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Josh Hamilton: 'Football town thing ... an absolute nightmare'

April 05, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton celebrates after hitting a double against the Dodgers in an exhibition game.
Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton celebrates after hitting a double against… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton said he calls 'em as he sees 'em.

"I speak the truth," Hamilton said. "I don't sugarcoat it. People can see through that. I don't want to take back anything I said."

However, at a news conference before his first game here as a member of the rival Angels, Hamilton came pretty close to taking back his spring training comment about the Dallas-Fort Worth area being a "football town." Rangers fans, already grumbling after Hamilton did not give their team a chance to match the Angels' $125-million offer, did not care for Hamilton's description of their town.

"The 'football town' thing has been an absolute nightmare," Hamilton said.

When he arrived in Texas in 2008, he said, he noticed that Friday night crowds of 20,000 would dwindle to 10,000 in September.

"I'll never forget it," he said. "I said, 'Where's everybody at?' They said, 'High school football started.' "

Hamilton said he was proud that, by the end of his tenure in Texas, the Rangers had not only made the only two World Series appearances in their history but packed the ballpark on Friday nights in September.

"It was fun to be part of," he said.

As he emerged from the Angels dugout and proceeded to take batting practice, his every step was tracked by eight cameramen, one of whom nearly backed into Mark Trumbo.

No one booed during batting practice -- and Hamilton signed autographs for fans -- but the slugger did not hesitate to predict he would be booed during the game.

"They booed me when I was here, at times," he said. "I don't expect anything less, especially playing with the Angels."

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