A baseball player needs a baseball town.
An addict seeks refuge in a football state.
There are two ways to look at the Rangers’ reacquisition of Josh Hamilton and they cannot be more polar opposite.
To one side, Hamilton represents hope filled memories of the glory days of 2010-2011, desiring the culmination of Josh Hamilton’s Disney-esque story of redemption to take place in a Rangers uniform.
On the other side, there is a collection of fans that still feel burned by someone who they put so much trust in, with Hamilton’s remarks on his way out of town providing the fan base with the lingering feeling of deserted ex-wife.
The emotions elicited by Josh Hamilton differ from that of any other professional athlete. As a collective, Rangers fans have spent the last five years going from the elated joy of a heroic success story to the painful scorn of a coward’s departure. One man has received both the loudest cheers and the most boisterous boos within the Ballpark.
The divide amongst fans was clear when Hamilton returned as an Angel. While the boos were the loudest reaction to seeing him step to the batter’s box, a large portion of Rangers faithful chose to applaud him for all he gave the franchise before he left, while a larger portion decided to just act like he was just any other player, refusing to react in any manner as he received at bats (which, knowing Josh, might have been the most difficult reaction for him to handle).
Now things have changed. Josh is back.
What on earth do we do now? How does the fan base react?
Josh Hamilton needs a baseball town.
The best answer to his previous criticism is to show him that is exactly what Arlington, Texas is.
Was Josh Hamilton out of line when he spoke poorly about the Rangers fan base? 100%. However, he was not that far off when saying the traditional focus of the area has been on the Cowboys. For years on end I have watched the Rangers play in front of small crowds, but the loyalty of Rangers fans was proven through their support despite years of horrible teams and no real chance at making the playoffs.
Here we are again.
The 2015 Rangers are not a championship team. As a collective, Rangers fans got a taste of what great baseball looks like and the joy that a playoff appearance can provide. For the moment, that is gone. What we have now is a collection of veterans trying to find their legacy (Beltre, Fielder), underachieving players trying to prove their worth (Choo, Andrus), journeymen trying to stick in the bigs (Rosales, Peguero, Blanks), and youth trying to play themselves into an eventual big contract (Martin, Odor, Martinez). We also have those trying to recover from injury (Profar, Holland, Darvish, too many others) and a boatload of youth waiting in the wings (Gallo, Alfaro, Mazara, Gonzalez).
This is not the Rangers roster from 2010.
But you know what? That’s ok.
This is a baseball town and better days are in the near future.
Josh Hamilton hurt my feelings when he left. The things he said, the fact that he went to the arch nemesis; all of it lead to a strong feeling of disappointment.
Josh said and did some idiotic things. We had a right to be upset.
But it’s time to move past that. It’s time to forgive and give the man a 6th or 7th second chance.
The prodigal son is back and as a fanbase, we should embrace it.
He’s our idiot once again.