Josh Hamilton says Texas Rangers fans were spoiled by the team’s success over the last few seasons.
Hamilton, who signed a five-year, $125-million deal with the Los Angeles Angels in December, helped the Rangers reach the World Series in 2010 and 2011. During an interview that was aired Sunday on CBS 11 in Dallas, Hamilton revealed why he left the Rangers and joined their American League West division rivals.
The Rangers “had the first opportunity, and just kind of drug their feet on it,” Hamilton told CBS 11’s Gina Miller. “And my wife put it best, ‘If you’ve had a relationship with somebody you don’t let them date somebody else and kind of give their heart away.’ Probably a week or two before the decision was made, as far as coming to the Angels, I finally had that feeling of, that settled feeling of ‘OK, I really don’t feel like I’m going to be back in Texas.’ And I hadn’t even spoken with the Angels yet, at that point.”
Hamilton hit a career-high 43 homers last season but he finished the year on a sour note. As the Rangers collapsed down the stretch, Hamilton, who seemed disinterested, showed little effort at times, highlighted by a dropped fly ball and little hustle to retrieve it in the regular season finale. In Texas’ 5-1 wild-card playoff loss to the Baltimore Orioles, Hamilton went 0 for 4 and only saw eight pitches. This all came after Hamilton missed five games with ocular keratitis.
Hamilton returned on Sept. 24 and the Rangers went 3-8 the rest of the way as the 2010 AL MVP went 11 of 46 from the plate with 20 strikeouts.
Rangers fans were clearly displeased with Hamilton by the end of the season, booing him several times during the wild card defeat. Hamilton suggests that Rangers fans got spoiled by the team’s sudden success.
“It’s one of those things where Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town,” Hamilton said. “So the good with the bad is they’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled, at the same time, pretty quickly. You can understand like a really true, true baseball town — and there are true baseball fans in Texas — but it’s not a true baseball town.”
Here are some of the other highlights from the interview, which can be viewed here:
On if he feels like being with the Angels is the right place for him:
“I do. I do. Everybody always wanted to say, ‘Oh, he just went where the money was,’ or whatever. I’ve been criticized for worse things.”
With the way the season ended, if there’s anything he’d like to do over:
“Win. That’s as simple of an answer as I can give you. Not that we didn’t go after it hard, but just being a little more focused on not saying, ‘OK, if we lose tonight, we’ll do it tomorrow. If we lose tomorrow, we’ll do it the next day.'”
On his first conversation with Ron Washington after he signed with the Angels:
“I’m not allowed to say that on TV. He can let it go a little bit. No, he just wished me luck and just told me how much he appreciated all the effort I had given him for the past five years. And I said the same thing. It was a joy to play for him.” On how he expects the fans to react the first time he returns to Texas:
“It will be mixed feelings from the crowd. The people who really get it will cheer. The people who don’t will boo. Either way, I’m going to do what I got to do to try to help my team win.”