Did Damon choose YF over SF?

On the surface, Johnny Damon chose the Detroit Tigers over the Boston Red Sox. But underneath it all, he actually made a different choice. Lee Jenkins gets it. He understands that all things Boston lead back to New York, and, in a way, this site.

He could not feign forgiveness. For the Red Sox front office, these negotiations may never have been personal, but for Damon they were. Despite his carefree persona, he held tight to a grudge, and while Red Sox fans were preparing to let go, he was not. Now, those fans will scorn him all over again, as if he were an outfielder in his prime headed to the Yankees, instead of a designated hitter in his twilight sticking with the Tigers.

Damon claimed that the decision to stay away from Boston was as difficult as the one to leave. In both instances, the Yankees were involved, though this time in a more tangential way. When the Tigers traveled to Yankee Stadium just last week, Damon was given a standing ovation, and he wondered how he would be treated if he were in a Red Sox uniform instead. Although Damon is beloved by his peers, who could not care less that he once left the Red Sox for a richer contract with the Yankees, he still seems concerned with how he is viewed by fans. He could not bear to jeopardize his relationship with a second major following.

By picking Tigers over Red Sox, Damon chose Yankees over Red Sox. If his allegiance were not clear five years ago, it is today.

Ergo, Johnny is ours. Does everyone agree?

34 comments… add one

  • I did not like Damon when he was on the Sox…obviously.
    I loved him when he played for the Yankees…obviously.
    I was pretty torn on whether or not to keep him this year, the Yankees didn’t really want him so he left. No big deal. I will always like Johnny Damon. Even if he would have went to Boston, I wouldn’t have hated him. My wife and I were talking about it the other night. He was too good in pinstripes and was too important to last years run to ever hate the guy.
    This is not meant to start a fight but as rod and I were discussing on the other thread, why do SF’s hate this guy so much after everything he did in that uniform? Why do all these players leave Boston and get destroyed, even though the front offices lets them go? It makes no sense to me.
    But to answer your question, it really seems that he hates Boston now so I don’t know if that is choosing the NY necessarily, but I understand why the guy doesn’t want to go back to Fenway.

    krueg August 25, 2010, 11:14 am
  • This is not meant to start a fight but as rod and I were discussing on the other thread, why do SF’s hate this guy so much after everything he did in that uniform?
    Because he said he would never play for the Yankees, but when they offered him more money, he did. I don’t begrudge him taking more money, but he should realize that sometimes people actually expect you to stand behind your words. If he’d stayed in Boston he would have been a beloved demigod. He chose otherwise.
    I wish someone would insult me with a 10 million dollar a year offer. I’m not speaking for any other SFs, just stating what I think.

    ponch - sf August 25, 2010, 12:32 pm
  • That’s what he said too but after reading the articles, he seemed to want to sign a contract extension but the Sox weren’t into it. Then they offered him what they thought he was worth, in both money and years, and didn’t budge.
    The Yankees offered him more money and another year, right? So they obviously wanted him more.
    I’m sure he meant that when he said it, but then when he realized the Sox weren’t really committing to him the way he thought they should, he left for greener pastures.
    What would you or any other SF have done in the same situation? Taken less money and years to stay in Boston?

    krueg August 25, 2010, 12:48 pm
  • I don’t understand why people are not allowed to change their mind’s anymore…

    krueg August 25, 2010, 12:50 pm
  • I’m not saying I wouldn’t have taken more money, although I’d probably be hard-pressed to spend 40 mil in the first place. But if memory serves he made a huge deal about how the Sox were disrespecting him and then once he was in NY he couldn’t stop yapping about the horrors of Boston, despite having seemed quite happy while he was there.
    I guess what I’m saying is that I think it’s odd that players expect loyalty from fans when they offer none themselves. It’s not like he was taking another job because it would enable him to finally be able to pay his mortgage, he decided that money was more important than the adoration of his fan base. That’s fine, and like I said I can’t say I’d turn down the money either, but I don’t think I’d be as adept at burning bridges like he did.
    Seinfeld had it right. Root for the laundry, for the most part.

    ponch - sf August 25, 2010, 2:04 pm
  • The reason Damon going to the Yanks was especially bitter is because of what he specifically said that year:
    “There’s no way I can play for the Yankees, but I know they’re going to come after me hard. It’s definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It’s not what I need.”- Johnny Damon, May 1, 2005
    He knew they were going to come after him, and he knew they were probably going to offer the most money. But he still said that there was no way he could ever play for them, and that playing for the most money wasn’t important to him.
    If he had never made that statement, I still would have been bitter over him going to the Yankees. But that statement makes what would have otherwise been an understandable business decision into a lie, a deceit, a treachery.

    Atheose - SF August 25, 2010, 5:03 pm
  • “Johnny is ours [YF]. Does everyone agree?”
    Johnny was a defining part of a historic red sox world series (and ALCS). He played well for the Yankees, and even gathered another ring. But he was iconic on that sox team. In my heart, he wears red sox laundry :-)
    - a SF.

    Ryanbetts August 25, 2010, 5:26 pm
  • “But that statement makes what would have otherwise been an understandable business decision into a lie, a deceit, a treachery.”
    Wow. Those are strong words. So the no matter the Sox offer, he should have stayed in Boston. It doesn’t matter one bit what transpired between the Sox front office and Damon between May 1, 2005 and the end of his contract in Boston, he should have just taken whatever the offer, even a lowball one, because he owed the fans of Boston something? Besides the first ring?
    I come from a VERY bitter city, Buffalo, and even I can’t understand any of this. Serious, if a player ever won the Cup for the Sabres, I feel like he could pretty much kill someone and go play for the Flyers and he would still be beloved in WNY.
    I just don’t understand. So, to sum it up, the arguably two most important players in the Sox two championships, Manny and Johnny, are not welcome in Boston. I mean, wow.

    krueg August 25, 2010, 6:53 pm
  • ANYWAY…the Yankees still suck if anyone was wondering. We have 1 starting pitcher and no offense. Awesome. It will be a fucking miracle if we make it out of the first round of the playoffs. I really don’t even want to watch them anymore…

    krueg August 25, 2010, 8:06 pm
  • > I come from a VERY bitter city, Buffalo
    That’s a great parallel, Krueg. As you know, I come from Bitter Buffalo’s ugly, obtuse, red-headed step-child: Rochester. They used to have cool, long-lived minor-league affiliations with cities like Buffalo and Baltimore. 70 miles on I 90 or on 5n20 to Orchard Park or to Crossroads/Marine Midland was no problem, especially when one would wait out the traffic with a refreshing post-game beverage or seven.
    Anyway, the interplay in that year (97?) when Nolan and Hasek were at each other’s jugulars.. at the time I blamed Nolan but that was because everyone loved Hasek. Maybe I’d feel different now. I don’t know if RS MGMT is at fault for losing Manny/Johnny, maybe there is a parallel.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 8:50 pm
  • Damon plays for one thing and that is for money. He really doesn’t care what team its for as long as he is paid well. I don’t hate him just know what to expect from him. Serously the guy acts like this Detriot team is the best team he’s every played for. Heard he’s writing a book about them and its comming out right after he blows Jim Leyland.

    WAY...SF August 25, 2010, 8:56 pm
  • > Damon plays for one thing and that is for money
    Well, that’s what I am in for whatever I am into, too. The rest gets sorted out later, doesn’t it?

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 9:00 pm
  • Would the Yankees have blown away any offer the Twins might have made if Joe Mauer had opted to be a free agent instead of signing an extension?
    Of course they would have. But Mauer settled for a slightly smaller boatload of money to stay in Minnesota. For baseball, it’s loyalty of a sort. Damon has none.

    ponch - sf August 25, 2010, 9:01 pm
  • > Damon has none.
    Ponch, maybe you are right about Damon being a mercenary, but I don’t see that Mauer’s loyalty as that altruistic. The guy is making 12.5M this year and is going to make 23M each, 2011-2014.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 9:07 pm
  • I agree with AG…it’s really funny when people blame workers for getting the most money they can, as we all would do if given the chance. I wonder how many of the SF’s on here would have stayed for a shorter contract for less money. I don’t know the actual numbers, maybe you guys do, but with the extra year and the higher salary he made how much more than Boston’s offer? Is there really such a thing as a “hometown discount”?
    SF’s are mad that he left because they loved him. That’s the bottom line. And on top of that he went to NY and won a ring.
    All that aside, I think I would be more thankful for what he did in Boston. He helped turn the whole franchise around…along with Man-ram.
    PS We certainly know misery as Sabres fans AG…it would have been impossible to side with Teddy over Dom. Dom WAS the Sabres for a decade.

    krueg August 25, 2010, 9:30 pm
  • funny shit…
    damon ’04 is a distant memory
    damon ’09 is a fresh memory
    sox fans that want to dis him forget what he meant to the 86 year drought…he helped END it…wtf…no, not single-handedly, there was the bloody sock and hall of famers mark bellhorn, bill mueller, kevin millar, keith foulke [really?], dave [he was out] roberts, a fluke, several more flukes, and others, but he was a key player…i’m with krueg…give the guy some love…he left for more money…lot’s more…under the circumstances, who wouldn’t?….

    dc August 25, 2010, 9:45 pm
  • Hell, Krueg, Dom was God.
    Then God left but wasn’t close to done yet. Mrs. Gerbil and her Dad are from Motown. They gloat of their wing-ness all the time about how that played out. Gah.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 9:51 pm
  • Despite all the blessings bestowed upon him, gerbil is a bitter, bitter rodent.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 10:04 pm
  • I like Ponch’s point, regarding Damon’s words, that it would be interesting to see the reaction of fans if he had not vowed to not play in the Bronx.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 10:34 pm
  • Meanwhile, I finally looked at tonight’s box. Vernon Wells murdered the Yankees. There were no witnesses.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 10:37 pm
  • Ugh…Red Wing fans. Lucky bastards!!!
    The Yankees lost??? COME ON! I can’t even believe it…
    Sports fans are so irrational…I mean, just read my posts over the years!!!

    krueg August 25, 2010, 11:00 pm
  • Nerd alert!
    Dom was the chaotic evil to Mo’s lawful good in the realm of keepers of the gate.
    Just channeled gerbil circa 1985 for that metaphor.

    attackgerbil August 25, 2010, 11:11 pm
  • Don’t…really…care…

    Devine August 26, 2010, 1:33 am
  • Awesome AG…

    krueg August 26, 2010, 10:01 am
  • krueg August 26, 2010, 11:06 pm
  • not just interesting krueg…it’s annoying…and frustrating…for all the whining about yankee spending, at least they operate like a professional franchise should…invest in the system to present the best possible product to the paying customer…it’s ridiculous for teams like the pirates and the marlins to defend themselves by claiming that they at least spent some of the money on baseball-related needs…that’s crap…they didn’t use the money as it was intended…almost like if i gave you a few bucks to go to the store to get bread and milk and you came home with chips and beer…if i were the yankees i’d demand a refund…can’t wait to see if/how the players union responds…by the way, hand over the chips, and gimme one of those beers…

    dc August 27, 2010, 8:08 am
  • While this won’t stop me from complaining about how much the Yankees, or the Red Sox, spend on free agents and how I think it destroys competitive baseball, this is rediculous. Teams like this should be punished by MLB. This leauge needs a salary floor just as bad as they do a salary cap.

    Brad August 27, 2010, 8:20 am
  • Brad, can you please explain what you just said???
    As that article clearly shows, even in the face of corporate welfare, these low-life “small-market” owners don’t really care about winning, only profits. How would you propose changing the system?
    And don’t just say “salary cap” because there is a cap in the NFL, NBA and NHL and the big market teams still rule the day…

    krueg August 27, 2010, 9:57 am
  • I’m retarded. You said a floor and a cap…

    krueg August 27, 2010, 9:58 am
  • it’s the beer

    dc August 27, 2010, 10:11 am
  • Yeah, you got it, Krueg.
    I’m not for implementing a salary cap just to line the pockets of wealthy owners; the salary cap issue cannot be approached without a salary floor as well. I think it’s despicable what the above linked teams have done, and bigger market teams needed to be protected against that kind of curruption from teams who simply don’t care about actually winning.
    But, that being said, I’d wager that for every Pittsburgh and Florida, there are ten teams that actually do use the money like they should, and do care about winning, and simply cannot compete with the large market teams.
    My personal feelings, not that it matters, would be that teams MUST spend between 80-150 million on payroll. Any team over that mark, pays a large scale tax which will be split between the bottom five teams, that are actually struggling to maintain the 80ish number. For every team, like mentioned above that doesn’t spend the 80M, they too are penalized at incremental percentages until they do.
    This stops the NY and Bostons from swooping up the Tiexera and Lackeys of the world, and forces the Floridas to do so.
    Plus, regardless if anyone wants to admit it or not (see the Reds v.2010) – winning puts asses in the seats. If they level the financial playing field for EVERYONE, the competitive balance swings back in the favor of the less favorable, thus allowing them to, you know, put asses in the seats. Yeah, our teams wont win 100 games a year and be favorites every year, but that’s not what baseball was ever about anyhow.
    I’ll gladly give up years of Boston and NY winning so much to see teams that have never compete finally do so. It makes for good baseball for me.

    Brad August 27, 2010, 11:39 am
  • still agree with you brad…and part of the problem is that baseball is a unique “business” in that you can actually produce an inferior product and have few if any customers, but still make money…what other free enterprise open market business can make that claim?…i like your proposal, but i gotta believe that the players union would have a beef about restricting the movement of the tiexeras and lackeys, not to teams who want them and are willing and able to pay the top price, but to teams who have not yet eaten up their mlb-imposed budgets…

    dc August 27, 2010, 12:05 pm
  • “But, that being said, I’d wager that for every Pittsburgh and Florida, there are ten teams that actually do use the money like they should, and do care about winning, and simply cannot compete with the large market teams.”
    I wonder about this…it’s really the crux of the issue.
    “Plus, regardless if anyone wants to admit it or not (see the Reds v.2010) – winning puts asses in the seats.”
    Except in Tampa…

    krueg August 27, 2010, 12:49 pm
  • True, Krueg. I think that’s more of the exception than the rule. Tampa is a very weird case in point.

    Brad August 27, 2010, 2:23 pm

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