Josh Hamilton did two press conferences on April 5, 2013. It was the day of the Rangers home opener and for the first time in his career Josh was a visitor at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Still the Rangers provided him time in the interview room to chat with reporters about making his return to Texas and what kind of reception he expected.
The first press conference happened a couple of hours before the game. During it Josh was affable, happy and hopeful. He brought up his unfortunate comments made during spring training about this being a football town. He did not attempt to retract them and he did not even apologize for them, but I can tell you that his tone was conciliatory. He was hoping that baseball fans in Arlington would not hold his comments against him.
But they did. The fans were upset, not only because Josh said those things, but many in attendance were mad that he did not give the Rangers a chance to match the offer he received from the Angels. He had told Jon Daniels that he would give the Rangers a chance to match, but the Angels did not give him that opportunity. They gave him a take it or leave it 5 year, $125 million contract. He recounted how it all happened during that morning press conference prior to the home opener. He said he hoped he would not be booed but admitted that he was ready for anything.
The opening day crowd did not forgive or forget his comments about this not being a baseball town, and not only did they boo him lustily, but they booed his wife and kids too. To Josh that is where the fans crossed the line. He can handle the booing, but his wife and kids? Not so much. You could argue that his family should not have attended the game in what was now a visitor’s ballpark. Still, I am with Josh, his wife and kids should be off limits to the boo birds.
He was so upset about the way they were treated that he had another press conference after the game and he ripped into the fans. Any conciliatory tone struck before the game was gone and Josh was glad that he was now wearing Angels Red not Rangers Blue.
I remind you of all this so that you can wrap your minds around who Josh is, who is once again wearing Rangers colors. By now you know the bizarre story of his return to Texas. The Angels have agreed to pay him $68 million to play against them. With the Rangers on the hook for only 6 million dollars over three years, this was a no-brainer. There is no downside for the Rangers from a baseball perspective, only upside.
Here is the bottom line on Josh Hamilton; he is a big, super talented, kind-hearted, goofy man. Emphasis on goofy. His personality could be, perhaps, best described as weird. He knows it. Recall the comment he made to us after he had to miss much of a September road trip in 2012 because of dry eyes. He said, “Ok guys, you know if it’s me it is going to be something weird.” It was weird and it was terrible timing, but he did not quit on his teammates. They don’t believe he quit, after all they know he is weird. If you had a chance to get to know him you would like him. His teammates do and they know him best.
I tell you all of this so you can get to know the man a little better and make an informed decision on how to react when he returns to the big club, which should be sometime in May. He has 68 million reasons not to care how you react, but he does care. He cares what you think because he is human. A big, kind-hearted, goofy human.