The Los Angeles Angels are contributing to a clubhouse pool on whether Josh Hamilton hears more boos or cheers when he make his first appearance against the Rangers wearing a Los Angeles uniform on April 5, according to Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.
Hamilton expects to get booed.
“I got booed when I played there,” said Hamilton, alluding to the response to his final game as a Ranger. “Why wouldn’t I get booed when I play there as an Angel?”
Hamilton, who faced his former team Thursday in a spring training game, tried to smooth over previous comments that included classifying the Dallas-Fort Worth area as “not a true baseball town.”
Early in spring training, Hamilton said: “There’s true baseball fans in Texas, but it’s not a true baseball town.” That sparked a furor in the region that Hamilton still calls home.
He offered praise for Texas fans Thursday.
“I loved Texas,” he said. “The fans were great when I was there. It was a chapter in my life … and I enjoyed every minute of it.
“It’s great support when you’re getting 50,000 on a Friday night instead of going to high-school football. That was fun. It was an exciting ride, and I wish them the best.”
Both Hamilton and his wife have made comments since his signing with the Angels that have left many Rangers fans with a bad tase in their mouths. Hamilton moved to Los Angeles after five up-and-down seasons with Texas that included winning the 2010 AL MVP award, but also twice failing his sobriety publicly.
At his introductory new conference with the Angels, wife Katie was critical of the Rangers’ approach to negotiations with her husband.
“They let us go out and date other people and kind of give our hearts away,” Katie Hamilton said. “I’m so glad they didn’t (push hard to re-sign Hamilton.) We feel so strongly this is where God has moved us and planted us.”
The Rangers and Hamilton’s agent, Mike Moye, tabled talks on an extension after he had his second setback in four years in the fight against alcohol and drug addiction. At the time, the sides agreed Hamilton would test the free agent market to determine his value.
Hamilton said he was also disappointed the Rangers didn’t put in more effort to bring him back.
“I think it’s a blessing in disguise,” Hamilton said. “I gave them everything I had for five years. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me a little bit that they didn’t put the press on.”