Back in 2013 when Josh Hamilton returned to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as a California (Los Angeles) Angel, this was the reception he received.
Friday night he returned to the Texas Rangers once again a member of the good guys.
The fan reaction was very different. During the weekend his bat spoke for Josh in the times Josh couldn't speak for himself. He doubled in his first at bat back home at the Ballpark. He had 2 home runs Saturday night and Sunday, a scheduled off day for Hamilton who missed all of spring training, he came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 runners on, down by one run. Can you say get the Walk-Off double and the party started, Josh?
When he wasn't hitting baseballs far, he was giving interviews about how happy he is to be back in Texas and doing what he could do on and off the field to mend fences with bitter fans.
After the game I tweeted a couple thoughts on the game:
Do you think Josh Hamilton is happy to be back in Texas?
I have missed this so much. All last season we didn't have fun. Baseball...it's fun again.
Driving to work this morning, I couldn't help but think about my weekend. I am going to admit a lot of it had nothing to do with Texas Rangers baseball but you don't want to know how I got my haircut or fell on my bottom trying to pull garlic for friends and ended up in a mud fight with myself. You don't want to know how my friends and husband and I spent Saturday night dancing on our deck to music from his phone until 1:30. You don't care about my great chicken scare of 2015 when my sweet little Ries attacked one of my chicks (I believe she was just trying to play with her not eat her, to be fair) and sent the chick into shock. We thought for a good several hours the chick was going to die. She is perfectly fine now and running around the coop like a crazy girl. Ries, however is banned from all chicken activity.
So you get my stunning analysis of baseball. Yay!!
Alright, when Josh Hamilton came back last month, I wrote a blog getting my feelings out about his departure and return to MY Texas Rangers. I admitted through the course of my blog that Hamilton was my favorite Ranger before he left. I also admit after he left, I wrote a couple of blogs, buried in my archive somewhere, about why I was glad he wasn't our (Rangers Fans) problem anymore. Then he came home.
Here is what I decided on my drive in to work. Josh Hamilton IS the crazy train. The thing about the crazy train is that you ride it and get all you can out of it knowing full well it is the crazy train and could do a complete 180 on you at any moment. Josh Hamilton, for all his faults (and who doesn't have them?) makes baseball fun. Josh Hamilton, for all his goofy interviews, gives his team some excitement. Josh Hamilton, for all his crazy-blue-eyes-can't-see-in-the-sun, Jesus told me to stop chewing tobacco, way too honest and completely nuts comments, (It's not that I don't think Jesus doesn't want Josh to stop chewing, it's just that even if he told Josh that, did he also tell Josh to use it as an excuse not to hit the baseball? I kind of doubt that. I am positive Jesus wants Josh to be happy and healthy. He wants that for all of us, I am sure. He is Jesus, for heaven's sake!) gives fans hope.
What this Texas Rangers team missed last year was fun, excitement, and hope. I am going to be honest here, I had none last season, just a lot of tears over a lot of injuries and this season was starting to look a lot like last season until Hamilton sauntered into town with his crazy train, tossed on his superman cape of many colors, and blew his whistle to shout "Hey guys, it's me Josh, it's going to be different because it's going to be just like it was. I'm back, all aboard my Crazy Train."
Do I think Josh Hamilton is the savior? No, of course not. However, in a season that started with Yu Darvish having surgery and being out for the season before the umpire shouted "Play Ball!" and included Derek Holland's return stint on the DL, Matt Harrison's never ending stint on the DL and a starting rotation that features Colby Lewis the seasoned veteran and always confusing, Colby. Just when you think you can really count on Colby he throws a whopper of a bad game or 4 and you want to know where the brilliance went. Add to the Colby rotation Nick Martinez, Wandy Rodriguez, Yovani Gallardo, and the newest member of Rangers Nation Chi-Chi Gonzalez.
Truthfully, I can't wait until Yu Darvish is back because I really want a starting 5 that includes Yu, Wandy, and Chi-Chi just because...come on, that is baseball name greatness. Seriously, Colby, Derek, Matt and Nick are kind of boring on paper.
So where does that leave my beloved Rangers? Right now they are playing very well but to be fair, they were playing well before Josh Hamilton returned so let's not give Hamilton all the credit. Unfortunately lost in the win yesterday was Adrian Beltre who injured himself on a slide into 2nd and will be out for at least 2 weeks.
The loss of Beltre is huge and it has spurred a lot of 'Bring Joey Gallo' up talk. Gallo, is a huge sensation in AA Frisco right now and the future of Texas Rangers 3rd Base. He also has barely been at AA and while he is tearing the cover off the ball, he isn't exactly Adrian Beltre playing 3rd, yet. He needs time to develop and become a well rounded player. Something more than a month at AA would give him so I am not on the Bring Up Joey bandwagon.
Here is where we stand today:
|AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST|
|L.A. Angels||27||24||.529||4||201||193||8||15-11||12-13||5-5||4-3||15-11||6-4||W 4|