It’s funny how much of a difference a few months can make for a guy’s likability. I live in Texas and although I’m no Texas Rangers fan, I can admit when a player is good and heck, I can even say nice things about them too. I can respect a person’s core values as well whether or not I care one bit about the team they play for as well.
I found it very interesting when I was stunned with the news that Josh Hamilton had signed a deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. My first thought was to think about some comments I had heard from some fellow Angels fans and what I imagined the next things I’d hear from both sides and it led me to this conclusion, most sports fans are very predictable and regardless of the circumstances that a player leaves under, the new opposing fans won’t be very nice about it.
This time one year ago, all the way through about midway through the season, here in Texas Josh Hamilton was golden (well for the most part). He was on a historic tear through the American League and was virtually uncontainable. Then a curious thing happened, Josh quit caring. Well maybe that wasn’t it, he just lost interest, got bored, went into a horrible slump… Whatever you call it the love affair that was Josh –n- Texas started to lose its appeal, and fast. With the missed catch at the end, the lazy chase after the ball and the random booing which ended being a lot more than random we all kind of saw the writing on the wall for Josh, we just didn’t expect the next stop to be Anaheim!
Before last season started for Josh he had a relapse with his demons and while some people felt for the guy and appreciated his owning up to it others took the opportunity (as lots of people do) to kick him while he was down. I remember seeing people just dogging Josh, I mean really dogging him, and I mean dogging him in a way that almost made me embarrassed that we were breathing the same air. Talking about his relapse with alcohol and just poking fun at the guy and saying things that really shouldn’t be said about other people (regardless of which team they play for). And being an Angels fan trying to defend him? Forget about that… I got cussed out trying to stop that, what a shame, what an embarrassment. Some people have no couth and that’s unfortunately just how it goes sometimes.
So anyways, Josh Hamilton signs with the Angels in December and here’s where the story gets funny… I mentioned that sports fans are predictable, right? Yeah so Josh signed with the Angels and the same people who were saying the things that people should never say about other people, these people wouldn’t let you speak ill of the man now! He’s an Angel now! Leave him alone! I hope he doesn’t have any more relapses. I hope he’s conquered his demons. The EXACT OPPOSITE of the things said by the same people! HYPOCRITES!
Oh yeah, on the other side of the coin, I mentioned that sports fans are predictable, right? Well anyways, now the same fans that were defending Mr. Hamilton and hoping for his well-being sounded like the same people that a few months before had practically prayed for his demise! All because he “quit on the team”, was “a traitor” or whatever other lame excuse they could find. Of course, in the midst of all of this Josh decided to talk about how he felt that the DFW area was more of a football town (when the Cowboys were winning it sure was) and how real fans wouldn’t boo, etc… Now I am sure that Josh understands the predictability of sports fans and knows what will happen when he arrives (when we will see the silent treatment vs. the boo the heck out of the guy square away)
All in all, sometimes I’m embarrassed that a person will allow which sports team a person plays for to define the humanity and caring that we should feel for fellow people in general. The curious case of Josh Hamilton is this, a year ago Angels fans despised him while Rangers fans adored him, and now the opposite is mostly true. It’s funny how things can change so quickly in a few months! We’ll get to see the full aftermath in Texas this Friday when Josh returns as an opposing player, the villain… The predictability of sports fans will rear its ugly head again.