The one thing you really have to love about baseball players is the way they can turn pretty much anything into a friendly wager or competition.
For a classic example, look no further than the clubhouse pool the Los Angeles Angels are running ahead of their April 5 visit to the Ballpark at Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers. Of course, that game will mark Josh Hamilton's much anticipated return to Texas after signing with the Angels in the offseason, which is sure to attract a media circus and illicit emotional responses from those in attendance.
Honestly, given how awkwardly the relationship ended last season, and given Hamilton's “There’s true baseball fans in Texas, but it’s not a true baseball town,” comments from earlier in the spring, I think we all know what to expect from Rangers fans when he steps into the batter's box for the first time.
To his credit, Hamilton also knows what to expect, but according to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, many of his new teammates are still willing to put a little money on what the majority of those responses will be.
The Angels are setting up a clubhouse pool on whether Hamilton receives more boos or cheers when he returns to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 5. Hamilton expects to be booed.
“I got booed when I played there,” said Hamilton, alluding to the response to his final game as a Ranger. “Why wouldn’t I get booed when I play there as an Angel?”
This seems like easy money. Maybe too easy, which is why I would add the following prop bets.
• Will the boos be sustained throughout Hamilton's entire first plate appearance?
• Will Hamilton respond with a mammoth home run?
• Will Rangers fans get bored and stop booing him vigorously before the weekend is over?
I'm going with yes, definitely and probably to those three. I mean it just wouldn't be a complete story unless Hamilton launched one that first time up (or at least the first game). And even though he's anything but a typical foe coming in, fans tend to get tired of being angry. So while I expect the boos to continue, they should be tamer by weekend's end.
I could be wrong on that one though, but I guess we'll just have to see in about two weeks time.
Big BLS H/N: Larry Brown Sports