By Mike DiGiovanna Los Angeles Times
TEMPE, Ariz. — New Los Angeles Angels slugger Josh Hamilton ruffled feathers in Texas when he told a television reporter that Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t “a true baseball town,” a statement that is sure to earn him boos when the Angels play the Rangers in Texas on April 5.
“Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town,” Hamilton, a five-time All-Star with the Rangers, said in an interview with Dallas’ CBS 11. “They’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. There are true baseball fans in Texas, but it’s not a true baseball town.”
Texas manager Ron Washington wouldn’t enter the debate, telling reporters, “Josh is an Anaheim Angel. That’s his opinion. There were 3.5 million fans who came through the turnstiles (last season). That answers it right there.”
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News called Hamilton’s statement “a poison-tipped barb at a fan base that did nothing for five years but support him and offer him pretty much a free pass, regardless of the excuse or indiscretion.”
Hamilton offered no apologies.
“I told them on camera — I said there are true baseball fans and then there are others who are not,” Hamilton said after Monday’s workout. “The true baseball fans won’t boo when I come back; the ones who are not true fans will.”
Hamilton’s reference to Rangers fans being spoiled has to do with expectations created by World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011 and the harsh treatment he and the Rangers received from the home crowd after losing last year’s American League wild-card game to Baltimore.
Hamilton was 0-for-4 and swung and missed at six of the eight pitches he saw in that game.
“I’m not saying I don’t still appreciate them, but reality is reality,” Hamilton said. “I think I’ve always spoken the truth. I don’t beat around the bush. But I loved my time there.”