I wish I could miss Johnny Damon. At least it would mean he went away.
The once-and-forever Idiot has been out of the consensus mindset of Red Sox Nation for more than a month now, and yet we still can’t seem to get rid of him. He’s like the relative who left your house in a snowstorm on Christmas Day, only to call every 15 minutes for five weeks straight to let you know he or she got home safely. Dude, we get it. Let’s move on.
No can do when Damon is involved. He was, you know, “disrespected” by Boston’s $40 million offer back in December, and he’s letting everyone with at least one ear know about it in Manhattan. After taping a one-on-one interview with Yankee suckup Michael Kay earlier this week, Damon professed how badly Manny Ramirez was aching to leave Boston, and put in a bid for the slugger to join him with the Yankees. David Ortiz, too.
Bitter? Nope, not Damon. In fact, Boston’s acquisition of Coco Crisp gave the Yankees center fielder “closure” in his decision to defect to the Yankees. How nice. Today, Damon will meet with George Steinbrenner to “talk about the Yankee way.” Wow.
Michelle Damon…I’m sorry, Johnny and Michelle Damon have decided to live in a luxury Manhattan apartment also inhabited by Jason Giambi. The couple had looked at houses in the suburbs, but Michelle…I’m sorry, Johnny and Michelle decided they needed to live in the middle of the action. Damon thinks the USA is the outright favorite to win the World Baseball Classic. Damon received a new Ferrari from Massachusetts-based Puma for signing a new four-year deal with the shoe company. Ironic seeing as the only pairs of Pumas I ever owned fell apart as quickly as Damon’s second-half splits.
“I'm starting to think that I'm a Yankee,” Damon told the Bergen Record. “It took a little while, but it feels right now.”
A little while? It’s been 44 days and you have yet to put your cleats on. I’ve had hangovers that have lasted longer than that.
“I know I won't be accepted by the fans if I don't play well."
They’re apparently not even waiting for that, as Damon was reportedly booed at a Rangers game over the weekend. Hey, Johnny, welcome to New York.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a player fluffing up the fans of the new team he’s just signed with. It happens all the time, or do I have to remind you of Curt Schilling’s “I guess I hate the Yankees now” remark upon being introduced to Red Sox fans for the first time back in 2003? Manny Ramirez’s dinner with (possible new teammate) Enrique Wilson shouldn’t have been a big deal. If he hadn’t called in sick the next day, that is.
It’s all an act, contrived in the attempt to make fans of the uniform truly believe players have the same inherent contempt for the other uniforms as they do. “Josh Beckett hates New York? Cool, man, that guy’s one of us!”
The intrinsic problem occurs when someone like Damon moves on, however, essentially rendering everything he said about his former team’s rival over the past four years as one big lie. It also gives people the impression he is being dishonest when he talks about the “Yankee way” and what it feels like to be a Yankee, considering he has yet to even be one on the field with his teammates. You know, the Yankees.
That’s why when Damon goes off about how he’s comfortable now, well, fans at the Rangers game should be a little bit aggravated with him. He, after all, has no idea what it means to be relaxed playing at Yankee Stadium day in and day out in front of those fans, and obviously won’t until he does it. Giambi says hello.
Let’s please not kid ourselves with any sort of line about respect, opportunity, or desire to win an elusive championship. This was and is about money, and money only.
Damon is trying much too hard to get his “Hey, look at me, I’m a Yankee and golly gee am I happy,” message out there, in the process completely destroying the legacy he left behind in Boston.
Some found it sad that he was losing his “identity” as a member of the Yankees, forced to shave his beard as part of Steinbrenner’s no facial hair policy. What’s identity in the public eye, though? Big deal. Give me $52 million and I’ll say that Ashlee Simpson is the most gifted artist I’ve ever heard while I run to Newbury Comics to pick up the latest Tea Leaf Green CD.
It’s all one big performance, following the money and creating justification for why he did so. For once, I want an athlete to come out and say, "Team B offered more money. So I took it. You would do the same." Now THAT would be refreshing.
Instead, we get “The Johnny Damon Show.” And it is just getting started.
You’ll forgive me though if I’ve had enough already.