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Josh Hamilton Creates Firestorm with Comments About Texas Rangers Fans

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Josh Hamilton Creates Firestorm with Comments About Texas Rangers Fans
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Former Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will have to face the wrath of fans when he returns to …

COMMENTARY | New Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton returns to his former home to take on the Texas Rangers on April 5.

Mark that date on your calendar - it's going to be a return that promises to be deafening, and not in a good way.

After five years in Texas, Hamilton is now their mortal enemy. The division-rival Angels signed Hamilton away from them, marking the second time in two years that the Halos signed away a significant free-agent player from the Rangers (C.J. Wilson).

There was certainly bitterness on the part of Rangers fans for the way that Hamilton's run ended. He dropped a routine fly ball in the final game of the 2012 regular season as the Rangers failed to lock down the American League West Division title.

In the wild-card game, Hamilton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, enduring boos from the fans as the Rangers were eliminated.

When the Angels swooped in and lured Hamilton away from the Rangers with a five-year, $125 million contract, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels expressed disappointment in the fact that Hamilton didn't circle back and give the Rangers a chance to match the offer.

Now, Rangers fans have something else to hate about Hamilton.

In an interview with a Dallas TV station that aired on Sunday, Feb. 17, Hamilton said that Dallas was not a "true baseball town." Hamilton went on to say that fans became spoiled as well.

In all fairness to Hamilton, the comments were taken out of context. He was referring to the fact that Dallas is a football town first, courtesy of the Cowboys and their winning ways.

He elaborated on his comments the following day, saying that Rangers fans were spoiled by the team playing in the World Series in back-to-back years and that they came to expect the same type of success each year.

However, by then the damage was already done.

Once the original comments were made by Hamilton, it became instant media fodder, regardless of what he meant to say. Was he purposely trying to say that Rangers fans aren't passionate about their team, or that they're not supportive? Of course not, but in the media, it's all about how words are construed.

It's all about context.

Hamilton was absolutely right in saying that Rangers fans are spoiled as well. They won American League pennants in consecutive seasons, so any fan would expect to see that same type of on-field success year after year. Winning is contagious, and after years of watching Rangers teams repeatedly fail, their recent string of winning was a welcome sight. It's a sight that Rangers fans want to get used to seeing.

Hamilton's error in making the comments was that he simply shouldn't have been so forthcoming, as has always been his nature. Hamilton has always been candid and willing to answer any question offered up by the press.

Sometimes, however, holding back can be a smart play.

Hamilton's intent was not to bash Rangers fans. But in being completely honest, he made it look like sour grapes.

On April 5, Hamilton will find out exactly how much of a baseball town Dallas can be.

Doug Mead is a freelance sportswriter living in the Los Angeles area. His work has been featured in Bleacher Report, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

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