and thus has his salary taken off the Angels’ payroll, soundly they have salary space to go after a Cole Hamels or someone else to make their roster that much stronger.
And it’s still a strong roster either way. The Angels are still light years better of a team than the Rangers. Without Josh Hamilton, they should still easily win the West. The Rangers have almost no chance of competing so long as Leonys Martin is in center for them.
Go ahead and make fun of Josh Hamilton’s plight if it makes you feel better as a person.
For me, it won’t make all the missed catches and poor at-bats I expect Leonys to have this season any easier to take.
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