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Josh Hamilton says Dallas is not a baseball town. And he’s right.

Feb 18, 2013, 9:44 AM EDT

UPDATE: this topic tickled my fancy, so I did a post running down what I think is the alpha-sport in each major league city.

I have not heard the interview yet — and can’t find it — but apparently Josh Hamilton has upset a lot of Rangers fans by saying Dallas is not a baseball town. Or that “North Texas” is not a baseball area. Something to that effect:

Which, sure, I get why that upsets people, but is he wrong? If Dallas/North Texas isn’t football country there is no place on Earth that is football country. Out of the four major sports, the Cowboys have had less overall success over the past 15 years than the Stars, Mavs and Rangers, but they still suck up all of the oxygen. They still have that crazy stadium, fill it up and draw silly TV ratings. It has to be a football town, yes?

This isn’t a slight on the Rangers. I know they draw well and do well in the ratings themselves and that especially in the past few years they’ve really captured the hearts of people in Texas. Rangers fans really support their team. But there’s a difference between supporting one’s team and being a baseball town, isn’t there?

In my mind “baseball town” or “football town” is a zero sum game. You’re one or the other. Maybe the city shows for all of its sports teams, but if the town had to vote all but one of them off the island, which would it keep? In Dallas that has to be the Cowboys. And I think it may be more of a landslide there than anyplace else.

Thing is, there aren’t a ton of baseball towns these days. Off the top of my head I’d say Boston, New York, Cincinnati and St. Louis. Probably San Francisco, though that seems more recent (I’m mostly comparing how nuts the city seemed to go for the Giants in the World Series but not so much for the 49ers in the Super Bowl). Maybe Los Angeles, but my sense is that the Lakers are a bigger deal generally speaking.

Maybe I’m missing some. Occasionally I’ll hear Detroit mentioned, but while Detroit is a very good baseball city, I feel like the Red Wings hold more sway in some intangible way. There are probably people who will say that Boston is more of a Celtics place, but I don’t know.  I’d be curious to hear what people from each town have to say. I’m obviously guessing to a large degree.

But I don’t think I’m guessing with Dallas. That’s Cowboys country. And even if Josh Hamilton saying it is more about him being somewhat dismissive to the city that will now boo him whenever he comes to town, he’s not wrong, is he?

  1. tkbman - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Congratulations. You’ve managed to write one of the worst, most baseless and unfounded articles on BR, and that takes some doing. Have you been to the North Texas area lately? (Neither the Cowboys nor the Rangers play in Dallas, by the way.) Why don’t you try doing what real writers call “a little background” and leave the guessing at home.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      Although North Texas still produces some solid baseball talent (A-Jax!), it wasn’t that many years ago I went to a game and saw more BloSox shirts in the stands than Rangers ones and witnessed some serious booing of the home team. People didn’t even show up to see Sosa’s record chase, and you could buy good seats the day of the game. There has been a hardcore base there over the years, for sure, but there’s a lot of bandwagonning going on in the last few too (and, yes, I’m talking to my family members there).

      • approvenothing - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        Man, all i remember here in Texas since ive been old enough to walk are the Rangers games. That being said, Rangers aren’t number one priorirty for alot of the older fan base due to the 90s and early 2000s.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Also, don’t be like those annoying Anaheim people who bitch about the geography.

    • junglerat524 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Arlington, Dallas…same thing

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        Anaheim, Los Angeles: same thing!

    • fissels - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      C’mon man, lighten up

      • tkbman - Feb 18, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        The guy’s writing a piece on an interview he hasn’t even heard. That wouldn’t even cut the mustard in most high school English classes. It’s just a little disappointing to read an intriguing headline, only to find the article so poorly written and devoid of any real information. But I’ve learned my lesson, from now on I just won’t waste my time on any more of this joker’s articles.

  2. seitz26 - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    L.A. is more of a “whoever is winning at any given time” kind of town. It’s just that historically, that’s almost always been the Lakers. If the Dodgers have a strong season, combining that with the atrocity that is the Lakers this season, it will go back to being a baseball town. It was a hockey town for a week or two, but now that the Kings suck again (which I acknowledge as a long time Kings fan), that ship has sailed.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    An argument could be made for Baltimore being a baseball town. I know a lot of people will jump up and down and say but..but…the Ravens! And I know a lot of people will point to the attendance over the past few years, however that is due to a fan base making a statement over mismanagement, terrible ownership, and over a decade and a half of cover-your-eyes god awful baseball. Just take a look at what a playoff season did to the town last year. The stadium filled, hope returned, and baseball fever came back with a vengeance. Spend enough time around the area, and you could…just feel it in the air. The town longed for a return to baseball decency, and showed in force. Just look at the noise during the Yankees playoff games. Yankees fans couldn’t even fill the stadium to half capacity, while Orioles fans were breaking sound records.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Just look at the noise during the Yankees playoff games. Yankees fans couldn’t even fill the stadium to half capacity, while Orioles fans were breaking sound records.,

      Just curious what else goes on in fantasyland. What do unicorns really look like?

  4. misterj167 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Why wouldn’t you think Chicago is not a baseball town? If the criteria were which sports team would a city keep if it have multiple teams, would Chicagoans keep the Cubs or the Bears?

    • misterj167 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      would, not wouldn’t

    • seitz26 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      As a non-Chicago native who has lived here more than 10 years, my sense that Chicago is first and foremost a Bears town. There are pretty strong fan bases for all of the major teams, but there are a lot of people who, for example, love the Bulls but don’t care for hockey, and vice versa. And of course there’s the big baseball rivalry. But EVERYONE is interested in the Bears.

      • Alex K - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        This. I’m a non-native, also, but if the city could keep one team it would be the Bears.

  5. hojo20 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Milwaukee is a baseball town.

    • badger80 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Milwaukee is a weird one. The Packers dominate the news, but the Brewers draw if they just put a decent team on the field.

    • johosophat - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Milwaukee is a baseball town, Wisconsin is a football state

  6. chrisdtx - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    D/FW is like anywhere, really. They root for who’s good at the time (this quickly became a “basketball “town” not long ago). Generally, football carries a lot of water, though (cf. the $60 million high school stadium built in Allen).

  7. jpack1974 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    I’m a die hard Rangers fan. Until they started winning, they could’t give tickets away. And like the post before, tons of jerseys from the opposing team. That is a fact. It’s also a fact that from the Allstar brake on, the “home crowd” let Hamilton know he wasn’t welcome. That is unless he got a hit. He often gave the apprearance that he didn’t care and would have rather been somewhere else. True or not? Only he knows. But it was time to move on. I am 100% glad Texas did not pay him the kind of money the Angels did

  8. hushbrother - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    The Red Sox are orders of magnitude more popular in Boston than he Celtics. Boston is between the Sox and the Pats. I say the Sox win in a close vote. Unless they have another year like 2012.

  9. pauleee - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Anaheim is an amusement park town.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Theme park, not amusement park.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Clearly, you were not amused.

  10. sparty99 - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Detroit is overblown as a hockey city because of the whole Hockeytown thing. in reality the Lions and Tigers are 1a and 1b (probably in that order), followed by whoever is doing better between the Red Wings and Pistons. if you include college football and even college hoops, the passion for the Wings goes down even further.

  11. Jonestein - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I’ve lived in North Texas most of my life and there is no question that football is king. I certainly WISH baseball ruled around here, but it doesn’t. The Cowboys will fill up JerruhWorld no matter how much mediocrity the fanbase is subjected to. Mavs have built up a lot of cred the last 10+ years, so it will be interesting to see how fair-weather Mavs fans are during this transition period. The Stars have a good core of dedicated fans (myself included), but definitely depend on the fair-weather fans to fill up the AAC, as witnessed by the huge drop-off in attendance the last 4 years.

    The Rangers will need to consistently make the playoffs for the foreseeable future to sustain the current levels of attendance, which I think they can do given the great top-to-bottom organization they’ve become recently. It would take one hell of a Rangers dynasty to ever depose the Cowboys though.

  12. edmata - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    how is Chicago not a baseball town? they cubs are always one of the worst team, but they still pack the stadium.

    • Alex K - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      There are a lot of visitors that put Wrigley on their checklist of places to see during vacations to Chicago. That helps the Cubs a lot.

      Pretty much everyone loves the Bears. Baseball is a not too distant second, but it also isn’t that far ahead of the Blackhawks, either.

      • tuberippin - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        I think you’re forgetting that other Chicago baseball club.

        You know, the one that won the World Series more recently.

      • Alex K - Feb 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        How did I forget the White Sox? The person specifically mentioned the Cubs so I addressed that point.

        When I was noting the popularity I said baseball in general, not mentioning either team. So, you know, I think I pretty well covered them there.

  13. beefytrout - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Enjoy your 5 years of that, Angels fans.

  14. mybrunoblog - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    I don’t think you can call New York an exclusive baseball town. NYC has 8 million people. The NYC metro area has another 14 million people. There are 9 pro sports teams here and so many other distraction it’s tough to compartmentalize us into one thing. That said, the Yankees remain at the top of the sports food chain here but the other 8 teams still play a big role in the sports culture.

  15. mustbechris - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    So he went to the Angels in Dodgers town?

  16. tkbman - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Hamilton gave up on Arlington long before Arlington gave up on him. Once again, the drama queen contradicts his own previous statements.

  17. crnvic847 - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    @edmata

    Yea the Cubs were filling the stadium up until around the time they lost their 90th game of the year.

    And the same thing will probably happen this season as well.

  18. bringbackthevipers - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Sparty99

    Last year the Red Wings average attendance was 20066. Joe Louis Arena’s max capacity is 20066. Your definition of “passion” is warped. I love what the Tigers are doing and I am a huge fan. I also know that hockey ratings don’t compare to Football ratings anywhere in the US. Detroit, however, is Hockeytown, and deservingly so. There was no passion for the Tigers when they were losing 120 games a season, and hopefully for us, Detroit isn’t defined by its football team. This article is about Detroit, not East Lansing, where college sports have all the attention. I shouldn’t even need to make a case against the pistons. Even if you aren’t a hockey fan, you cannot deny the tradition the Red Wings have made in Detroit, and I would pick them above the other three professional teams any day.

    • detroitr1 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      The Red Wings weren’t making those same attendance numbers in the early 90s and no need to mention to mention the 80s or 70s for that matter. They had a Dynasty run and it generated fair-weather fans. No doubt there is a hardcore contingent of fans, but the numbers will fade if the team goes into mediocrity.

      The Tigers are in the top 5 for TV viewership adjusted for population. Detroit is a sports town, not a “Hockeytown.”

  19. junglerat524 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Cincy is a total baseball town. Always has been. The Reds were here in the 1800s, the Bengals, 1968. Plus, we love the current Reds ownership, Mike Brown, not so much.

  20. Mike Luna - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Dallas is actually a winner’s town. Back in ’99 we all globbed onto the Stars. In 2010 you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Rangers gear.

    The Cowboys are supposed to win, so they still get all that attention based on reputation alone. However, there are a lot of people in their 20s and younger that don’t actually care that much for the ‘Boys because they have yet to see what all the fuss is about.

    As for Josh Hamilton, he seems to just be lashing out because we all booed him the last time we saw him. We hurt his fragile little ego and he just can’t seem to get over it.

    Poor, poor incredibly rich superstar athlete.

    • Mike Luna - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      I guess from now on when we don’t like a player we should do what real baseball towns do. Let’s dump beer on and spit on the player’s wife, like the Yankee fans did when they were mad at Cliff Lee.

  21. a125125125 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    I’m sure Josh will find the fan attention overwhelming in the baseball hot bed of Anaheim.

  22. jessethegreat - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Chicago is completely a football town. Fans get upset when the bears are losing. They expect losing from their baseball teams. Two baseball teams split the vote while there is only one football team attracting the attention. Those stating that wrigley still sells out don’t realize that it’s because of curiosity. It’s like the bearded lady or an accident, you look because of curiosity. I’ve known many bears fans and everyone of them is passionate, and will defend their players and teams even thru the down times. Even they crack jokes about the ineptitude of the cubbies.

    Even compare their names. The bears are the big guy in town. The cubs are the cute little side attraction.

    Lastly compare opposing fans. Packers fans hate the bears (competition drives this) but respect them. Does anyone hate the cubs?

  23. cowboysoldiertx - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Arlington is what you think of when you think of the Rangers and Dallas when you think of the Cowboys. But neither play in Dallas. HOWEVER a short 30 minute drive and you are in Dallas. Now having said all that… Ranger fans are bandwagon fan all the way. Rangers are winning the fans are crazy for them. Lose a little and its SCREW OFF RANGERS! But Cowboy fans are always Cowboy fans. Even if Romo sucks ass at crunch time.

  24. thepoolshark - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    True Ranger fans (Attended the 1st game in 72, seen every televised game since, and countless games in person) could care less what a crack-head quitter calls our town, and are extremely pleased he is gone. He played and acted like a fool the last 4 months of the year, making excuses and quitting on the team down the stretch because he had ‘dry eyes’…..POOR JOSH!!! OMG!!! NOT AGAIN!!! First his blue eyes hurt, now his dry eyes! Darn the luck! Why don’t you stay at home and rest during the pennant chase? Say What? Oh, you are at home? Not playing today? Good luck quitting on the Angels, suckers for overpaid bench warmers (Vern makes $24 mil this year). So you are PO’ed the Rangers were not even going to offer you a contract, because they watched you up close for 5 years and were not going to repeat the babysitting chores for a fading, crybaby quitter. Hope you have some new excuses for Angel fans, who have already heard your old ones.

    • Jonestein - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Yeah, he did some great things here player-wise, but he ticked me off royally the second half of last year with his lollygagging, excuse-making and what sure as hell looked like quitting. I think there was some behind-the-scenes contract talk that didn’t go as he wanted, so he pretty much checked out during the second half.

      I think he’ll have a productive, honeymoon type year with Los Anaheim in 2013, but after that? Get ready for mystery-ailments, responsibility-dodging via “God”, and the plate discipline of a dashboard hula-girl. Enjoy, Angels fans.

  25. nolakrlvr - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I lived in the Baltimore area from 76-84 and the only time you could see a Colts home game on TV was if they were playing the Skins. The O’s ruled then and remained popular throughout the years that the NFL didn’t live there.

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