Mr. Damon of Detroit

Johnny Damon has signed with the Detroit Tigers for 1 year at $8 million. It was a fun ride while it lasted. If Joe Torre's quasi-autobiography is to be believed, his tenure wasn't always as happy go lucky as we were lead to believe. But, for the most part, Johnny was a fun player to watch, at least on offense. We wish him the best and thank him for many great memories, and maybe the greatest base-running play in modern history.  

33 comments… add one

  • Without any kind of context, that last sentence is really ridiculous.

    SF February 20, 2010, 9:36 pm
  • I didn’t realize Johnny Damon stole home against Andy Pettitte.

    Paul SF February 20, 2010, 9:44 pm
  • Tough to see Damon walk but for that kind of money, Cashman did the right thing. The Tigers were bidding against themselves and I cant imagine they got any offers in the $8 mil range. Perhaps Boras sent some of his own cash over to the tigers to save face….
    and for the record, Damon’s running play in the world series was infinitely more dramatic and important than a steal of home in may!

    sam-YF February 20, 2010, 9:58 pm
  • Look, it goes without saying that Damon’s dash/es were great, important, historic (how could they not be in that context?), but calling it the greatest in modern history, without offering any context, without any history itself, is just jingoism, baseball-style. Lots of Sox fans probably did the same with Dave Roberts (and considering the context perhaps Roberts’ steal was even greater since it was far more vital to his team’s life), but YF should do better such is his knowledge of the game.

    SF February 20, 2010, 10:18 pm
  • the roberts steal is up there, too. but for guile points…
    whatever. it’s late.

    YF February 20, 2010, 10:48 pm
  • did i miss “pick on yf day”…
    look you guys already had your fun with dave roberts and ellsbury…you even had a dave roberts day…sheesh…it’s our turn to bask in the glow…besides, dave roberts doesn’t count because everybody knows he was out…

    dc February 21, 2010, 7:37 am
  • and maybe the greatest base-running play in modern history
    dc, it’s not “pick on YF day”, it’s “pick on the hyperbolic jingoistic statement” day. YF was just the messenger. His bad luck!

    SF February 21, 2010, 7:57 am
  • got it
    ;)

    dc February 21, 2010, 8:10 am
  • “I didn’t realize Johnny Damon stole home against Andy Pettitte.”
    No, you are right, he didn’t. He stole a base in October, not April. It was in the WS, in a game that mattered. ;)
    I don’t have a ton to say about Damon. Liked him, didn’t love him. He was certainly a fun player to watch. Surely grateful for all he brought to the team. That’s where that ends.
    It will be interesting to turn the page and see how Gardwinn makes out in left. I am a big Gardner fan and think what he brings to the table could prove to be very important for this team of experienced, power hitting, somewhat station to station players.
    All in all, Granderson replaces Damon and instead of starting the season with a platoon/tandem of Gardner/Cabrera in CF we have Gardwinn/Thames?/Hoffman?, the defense improves and you get younger. Time to trust the powers that be and see how it pans out.

    John - YF February 21, 2010, 10:07 am
  • “…and MAYBE the greatest base-running play in modern history.”
    Did you guys miss the “maybe”? Is it not certainly in the conversation? Strange to jump on the statement without offering a reasonable play that was better…
    Going to have to do better than stealing home in the regular season. (which has zero baring on the outcome of the Sox season) The Roberts play is at least in the same ballpark…

    krueg February 21, 2010, 11:24 am
  • P.S. I’m way more excited to see Curtis running around in the OF than Damon at the plate…better defender, we’ll see about the offense. Thanks for the memories though Johnny!

    krueg February 21, 2010, 11:24 am
  • i think the takeaway, and this is by no means an original thought, is that cash has demonstrated that when he wants an asset, he’s very capable of spending what’s necessary to acquire it. conversely, as we’ve seen here, by letting a popular player with considerable skills walk over a relatively small sum, there are times when he simply isn’t going to be pushed around. long term, that can’t hurt.

    YF February 21, 2010, 12:07 pm
  • It’s very easy to trust Cashman when his last off-season resulted in #27 and when he just pulled off two heists this winter.
    Granderson is going to crush the ball in Yankee Stadium and where Comerica killed him. I absolutely love the fact that we’ll be able to directly compare him with Damon’s season. Grandy will be a five win player, even in LF.

    Jeff Bonder February 21, 2010, 12:52 pm
  • Is it not certainly in the conversation?
    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. ;-)
    But a statement with this kind of grandiosity needs a little context, some comparables, which is the first thing I asked for, krueg. Otherwise we end up in the business of just calling something “the greatest of all time”, or “the most significant ever”, and it’s just a pot-stirrer with no brackets, no evidentiary comparison. It’s a dead-end argument, or at least nothing more than hyerbole. With some comparative anecdotes, YF may very well have a case for his claim, and It would be more interesting to see that comparison then to post what was posted.
    (For the record, I think that stealing home in April isn’t that important or great, no matter how exciting. And even in terms of Ellsbury it isn’t his greatest feat – that might have been scoring from second on a wild pitch…)

    SF February 21, 2010, 1:01 pm
  • But isn’t it up to you, the person that had a problem with YF’s statement, to offer up some sort of comparable or greater play, as opposed to YF creating a greater context?
    I mean, it really seems like a no-brainer that that play was ONE Of the greatest baserunning plays of all time. Now, I haven’t been watching baseball NEARLY ;) as long as you have SF, but what surpasses it in your opinion? I mean, even though it’s a Yankee that made the play, maybe it actually is?

    krueg February 21, 2010, 1:49 pm
  • No, it isn’t. I can’t expect to post something like “Josh Beckett maybe just threw the greatest series of pitches in the modern history of baseball” (or any other comparable superlative) and then force everyone else to offer up their own evidence that it isn’t a true postulation. That’s just not acceptable to me rhetorically, and I hope that if I do anything like that someone/everyone will call me on it.
    As for your final statement, I wouldn’t quibble with that language (“one of”). I wouldn’t have even commented.
    Lastly, the statement seems even more rhetorically irresponsible when you consider this site, the rivalry, and Dave Roberts, and how easy it is to find a single event that could be used to challenge the statement, not even considering how much the phrase “the history of modern baseball” ecompasses. I am not saying that Roberts’ stolen base was “greater”, just that there is a rather immediate event that might be argued by some, particularly Sox fans, to be just as great if not greater/more dramatic/more important, especially considering the context of the event (death of season?!).
    The point is: claims about something being “the greates in modern history” should probably not be made by anyone, even scholars of the game. And if they are they ought to be substantiated by the person making the claim. But that’s a personal pet peeve and has nothing to do with allegiances. I dislike discussions like that in general.

    SF February 21, 2010, 3:20 pm
  • That makes sense I guess…

    krueg February 21, 2010, 3:34 pm
  • Damon v. Roberts is an apples-to-oranges comparison.
    Damon’s play was head’s up, and helpful to the Yankees at the time, but not make-or-break to their WS title at that moment. If he hadn’t made it, the Yankees still were in position to win that game and the series. (And I seem to recall the next hit was a double.)
    Roberts’ steal was the precise opposite of head’s up. It was a demonstration of astonishing base-stealing ability under immense pressure. Every single player and coach and spectator knew that he was about to try for a steal. The Sox were facing elimination (and the possibility of ALCS humiliation at the hands of the MFY, for the second year in a row). It was a pure footrace, at a moment as crucial for a team as it gets, considering the Sox’s history at the time.
    From that moment, all of “modern” Red Sox history flows in a wholly different channel. I’d go with Roberts, if those were the two choices.

    Hudson February 21, 2010, 4:20 pm
  • I used the Ellsbury play because it’s the most exciting baserunning play I’ve witnessed since 2004 (and I didn’t witness the Roberts steal anyway). I actually just had to Google “Johnny Damon World Series baserunning” because I tuned out pretty much that entire week. So now I know. Sounds pretty exciting. :-)
    But obviously I wasn’t being serious anyway. October always trumps May.

    Paul SF February 21, 2010, 7:04 pm
  • I think Ellsbury’s score from second on a wild pitch against Texas during his rookie campaign was even more exciting, Paul. Partly because the steal of home is over almost before you even realize – the score from second built, first you saw the runner taking third but then, about 25 feet from third you realized he was going to keep going, so it was more like a 125 foot steal than an 80 foot steal from a lead. It was an amazing play.
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/07_03_2007_ellsbury_scores/
    (sorry for the threadjack)

    SF February 21, 2010, 7:24 pm
  • Dave Roberts’ stolen base was a stolen base, that was magnified by the fact that the superior 2004 Red Sox somehow lost the first 3 games of the ALCS to the Yankees, and were about to lose the fourth. It’s not the first time everyone knew someone was going to steal a base, and he steals it anyway. That happens all the time when a manager puts in a pinch-runner. Plus, it’s not like it was Andy Pettitte on the mound, and Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate. Posada was never considered a defensive wizard.
    Frankly, more impressive was the fact that Bill Mueller got a hit off Rivera. Much more difficult to pull off.
    Damon’s play might not have been as exciting or meaningful based on context he couldn’t control, but it was much more rare occurrence (when was the last time anyone stole two bases on one pitch?), and a pretty incredible feat, and it was in the World Series. I’m not saying it was ‘greater’ (who cares?), but it’s certainly not definitive one way or the other.
    Which is why YF said ‘maybe’, and I guess he should have written ‘one of’ (what’s the difference, semantically speaking?), but to spark such a huge debate over it is rather silly, in my opinion.

    AndrewYF February 21, 2010, 7:31 pm
  • God this is why Sox fans are so goddamned irritating. The man makes a qualified comment about an awesome World Series play, and every Sox fan who reads this blog gets their panties in a bunch and freaks out and tries to offer up first a meaningless May steal of home by Ellsbury, then a critical, but not especially amazing Roberts steal in the ALCS as some sort of one-up on a play where Damon stole two freaking bases on one play. IN THE WORLD FREAKING SERIES. No one is going to remember Ellsbury’s steal. People will remember Roberts’ steal, but only in the context of the Rivera blown save and the subsequent horrific losses by the Yanks to spot the Sox a couple championships after 80 some years.
    So deal with it, Sox fans. This goes into the annals of World Series baserunning history. Enos Slaughter (horrid racist scum)’s “Mad Dash” may be the best, but this was certainly the best I’m likely to see in my lifetime.

    Wade Black February 21, 2010, 7:47 pm
  • Not every Sox fan, Wade. Not every one. Just one here that I can see. Have to admit, that play was probably once in a lifetime, and pretty freaking amazing.

    DUFF - SF February 21, 2010, 9:04 pm
  • And Wade, this is why some Yankee fans are sometimes insufferable – they take a great play but have to somehow make it all their own, make it the greatest – of all the thousands of great baserunning plays (remember, this comment wasn’t even qualified by maybe being the greatest play of the World Series, but OF ALL TIME) this was THE greatest ever. Even with the “maybe” it’s a hyperbolic claim, and effectively useless, a dramatic flourish of no meaning.
    I don’t care to look at plays that way. This is the fan’s equivalent of marking territory by pissing on the history books. But then again I don’t have those urges, I have no need to pull it out and show how big it is, minimizing all others in the process. I can’t stand these kinds of claims, at all. And as I said I don’t care what uniform the player or the fan wears, either.

    SF February 21, 2010, 9:21 pm
  • “I have no need to pull it out and show how big it is, minimizing all others in the process.”
    That’s what she said.
    Wait, that doesn’t make sense! Doh. I still haven’t used that line correctly.
    “make it the greatest – of all the thousands of great baserunning plays”

    “Even with the “maybe” it’s a hyperbolic claim, and effectively useless, a dramatic flourish of no meaning.”
    Frankly, the notion that there are “thousands” of great baserunning plays seems more hyperbolic. Or more precisely, the notion that there are thousands of memorable and great baserunning plays is surely hyperbolic. Look, you are correct to ask for some type of context for the claim, but your counterargument–that there are so many of these baserunning plays to choose from–strikes me as way off. Really, how many great baserunning plays qualify as memorable and brilliant at the same time? Let’s add another dimension: important. I can think of Jackie Robinson’s steal of home, Dave Roberts’ steal off of Mariano, Damon’s dash, and then what? I’m not saying there aren’t more, but I have to believe that there are only a handful more that meet the criteria. Baserunning, even great baserunning, is not something that distinguishes itself or is very notable. Even when there is a play that involved great baserunning (for instance, an inside-the-park homer could very well the be the result of a player getting a great read on the situation and acting without hesitation), the baserunning component is often secondary. A clutch hit drives in a runner coming from second. The best part of the play could have been that runner’s brilliant decision to go for home, but the hero on the play is almost always going to be the hitter. It doesn’t register the same way a clutch hit does.
    I hope this doesn’t come across as antagonistic in any way. It just occurred to me that the notion of there being “thousands” of great baserunning plays isn’t quite right. To my mind, what is remarkable is that there are so very few baserunning plays that stand out as great.

    Nick-YF February 21, 2010, 9:55 pm
  • Can we at least all agree that Team USA beating the evil Canucks behind Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was F-CKING AWESOME?!?!?!?!?!?!
    USA…USA…USA!!! :)

    krueg February 21, 2010, 11:11 pm
  • “I didn’t realize Johnny Damon stole home against Andy Pettitte.”
    Posted by: Paul SF | Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 09:44 PM

    This was LITERALLY what I was going to say, word-for-word.

    Atheose - SF February 22, 2010, 7:32 am
  • Wow, just read the rest of the thread. We need some real baseball to watch and bicker about.

    Atheose - SF February 22, 2010, 7:38 am
  • i wonder if sf has some other bone to pick with yf offline given his strong reaction to yf’s fairly innocuous observation, or if it just hurts too much to see a former sox hero do something heroic in a yankee uniform [despite his disclaimer to the contrary]…
    i’ve see a lot of baseball, but not all of it, so who knows how many great plays i’ve missed…even with the repetitive style of espn programming, i’ve missed most of the top tens…i don’t know if damon’s play was the greatest or the most important…it sure was heads up and not something we see very often…in fact stealing 2 bases on one pitch may be a first for me…maybe yf was reaching a bit…so what…was matsui’s hitting in game 6 the best single game offensive performance in a ws?…i don’t know, but you sure could make an argument for it…without doing any research, it seems a safe bet that kind of output in a ws from a single batter is rare…my observation isn’t invalidated by the fact that i can’t/won’t offer up comps [reggie jackson] to “prove” my “case”…it’s not a case at all, it’s an observation, just like yf’s…he should be allowed to do that…like i said earlier yfs should relish #27 without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings…in fact, i’d say we’ve generally been quiet and respectful, here anyway…we endured your celebrations and chest-pounding about dave roberts and other heroic sox moments, so suck it up and lighten up…

    dc February 22, 2010, 8:14 am
  • I am pounding my chest DC, you just can’t see it!

    John - YF February 22, 2010, 9:56 am
  • Really, how many great baserunning plays qualify as memorable and brilliant at the same time? Let’s add another dimension: important. I can think of Jackie Robinson’s steal of home, Dave Roberts’ steal off of Mariano, Damon’s dash, and then what?
    From a historical perspective, I find this to be a far more interesting topic. Enos Slaughter scoring from first on a single in 1946 is up there. When we say “great baserunning plays,” do we mean “great” for the team doing the running or their opponents? I consider Papelbon picking off Holliday in Game 3 of the 07 Series a great baserunning play… for the Sox.

    Paul SF February 22, 2010, 11:18 am
  • “I consider Papelbon picking off Holliday in Game 3 of the 07 Series a great baserunning play… for the Sox.”
    Well in that case we should include Jeter’s flip play vs Oakland in the ’01 ALDS too…

    sam-YF February 22, 2010, 1:24 pm
  • Why the need to hammer the guy over semantics? That’s very lame. More importantly, he’s right. It was maybe the greatest baserunning play in modern history. It certainly goes beyond a mere stolen base. Top 10? Definitely and all that is required by the maybe.
    A great base running play has everything to with the runner and exactly nothing to do with the pitcher.

    Jeff Bonder February 22, 2010, 2:05 pm

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