After being criticized by Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan earlier this week, Josh Hamilton is now hearing it from some of his home fans.
Hamilton went 0-for-4 in last night’s 9-5 loss to the White Sox. While he at least contributed with a sacrifice fly and an RBI ground out, a smattering of boos could be heard after he struck out in the third and fifth innings.
According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hamilton wasn’t happy about being booed in his home ballpark, but acknowledged that it comes with the territory.
“Yeah, I noticed but it’s all about what have you done for me lately, no matter who you are,” Hamilton said. “That’s what it is. There are more fans that are still cheering and encouraging me than the ones that are booing.
“I pray for the ones that are [booing] and I appreciate the support of the other ones.”
Hamilton, who has fought addiction his entire career, has heard plenty from fans across the country. But what did he make of the hometown crowd booing him?
“It’s disappointing,” he said.
Hamilton paused and repeated: “It’s disappointing. It is. I’ll leave it at that.”
Hamilton is currently tied with Miguel Cabrera for the American League lead with 83 RBI, but his slump has lingered for nearly two months. The impending free agent is hitting just .190 with seven homers and a 56/18 K/BB ratio in 186 plate appearances since the start of June, which has seen his batting average tumble from .368 to .284 overall.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.