The impression he left about his approach to the game in Texas was that his sheer genius should suffice for the days when he couldn't provide an encore, or, more to the point, wasn't up to the effort.
And that impression is why fans at the Ballpark booed him a couple of times. They didn't scatter jeers in a July loss to the White Sox because he struck out twice. They didn't boo in the wild card loss to the Orioles because he made four outs on eight pitches.
They didn't boo because Dallas is “not a true baseball town,” as Hamilton claimed Sunday.
They booed because he sometimes looked like he didn't care enough.
Of course, he's interpreted two cases of boos to mean something else entirely, and what that is isn't exactly clear. He told Channel 11 that Texas' fans had generally been supportive, but the club's success the last three years “spoiled” them. He also made a vague reference as to the nature of true baseball fans.
The next day, he tried to clarify his comments to the Orange County Register:
“I said there's true baseball fans and then there are others who are not. I said the ones that are true baseball fans won't boo when I come back, and the ones that are not, will. . You understand the Yankees, Boston, Cubs, Phillies — baseball towns. If they were doing that, that's one thing.”
Let's get this straight: True baseball fans apparently don't boo, but they could if they wanted to.
No, Dallas is not a baseball town, not like New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia. You could add St. Louis and San Francisco, too.
But if Hamilton made some of the excuses in New York, Boston and Chicago that he did here, he'd have been booed, all right, and more than twice.
In all fairness, he did make one excellent point in the Channel 11 interview when asked if he had any regrets about how last season ended. He said he wished they'd won, and he implied that their approach might have been a factor. “Not that we didn't go after it hard,” he said, “but just being a little bit more focused on not saying, ‘OK, if we lose tonight, we'll do it tomorrow. If we lose tomorrow, we'll do it the next day.'.”
From where I sit, it sounded a lot like he was saying they should have cared more. If he'd stopped there, he'd have gotten no argument.