Did they really expect anything different?
“They’re booing? (Gasp!) Shame on them.”
Some writers and other members of the baseball media who thought Fenway Park would react with some sort of hypocritical golf clap when Johnny Damon strolled to the plate Monday evening for the first time as a Yankee apparently haven’t been paying attention. Otherwise they might have understood all the frustration on the fans’ part rather than erroneously and hysterically labeling the ensuing negative reaction “crass” and “disgraceful.”
This wasn’t about Johnny Damon taking the money. This wasn’t about ungrateful fanatics disrespecting what he did during his four years in Boston. Damon has moved on to a new life in New York based on a business decision to take more money, that much can be hesitantly accepted by fans. In doing so he necessarily needed to distance himself from all things Boston, which can go a lot of different ways.
Emotion does not play into Damon's decision to take $12 million more. This is business. OK, fine. Damon took money, you would do the same. Probably.
So, exactly how is it now that the onus is on the fans for hurting Johnny Damon’s poor little feelings, for forgetting everything he did for this franchise? Wasn’t it he who made the “emotionless” decision to move to New York based on what’s best for he and his family? And yet now we’re supposed to believe that the way fans reacted was bloodthirsty? Apparently Damon is allowed to leave emotion out of the equation when it comes to making his money, but also free to wear his heart on his sleeve upon his return. Why does he get to have it both ways?
Damon has shown himself to be rather transparent, saying all the right things in New York, and sounding a heck of a lot like the guy who was here. He talks about the Yankees legacy the same way he talked about breaking the “Curse,” with a quiet, respectful tone that suggests he could interchange the words to either script with ease. And that ticks off Yankees fans just as much as it ticks off Red Sox fans, this aura of complete understanding that he exudes. Maybe that’s part of it. Perhaps fans are now starting to see that some of his whole persona is somewhat of an act, everything a little too rehearsed, a big misleading. Maybe that’s why they booed him, you think?
There was nothing “disgraceful” about any of it. It was a natural reaction after everything that had transpired this winter, the instant and all-too-easy transformation of Johnny Damon. Thus the all-too-easy attitude change in Red Sox Nation. And can someone tell me when jeering a player became such an egregious action?
So please, mind Johnny Damon’s “feelings,” would you? You bothered him the other night. Hope you're happy.
After the game, Torre said: “I was a little disappointed in the reaction by the fans. I guess we should feel proud. Evidently wearing a Yankee uniform overrides winning a World Series and busting your tail for years. Without Johnny here, they may have been working on 89 or 90 years [without a championship]. It’s too bad they don’t appreciate that more so than they dislike the fact that he’s wearing our uniform.”
Last night, Wells responded: ''Awww, poor Joe. I don't feel bad for him. For Joe? No. For Johnny? He knows what it's like. When you put the 'B' on and you're in New York, they're going to hate you. It happened to me. I went in as a Padre and got a standing ovation. I come in as a Red Sox and I'm the Antichrist. That's fine. Joe's been around a long time. If he's going to have remarks for that, I guess he's getting a little too sensitive."
"I think it was very positive overall," Clemens’ agent, Randy Hendricks, said. "I don't want a characterization of a positive meeting to imply that Roger will sign with the Astros tomorrow. ... I had very good meeting with Boston, New York and Texas. That doesn't equal a decision. I repeat -- he doesn't plan to play in May.”
"When Ortiz took a Yankee reliever into the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run, eighth-inning homer, he delivered another reminder of what he does so often and, at least perception suggests, Rodriguez does too infrequently. Ortiz restated, on the first day of May 2006, the best argument why he -- and not A-Rod -- should have won the 2005 AL MVP."
“I hope not, but there are some people . .. I don't know how they feel," he said. "Knowing my fans and the relationship I had and how much I expressed how I wanted to stay ... it wasn't my choice. I wasn't given the choice to actually think about, I was pretty much let go."
Answer to the “24” trivia: In between zapping the drunk yahoo at the hotel bar, Chloe discovered she had found the man Jack was looking for on the plane: Evans, the co-pilot, whose file said he hailed from Holyoke.