You’re the instigator, the orator of the town
You’re the worst when you converse, just a big mouth clown
I’ve already established how I feel about Johnny Damon switching to pinstripes, and we’ve beaten the horse all over this site about hometown discounts (accepted or not) and about treachery (real or perceived). Johnny’s a Yankee, and many of us Sox fans are, perhaps surprisingly to some, cool with that. So it’s with great trepidation that I make this post, because it might be mistakenly interpreted as a return to the relatively dead issue about whether Johnny made a good move. That’s not the subject of this post. Rather, I bring Damon into this because he’s constantly popping up in columns about the Sox, opining about his own hurt feelings. And now he’s moved on to speaking on behalf of others who have spoken for themselves. I specifically cite today’s piece in the New York Times on Manny’s return to Florida – in this case he’s the guy people are going to for what I find to be undignified speculations about a supposed friend and player still toiling for his former employer. Sayeth Johnny, regarding Manny:
"He thought for sure he was going to be gone," Damon said Tuesday. "Unfortunately for him, he’s not. He’s been there for five years. He just wants a change. He knows how good he is. It’s just an unfortunate situation."
Now, I don’t know what is really in Manny’s head (not much, I presume). But all of his comments yesterday seemed reasonable, if at times cryptic or deferential to his agent, with regards to his status in Boston and his position on the team and in baseball. Nothing he said hinted at "an unfortunate situation", and not to be too naive about it, I don’t think there is an unfortunate situation here at all. This is actually a testament to Manny and his truly bizarre personality. Manny has played through strange moments, through the Carl Everett era, through World Series celebrations, through trade speculation, through manager reprimands, after watching great friends move on (Pedro), after ownership’s attempts to move him in blockbuster trades, after being placed on unconditional waivers, and he’s always performed at a Hall of Fame level. He’s a psychological freak. Damon’s comments strike me as impolitic and slightly meddlesome, verging on the flat-out unsportsmanlike. He’d be better served to ignore the microphones, however difficult that might be. This isn’t a Sox-Yankees thing, necessarily, or even just a Damon thing, but rather a question of when a player, any player, should stop discussing the inner workings and day-to-day political issues of his former team or teammates, specifically when they’ve already spoken for themselves.