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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Damon: Cheer or Boo?    

In general, the uproar about Johnny Damon bores me.  I'm not worried about him, and I'm fine that he's gone.  He did a good job for us, the Sox lowballed him, and he left.  Fine.  The people who are upset are generally media types and WEEI callers.  You know... morons.  So until now, I've tried to keep my hands dry of the whole Judas bit.

This recent trend of lecturing Sox fans on how to react to a visiting player, however, really grabs my sack.  After last night's game, Joe Torre expressed disappointment in the fan reaction to Damon's return, sarcastically pointing out that "wearing a Yankee uniform overrides winning a World Series and busting your tail for years."  There's some truth in that.  Damon was as much a reason for the World Series victory as anyone, and it's worth remembering.  He played hurt whenever he could.  He left because of a considerable financial difference between the two teams' offers.  All of that warrants consideration.  What it does not warrant is a "get out of jail free" card.

Booing Johnny Damon in a Yankee uniform is 100% justifiable.  Do I hate him?  Of course not.  But you sleep in the bed you make.  Yankees get booed.  Johnny Damon is a Yankee.  End of story.  It's one thing to sign elsewhere, but Red Sox fans are generally fine with that.  If Damon had signed with, say, Anaheim, or Texas, he'd be cheered on his return.  Hell, if Pedro ever comes back with the Mets, people will go nuts for him.  But Damon signed with the Yankees, and you just cannot expect to be treated fairly after you do something like that.

That's my real problem with all of this... Johnny Damon really expected to have his cake and eat it too.  I don't think he fails to understand what he's done, but he did think he could sign with the Yankees and still be beloved by Boston fans.  Regardless of how things work over in Johnny And Michelle's Bizarro Fantasyland, that's not how it works here.  Once you sign with the enemy, all bets are off.  He doesn't get to dictate his own reception, as he's tried to do in the media by reminding us about the good old days.  Maybe he gets treated fairly, maybe he doesn't, but it's not up to him.  We get to write his legacy now, and his departure for the most despicable baseball team in the Western world is a part of that.

Outsiders might observe this and say it's a shame that we can't appreciate him.  This is pure, uncut, Grade A horseshit.  When he retires, he'll be remembered for his deeds in Boston.  People won't hate him forever.  He does appear to want our love and admiration, unlike a certain chubby-faced choke-artist.  I think if Johnny keeps asking for it, he'll eventually get it.  Time will heal those wounds.  But not until he burns that idiotic pinstriped monkey suit.

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