To Boo or Not to Boo: How to Welcome Josh Hamilton Back to Arlington

To Boo or Not to Boo: How to Welcome Josh Hamilton Back to Arlington

This afternoon, Josh Hamilton and his luxuriant, flake-free hair will take the field in Arlington for the first time since dashing the Rangers' playoff hopes by badly muffing routine fly ball then bolting for Anaheim. And no one really needs to be reminded of last season's summer-long slump, his absurd energy drink habit and his claim that Dallas is "not a true baseball town."

Now, the Rangers fan is faced with something of an existential crisis: to boo or not to boo.

It's a question that has consumed sports media for the past week. Some preach a Christ-like turning of the other cheek; others urge Herod-like retribution. The Star-Telegram's Gil Lebreton is among the latter, though he stops a bit shy of calling for a literal crucifixion.

Silence today for Josh Hamilton? Whatever you read on Facebook, don't do it. It's a senseless idea whose subtlety is certain to go straight over the simple Hamilton's curly head.

Silence? No, speak up. Let your voices ring out today like banshees.

The smart baseball fans in attendance will cheer, Hamilton suggested earlier this spring. The ones who don't get it, he winked, will boo.

So, by all means, speak up.

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Jean Jacques-Taylor at ESPN Dallas resigns himself to the fact that the boos will come. He's okay with that, but thinks that we should all just get over it, that Hamilton's sins were the product of a lack of maturity. His takeaway: "Treat Hamilton like an ex and wish him well. There's no need to be angry."

Or maybe there is a need to be angry, but we should express our feelings in a more passive-aggressive way. WFAA has a piece on the 15-year-old who launched a "Silence 4 Josh" campaign. Cute.

Leave it to the Morning News to appoint itself as the adult in the room. Columnist Kevin Sherrington thinks fans should cheer Hamilton, which just doesn't seem that realistic.

Sherrington's opinion is endorsed this morning by the paper's editorial board, which took the time to weigh in on this issue of vital importance.

So ... boo? We hope not. It might offer temporary satisfaction, but it accomplishes little and proves less. Relative silence is a reasonable option but also falls short.

How about some respectful applause that recognizes what Josh Hamilton accomplished here with his play and through his struggles with addiction? He was the best player on the best teams (so far) in Rangers history. If you loved those two World Series, at least be honest with yourself: They never would have happened without his big bat and hustle in the field.

Clearly, this conundrum won't be solved by game time, so fans will have to let their feelings guide them, or else keep engaging in a debate about the moral philosophy of fandom which, to be honest, sounds a lot more boring than baseball.

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