Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have some drama brewing – or at least being instigated – between the Angels and Rangers, and we are not even out of March yet. First, there was Josh Hamilton and his “Dallas isn’t a baseball town” comments. Sorry Ranger fans, but he’s right. Dallas is Cowboys country and the state of Texas as a whole lives and dies for any kind of football (My mom lives in Texas and has told me that the local high school sells season ticket packages). And considering number of titles won, the Rangers might even be tied with the Mavericks as far as popularity is concerned.
But, Hamilton’s comments are old news. They have been beaten into the ground and really don’t need to be rehashed here. What we do have though, is his former Ranger teammate and now Angels teammate C.J. Wilson backing him up (Because he should), and throwing in his two cents on the topic. C.J. was able to deliver his remarks in a way that has him coming across more diplomatic than Hamilton did, but he’s also had time to craft a statement whereas Hamilton’s was an on the spot answer. Good for C.J. to back up his teammate, but I’d rather he had taken a different approach.
I don’t advocate someone knowingly causing drama, but I'm willing to alter my stance on that. The Angels haven’t had a player say exactly what he thinks about another team since John Lackey made his “We fly flags” comments about Ian Kinsler and the Rangers back in 2009. And – aside from Torii Hunter’s sound bites – the team has seemingly carried itself with a “Business as usual” aura for the last few years. And that’s boring and uninspiring.
And it’s not like the team hasn’t had it’s chances. In 2011, Weaver got shown up by Carlos Guillen; Weaver’s next pitch was a tower buzzer. He was subsequently ejected, but the only comments after the game that were being made were coming from the Tigers clubhouse. In Anaheim, the issue mostly died. Last winter C.J. famously tweeted out Mike Napoli’s phone number after Napoli was quoted as saying that he was going to take Wilson deep. Napoli fired back saying that he was absolutely going to take Wilson deep. What did C.J. do? He batted the issue to the side. Raise of hands from those who would’ve appreciated an “I’m going to strike him out on three straight pitches” quote from the straight edged one.
The rivalry between these two teams has been getting a higher billing each year, but from where I’m sitting, it doesn’t feel like a rivalry. And if it is, all the shots are being fired from one side while the other just kind of sits back and sips on iced tea. I want to not hear about the “one day at a time” mantra, I want to see jocks being jocks, I want to see a stadium filled to the brim with fans that are all over the opposing team from the first pitch to the last, and I want to see fire and passion. I want teams to be afraid to come into the Big A. And a few well-placed quotes in a newspaper or on an online editorial could stir that pot up nicely.