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Idiots for dummies

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  August 24, 2010 08:51 AM

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Johnny Damon loves Detroit.

He just loves it.

"It's probably as tough of a decision for me to make right now as it was for me to leave Boston for New York."

Johnny Damon is a fraud.

A complete fraud.

The Tigers center fielder was weighing his options last night after the Red Sox put in a waiver claim on him, which means there could be a slight chance Damon ends up back in Boston, where he was vilified after jumping ship to New York following the 2005 season. It's a tough decision for no-trade Johnny because of how much he's enjoyed his time with the Tigers, the team he was always meant to play for.

Or, wait. Was that the Yankees?

Or the A's?

Or the Royals?

It's always hard being Damon, so emotionally attached to whatever city he and Puppet Master Scott Boras can con into signing his paychecks. So, if indeed he does decide to waive his no-trade clause and lands in Boston for the final six weeks of the season, here's how it will presumably play out:

Damon will arrive in town, swarmed by his adoring media members, and break bread with Red Sox fans. He will be cheered by the alternative hats in the Red Sox' first true sellout in weeks. Damon will then talk about how Boston is the best city he has ever played in, emotionally choked up about how he always dreamt of this moment of redemption. All is forgiven, and Damon and Red Sox fans will once again be in another fictitious love affair.

Until he signs with the Rays in the offseason and begins to wax nostalgic about how he always envisioned himself playing for Tampa Bay as a little boy. When reminded that the Rays didn't come into existence until 1998, Damon will flash a wry grin and wink into the camera with that enchanting twinkle in his eye. Reporters will swoon and continue with the ridiculous assertion that he's a Hall of Famer (Damon's top similar batter on Baseball Reference is the immortal Cesar Cedeno).

Wash. Rinse.

No matter where Damon goes, the story is always about him. It was about him immediately following the 2004 World Series when he "wrote" that ridiculous book. It was all about him immediately following the 2005 ALDS when Damon was crowing about his impending free agency before the White Sox celebration even had a moment to get off the Fenway Park infield. And now, should he jump ship to Boston and the Red Sox actually make the playoffs, how do you think Damon would relish the role of "savior?"

And by "relish," I mean play it up for a new contract in 2011.

Of course, all this news has certain media members drudging up all the wrong reasons why Red Sox fans can't stand Damon, simplistically stating that it was merely because he went to the hated Yankees why fans will never again buy him a beer in this town. Not true. Red Sox fans grew tired of Damon's shtick when he simply wouldn't shut up during that offseason, talking about how he was "flat-out disrespected" by the Red Sox and crowing about the Yankee tradition even before he had a chance to don the pinstripes in Tampa that following spring. He could have simply said, the Yankees came in and offered more money. Instead, he dismantled his legacy in Boston faster than anyone not named Roger Clemens.

Whichever team that happens to be paying Damon is his "special place." He's one heck of a ballplayer, but he's one hell of an actor.

"If I do this, and we pulled everything together and I could help them get into the postseason, it would change everything again," he said.

This is why by some time tomorrow Johnny Damon will again be a member of the Boston Red Sox. It does Johnny Damon no good for his 2011 contract to remain in Detroit. In Boston, he's in the headlines again, as either hero or villain, and not riding out the season with the free-falling Tigers.

He'll play it off as a shot at redemption. A con man to the end.

“The only reason why I would be considering it is to help out this team in the future. I love the Tigers organization, and I love the fact that they’re up-front and honest. If somehow they can get a good prospect back, a player that can help this team in the future, it would be beneficial for them. I would like to remain a Tiger, so I think that’s why these next hours are pretty important.”

What a fraud.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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