“I love Texas. I love my fans. I love fans of the Rangers. I love the organization. I love my teammates. I love everything about it. But I’m not going to sit here and say that I owe the Rangers. I don’t feel like I owe the Rangers.”
If you’re reading this, you’re more than than likely a Rangers fan. If you’re not, you can still relate – imagine your favorite team’s biggest star saying these words. How does that statement make you feel?
Josh Hamilton sat down with media earlier today and issued the statement above (video below). To level set here, this wasn’t all Josh said, nor was it the only topic that he discussed…rather just a snippet, but one that many fans and media members clung to. Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) details the full press conference here if interested.
When you get right down to it, this is a business, and Josh is right – he doesn’t owe the Rangers anything. They have a contract that both parties agreed to. Josh is being paid to play baseball. The Rangers are paying for his services. In the same vein, you could say that the Rangers don’t owe Josh anything.
So, while the statement isn’t false, it’s not easy to hear for Rangers fans. Clearly this statement was Josh’s counter to the opinion that he should give the Rangers a “friendly discount” for standing by his side during his relapses, which has been written and talked about often by local media and fans.
It’s just not the right thing to say.
Josh is under a ton of pressure right now, and should be thankful for Yu Darvish’s presence in Spring Training, as it’s diverting some of the media attention. If there were no Yu, the media at Spring Training would certainly be following Josh’s every move and clamoring to get anything and everything out of him regarding his recent relapse and personal life.
All we know about the night of his relapse is what he has shared with us – the rest is just word of mouth or rumors. I say this to point out that we don’t really know about the stress which the events of that night truly put on his life and the relationships in his life. Josh is probably feeling like he is under attack to some degree right now, which could explain this defensive statement.
In addition, as he has pointed out in the past, Josh doesn’t script his press conferences or interviews, which can lead to off-the-cuff statements like this one. I’m sure it seemed harmless at the time. I’m sure as Josh thought about the statement for that brief second before he actually uttered the words, he saw nothing wrong with it. I don’t mind that Josh is thinking that statement. The realist in me understands that it’s a business, but I don’t want to hear it come out of his mouth.
Does this statement have any impact on the Rangers’ front office and their potential contract offer to Josh, whenever that may occur? No. While I think Jon Daniels would strongly agree that this was a poor choice of words and a potentially damning statement, he’ll separate the statement from the players ability to contribute to the team.
But, what about the court of public opinion? In my opinion, this statement makes it a little easier for the Rangers to allow Josh Hamilton to leave in free agency after 2012. This is a statement that could linger.
So am I defending Josh or slamming Josh? Neither really. At first, the statement upset me and to be completely honest, pissed me off a little. I understand that Josh doesn’t owe the Rangers, but what about fans? The fans the are the ones that are impacted by a statement like this. For the Rangers and the players, it’s a business, but for the fans, it’s much more.
It’s acceptable to dislike what you heard Josh say today, and I’m not trying to sway you one way or another. More than anything, I’m interested to hear what you think about Josh’s statement. Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter (@baseballdo) or Facebook (Baseball Do Fanpage) and let us know.
Here is the video (from the Star-Telegram’s Foul Territory Rangers Blog). If you haven’t seen it yet, let’s do a little exercise.
Step 1 – Watch the video, be sure to have your speakers or headphones on.
Step 2 – Play the video again, but this time instead of watching it, just listen to it and look at the picture below.
Step 3 – Ask yourself, would you have felt differently if C.J. Wilson would have made this same statement last year in Spring Training, heading into the final year of his contract?