ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Infielder Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers rounds 3rd base after a home run on the first pitch of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays September 17, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Josh Hamilton chimed in on the Ian Kinsler scorched-earth interview that was released in ESPN The Magazine on Tuesday, saying it was nice to no longer be alone in the Texas Rangers fans' doghouse.
Both players had their share of comments about the Rangers' fanbase, but in different context. Hamilton's was after he left the Rangers when he said DFW will never be a "baseball town," which unfortunately is probably true. Kinsler at least made his similar comments when he was playing with the Rangers and always wore his heart on his sleeve in regards to his dislike of the Cowboys fever in this town.
Kinsler was still a well-liked player, even though he was a polarizing one.
So what does Kinsler's future in Arlington hold? He'll most likely never play with the Rangers again, though I guess you can never say never. Does his future hold a Michael Young ending? It's hard to imagine that after Tuesday's fiasco in the media, but remember, it wasn't long ago Michael Young was saying some of the same stuff and personally attacking Rangers GM and president Jon Daniels, himself. And look what happened with Young last month. So, yeah, it is possible.
Kinsler was a huge part of the Rangers' rise to relevance, even moreso than Hamilton was. He gave the Rangers eight years of varied results and was a key piece of the fabric of the locker room, at least at one point. Once Michael Young went through his public spat and got dealt, it seems Kinsler fell out of the leadership environment and fell into a bitter one.
In a current poll on ESPN, Kinsler is in second place in the "former Ranger is now the biggest enemy" contest behind Hamilton, who's the resounding leader, and ahead of Alex Rodriguez, whose time of Rangers hatred has probably passed him by. C.J. Wilson is a distant fourth in the poll.
Kinsler will hear his fair share of boos when the Detroit Tigers come to Arlington for the first time in late June, and he has to be prepared for that. But it says a lot that pretty much every Rangers player came to Kinsler's defense on Tuesday. If you remember, when Hamilton made his comments after leaving Texas, the Rangers were pretty much silent in their comments about them. They weren't inflammatory, but they weren't defensive, either.
My guess, Kinsler will eventually be a beloved figure around these parts again. It'll be a while, and it won't be as quick a turnaround as Young was, even though Young was never despised by Rangers fans, just maybe the front office. Kinsler has a good five or six years remaining in his career, and then whether Daniels is still here or not, it's feasible to envision Kinsler coming back to Texas to announce his retirement like his best friend did earlier this year.