After leaving the Texas Rangers for the Los Angeles Angels, Josh Hamilton said in the preseason that Dallas-Fort Worth isn't a "true baseball town." You could dismiss that as a cheap shot from a now-departed star, if you want.
But then on Sunday, after the Rangers won their seventh straight game to force Monday's AL wild card tiebreaker game against the Tampa Bay Rays, current Texas star Ian Kinsler went on record as wondering where the rest of the fans were. He told ESPN Dallas:
"We've been to the postseason three years in a row," Kinsler said. "We're fighting for our playoff lives. I'm just a little disappointed this place wasn't sold out and rocking. You can't say it's the Cowboys because they were on the road. The fans were chanting 'baseball town' and stuff like that, and we can't sell out."
Rangers fans had a chance Monday to prove Hamilton wrong, make Kinsler happy and deliver home-field-advantage energy for their team. And they mostly did. Thousands upon thousands came out on one day's notice. But they didn't completely fill Rangers Ballpark.
Maybe technically it was a "sellout" with the help of some fancy math. The TV announcers on TBS referred to the "sell-out crowd" a few times. But reporters on the scene said about 5,000 seats were still unsold a couple hours before game time. Anthony Andro from Fox Sports Southwest posted this photo of the upper deck in left field around the time of first pitch.
The seats that were a tough sell. Still well over 40k here tonight. pic.twitter.com/J6zpQnDAtw
— Anthony Andro (@aandro) October 1, 2013
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports is in Texas for Game 163 and he said the crowd up there filled in a bit after a few innings, but there was still plenty of room.
What will Ian Kinsler say after the game? Well, that depends on how the game ends. If the Rangers advance to the AL wild card game, he'll probably be happy just the same. And Hamilton? Will this allow him another snarky comment about his old stomping grounds?
Given that his Angels didn't even muster a .500 finish, he'll probably be quiet.