We got our first look at Johnny Damon in pinstripes, as the former Red Sox center fielder was introduced by the Yankees in New York today. Below you'll find a rough summary of the press conference and Damon’s comments:
Yankees president Randy Levine introduced Johnny Damon: "The new (hair) style looks great, you're on Broadway and it's fits a Broadway premier."
Yankees GM Brian Cashman presented 18 (Damon's number) roses to Michelle Damon, Johnny's wife.
Cashman: "We're in a position to say Johnny Damon is a New York Yankee...Welcome to the New York Yankees."
Cashman then fitted Damon with a Yankee jersey and cap.
First of all what do you guys think about this (jersey)? I know it was a pretty big story… I’m proud to be a New York Yankee and the proud tradition we have… I will go out there and run through walls for them, hit and bring another championship to New York.
Obviously keep on snapping (pictures) away...
Mo is the best closer of all time, Randy Johnson, one of the best of all time. To be a part of this lineup, you can only dream about it… There's not going to be pressure.
I'm going to get on (base), if I don't you have Jeter, A-Rod ... no breathing room for pitchers. No. 9 hitter Robinson Cano is going to get on and make things a lot easier for me… Giambi, Matsui, Bernie Williams, Posada at bottom ... That's pretty good.
Did you just go where the most money was, Johnny?
No ... there was that mystery team that offered more money but they cannot guarantee winning like the Yankees can… We will win. Alex called me and said we're going to accomplish many milestones together. He can hit home runs at far greater pace than me and Jeter.
The Yankees came at me positively, put things in the forefront. That's why I can tell you I'm a New York Yankee.
I have thought it was a possibility (coming to the Yankees). I knew the Yankees would be coming after me. When you play for a team, (and) I was asked that when with I was with Kansas City when it was rumored that I would go to New York, you're loyal to your teammates and the team you're playing for. As a Red Sox, you could not say you'd jump to the other side… But when you're a free agent it opens up your world. See what kind of value you have and what other teams have in you.
You could not ever dislike the Yankees. The hustle, I think they're going to see how I hustle all the time.
I'm sure it's going to be crushing (for the Red Sox fans). Loyal fans, great fans. They didn't really deserve it. That's the unfortunate thing with this sport… Some Red Sox fans are happy for me. If anybody could make this switch they knew it was me. My perspective is helping.
There are some upset players over there (in Boston). They looked at me as a brother. I'm going to go out there and play hard. (It’s) not about the brawls and all that. It's about playing a game. It's going to continue to be a great rivalry.
I need to go out there and gain the Yankee fans respect. I have to be the easy-going short haired guy.
The total number of pitches I see, the ability to score runs, get on base (make him a good leadoff hitter). Everyone is looking at my decline in stolen bases as an aging thing. When you had a tremendous 3-4 combo, those guys just get walked.
It's going to be exciting. I can't wait. I feel great and have been working out hard.