ARLINGTON — On Opening Day, baseball turns the page.And the Texas Rangers, who faded like autumn leaves last September, are more than happy to do so.A new season brings new hopes, new faces, new expectations.There remains unfinished business, Elvis Andrus reminded everyone Thursday.Im not going to rest or sleep till we win a World Series, Andrus said at a press conference announcing his eight-year, $120-million contract extension.At age 24, Elvis had been months away from potentially becoming a very wealthy free agent shortstop.But as he put it so compellingly Thursday, I love to play here. This is my family.Elvis smile, as it usually does, lit up the interview room beneath Rangers Ballpark. He was among family.By contrast, scheduled to sit at the same microphone and address the media before Fridays game is Josh Hamilton. He took the money and ran to the Angels last December and now wears the uniform of the enemy.On Opening Day, baseball turns the page. Is there a more faded chapter from the Rangers 2012 season than Hamilton?Silence today for Josh Hamilton? Whatever you read on Facebook, dont do it. Its a senseless idea whose subtlety is certain to go straight over the simple Hamiltons 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 dont get it, he winked, will boo.So, by all means, speak up.The back story has grown tedious, but what Hamilton and the other ex-Ranger, C.J. Wilson, dont seem to understand is that theres a reason theyre in Anaheim, and it isnt all about money.For a two-time World Series team to remain successful, it has to turn the page. There has to be a standard. Though occasionally painful, there has to be a turnover in personnel.Sometimes, the change comes because a 20-year-old shortstop from Venezuela is knocking down the big-league door. Its no coincidence that the Rangers began their current run of playoff appearances when Andrus made the leap from Double A to the big clubs starting lineup.But arrivals often beget departures. Hamilton, Wilson, Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd and Chris Davis have all either been traded or departed as free agents since Andrus rookie season.Theyre all tough calls, general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday. We dont take those decisions lightly when theres change. But I think theyre necessary calls when you make them right and when your people are making the right recommendations.You look around not just baseball, but even in other sports, you can tell when teams arent pro-active about making those decisions.The decision to secure Andrus services for at least five more seasons, therefore, was a prudent one.The fantasy players dont get it. No sooner had the reports of Andrus extension surfaced on the Internet Sunday night when the roto-heads were tsk-tsking because Elvis WAR wasnt high enough or that he doesnt steal enough bags.Baseballs new stats most of them, anyway are worth paying attention to. But where the games new math misses the picture on Andrus is his Elvis-ability.His joy of playing, which fans can readily see. His self-assuredness on the baseball field.At age 24, Andrus career is still ascending, still maturing.Elvis ready smile will sell tickets. Light up billboards. And before not very long, its going to lead the Rangers clubhouse in a way that Hamilton and Wilson never could.For the Rangers, who ended the 2012 season on such a disappointing note, the home schedule begins today Opening Day.Time to turn the page. But by all means, speak up.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton