Former Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is throwing fire at his former home, saying that the Dallas Fort-Worth area isn't a good baseball town in an interview with the Dallas Fort-Worth CBS affiliate.
"There are true baseball fans in Texas, but it's not a true baseball town," said Hamilton.
"They're supportive," Hamilton said about the fans, "but they also got a little spoiled at the same time pretty quickly."
"You think about three to four years ago (before two straight World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011). It's like, come on man, are you happier there again?"
If you want to see a textbook example of burning bridges on your way out of town, take a look at Hamilton's comments in this interview. He signed a five year, $125 million deal with the Angels this year, and Texas GM Jon Daniels was reportedly not pleased about not being given a chance to match the Los Angeles offer to Hamilton.
Rangers manager Ron Washington essentially blew off Hamilton's comments.
"I'm not answering anything that Josh said," Washington said. "That's Josh. Josh is an Angel. That's Josh's opinion. My opinion is there were 3.5 million fans that came through the turnstiles. That answers it right there."
Rangers left fielder David Murphy, who will be expected to pick up some of the slack on offense after Hamilton's departure, went the opposite route of Hamilton and praised the Rangers' fanbase.
"We've had an absolutely electric environment to where I think visiting teams coming to play us in Arlington probably view it as hostile a place as there is in baseball and that definitely plays to our advantage," Murphy said. "I definitely (like) the way that the fans have come out and supported us. The last few summers have been extremely hot. It's going to be tough for me to come watch a baseball game when it's 110 degrees out or 105 degrees out. I really appreciate the way they've supported us, especially through all the heat."
You can say what you want to say about the lack of tact in Hamilton's comments, but the Rangers drew less than two million fans in a season as recently as 2008, and drew 2.1 million fans in 2009 before increasing substantially in the last three seasons, topping out at 3.4 million this past season. Winning obviously draws fans in droves, and with the Rangers never having sustained success until the past three seasons, it's been tough for the team to steadily bring fans in. 2013 will be the test for the Rangers fanbase after the team collapsed late in the season and lost the wild card playoff game to the Orioles. With Hamilton and Mike Napoli both departing Texas, it could be a rough season for the Rangers, and the patience of their fans could be tested.