If last night was Josh Hamilton’s final game in a Rangers’ uniform, it ended pretty ugly.
After Hamilton dropped a fly ball during the final game of the regular season against the Athletics, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a double-play ground ball last night. He saw a total of eight pitches.
Fans directed their anger and frustration at Hamilton, who told Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com that this wasn’t how he envisioned his final game with Texas.
“You hate to have it happen possibly the last game ever here, but at the same time, it’s one of those things,” Hamilton said after Texas’ 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Friday night’s one-game American League wild-card round. “I gave it my all every time I went out there. Hopefully, (fans) appreciated it more than they didn’t. I think they do. It’s one of those things, hey, we didn’t get a win, but you can’t win them all.”
Hamilton, 31, is the marquee name in what figures to be a weak free agent class, so he should do quite well as he tries to find the biggest payday of his career. He said that while he will “absolutely” give the Rangers the chance to match any offer he receives on the open market, he will decide on his next destination based on guidance from God.
“With prayer, where God says so. With prayer, where God says so. And with prayer, where God says so. Period. He’s always led me to the right places.”
Hamilton insisted the boos didn’t bother him and said the negative reaction from fans will not impact his decision this winter, but his paraphrasing of Matthew 10:14 was pretty telling.
“If they don’t receive you in a town, shake the dust off your feet and move to the next.”
Hamilton has a .305/.363/.549 batting line over five seasons with the Rangers to go along with 142 home runs, 506 RBI and a .912 OPS. He finished second in the majors this season behind Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera with 43 home runs and 128 RBI.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.