Boos rain down on Wilson in Texas return
ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas fans, being fans and all, have wanted to boo Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson since he bolted for not-quite-Los Angeles in free agency this offseason.
A feeling that only grew when he:
1) Said Texas wasted his time by not giving him an offer sooner.
2) Tweeted Rangers catcher Mike Napoli's cell phone number to his 127,373 or so Twitter followers in spring training.
3) Refused to say "my bad" and instead chided Napoli for not having a sense of humor.
4) Presented himself as more esoteric, more genius, more left-handed than everybody—an arrogance tolerated while in Texas and now detested on a rival.
So when Friday's game began — long before an almost 2-hour rain delay and eventual 10-3 Rangers victory that ended Saturday — Wilson faced a wave of boos. Or were they saying, well, some other word with an "oo" sound in it? You know, the thing from those commercials that make dudes cringe, the ones about that not-so-fresh feeling.
OK, they make everybody cringe.
Funnyordie.com has a whole fake ad with C.J. Wilson peddling this product, which I highly recommend viewing. And I say this despite mostly liking the guy.
There is something about an athlete who has the lower guts to walk into Nolan Ryan's office and basically tell him, "I have the stuff to be a starting pitcher and y'all are crazy if you do not give me a chance to be one" and then backs up that crazy talk by becoming a really, really good starter in the league.
Hell, Rangers manager Ron Washington did not always like C.J. He respected him, though. And when C.J. signed with the Angels, he texted him to say congrats and thanks.
Yes, C.J. does say things that are a little too I'm-smarter-than-you. Yes, he races cars and is a devoted Taoist and is political. Yes, he might have you-know-what tendencies.
But fans like their you-know-what, only not so much when he is someone else's.
This is why Texas fans were booing and would have gone right on booing if not for a freak of weather.
Rain. In Texas.
A lot of rain fell, actually, initially chasing C.J. from field in the first inning with a run already in and ultimately chasing him from the game. He did not return after the hour and 56-minute rain delay, his final line being one-third of an inning, 4R, 3H, 1BB, 1SO and the loss.
His absence further infuriated Rangers fans who had come for a C.J.-Yu Darvish showdown, to watch in person what has been a scorching Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton hopefully hit a couple and boo C.J., and not necessarily in that order.
Only Hamilton delivered. He finished with two home runs, and possibly might have flirted with another four-fer if the Angels had not intentionally walked him.
Questionable baseball, usually, though a Hamilton exception may apply.
"He's as locked in as a hitter can be right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said afterward.
The showdown evaporated when only Darvish returned to the mound after the delay. The dude is a robot, a freak of nature because he came in and battled for 5 1/3. It was not his best game, but the simple act of returning was appreciated.
Darvish also is the Rangers' response to losing C.J. in free agency and more likely was their plan all along. There were many Rangers types who had tired of C.J. This is not to say they were not interested in his services. They were.
His agent told the Rangers not to bid if they were going to bid less than a certain amount. Then C.J. then signed with Anaheim for less than that amount.
All of this was what Rangers fans had wanted to unleash ,and why in the seventh inning the chant began of "We want C.J.," hoping to coax him from the dugout. It was the last disappointment of the night.
He was not there. He already had retreated back to the hotel. It was only after the game we learned this — at 12:20 when Scioscia explained C.J. would be starting Saturday's game.
"We'd rather start him fresh," Scioscia explained, also noting that C.J. felt strongly this was the better play.
They want C.J. And C.J. wants them.
Let the booing or, erm, well, you know, begin again in the morning.