ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Texas Rangers fans cheered loudly for Josh Hamilton — when he struck out.
Hamilton, now with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels, was booed during pregame introductions before the Rangers’ home opener Friday. There were more boos when he led off the second inning, but those became cheers when he took a called strike on his first pitch and eventually struck out swinging.
Before the game, Hamilton said he had good memories of his five seasons in Texas and wouldn’t let stuff like people booing hurt his feelings.
“I’m not setting out to prove anybody wrong or anything like that,” Hamilton said. “I’m just setting out to play the game, the way I always have. Hard and give it what I have. … They booed me when I was here, at times. I don’t expect anything less, especially playing with the Angels.”
Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and 2010 AL MVP with Texas, signed a $125 million, five-year deal with the Angels last winter. He was part of the only two World Series in Rangers history.
Hamilton said the only time he thinks about his last game for the Rangers is when someone asks about it.
“And then I quickly think about it, and then I quickly release it,” Hamilton said of the Rangers’ AL wild-card loss last October when he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and got booed by the home fans.
After Hamilton was introduced during the pregame ceremony, he slapped hands with teammates and had a smile on his face as the boos started.
When Rangers manager Ron Washington was introduced, he shook hands with his players, greeted Angels manager Mike Scioscia at home plate and then waved at Hamilton.
“It’s good memories,” Hamilton said of his time playing for Texas, where he still has his home. “I have good memories in general that nobody can take away from me, about fans, about the organization, about the time here we had, and the growing process.”