"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Insert Religiously-Themed Betrayal Headline Here

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Acceptable terms include but are not limited to: Judas, Anti-Christ and/or Heresy.

The way I figure it, if Yankees fans are unhappy, it's gotta be good news for us.

Also? You can't teach an old dog new tricks. And you can't force an old dog to get a shave and a haircut and teach him to hit the cutoff man.

It may sound like sour grapes on my part but those of you who know me know how I feel about Johnny Damon. Namely, I tolerate him because he was one of The Twenty-Five but given half a chance, I will tell him to shut up. No, for real, shut up, I mean it. That's not about to change now. In fact, Annette seemed to think I'd be downright giddy about this turn of events. "I fully expect Kristen to be doing cartwheels in the streets tomorrow and kissing strangers. I mean, the stranger kissing is just par for the course, but she busts the cartwheels out for the special occasions." And while I don't NORMALLY make a habit of molesting strangers, I can't say I'm too upset. Just, eh.

What bothers me most about this, I suppose, is not Damon's move 250 miles to the south (because any halfway self-aware Sox fan had to know that his "I could never play for the Yankess" bluster was bullshit), it's that I WASN'T surprised. And that it's NOT sending me into a depressive funk. Which is not to say that I WANT to be rending my garments over the loss of our center fielder (see what I did there? I made a religious joke.) It's just that the list of Sox players who's departure would cause me to destroy a small Macedonian village is rather short. At present, it consists of: Tek, Ortiz, and Trot. Coincidentally enough, those look to be the ONLY three players remaining on the team when I show up to bother them in Fort Myers in March.

My point, I guess, is: when did I get so jaded? When did we all get so jaded? And by "we" I include the players in that. As Annette so deftly added in one of our Neverending Email Threads that I checked at 3 am when I got up for a moment because I have a PROBLEM, people!: " Somewhere Mo Vaughn is going 'They're never going to love you anywhere else like they did in Boston.'" And really, that's the bitch of it, isn't it? I resent the Johnny Damon-centricity of the team over the last three seasons or so because I felt all the while that I was being force fed. It wasn't organic. It wasn't as though he was someone that fans just gravitated to like they have with Tek or Trot. Even Papi's popularity is due to his megawatt smile and his ability to jack one over the Monster, not a publicity tour or some mad genius whipping up a brilliant PR scheme. But with Damon, it just got to be too much. "Face of the Red Sox, people! Get your face of the Red Sox, right here!" It felt calculated.

And now, it appears, it was.

I realize the players, save for some rare occasions (Tek/A-Rod anyone?), don't have the same animosity towards each other that the fans do. I understand that the Yankee pinstripes don't cause Red Sox players to shudder as their skin crawls, but if anyone was going to talk out of both sides of his mouth regarding The Rivalry, it was going to be Damon. And hey, here we are. Am I hurt? A little, I suppose. But part of me feels like he was never really ours to begin with. That's why he had to try so damn hard to make us love him. Not that I fault the fans who went all gung-ho Johnny. That's fine, everyone has their favorites. I don't fault them for a second (but I am most assuredly NOT upset about the far fewer numbers of pink #18 t-shirts that will be littering Fenway this year).

I think, when it really boils down to it, the one issue that sticks in my craw is the fact that so many memories about 2004, The Year, The Deliverance, if you will, are awash in Johnny Damon. Because he wouldn't let them not be. True, he did some great things for us. I'm not going to deny that for a second. But when you look at those highlights now, it's probably going to sting just a little bit because of your knowledge that the guy who professed to be "just an idiot" is now clean-shaven and shagging flies for the Other Side. Who knows what's true anymore? I'm bothered by the sheer amount of bullshit and hype that will spring from this. Johnny Damon is JUST a ballplayer. An integral one, sure, but I'm still more upset about the Theo debacle than I am about this. And I think Theo would have called his bluff too so I'm okay with that.

From a purely functional standpoint, the Red Sox now have a leadoff hitter problem. Namely, we don't have one. But hell, we don't have a shortstop or a first basemen either so maybe we're not concerned about these things? I don't relish having to play against Damon eleventy billion times over the course of the season but I didn't want to face A-Rod either and that worked out pretty well for us.

And, since I'm not a dude, I will most definitely NOT miss the Michelle Damon Fashion Round Up or whatever the hell that ridiculous bullshit on NESN was. Which brings me to, finally, my last point. If Damon harbors any delusions that he's going to be anywhere near as beloved in New York as he was in Boston, he can check them at the door. No way, no how. We're a persnickety bunch here in Beantown, sure, but once you're in, we tend to accept you and your quirks. However, Damon's going to have a tough road in New York. Without the hair, he's a good leadoff hitter with below-average fielding abilities and a lack of self-preservation instincts. Which is fine. But I gotta wonder how a media hog like Damon fares with someone like Jeter around. Should be interesting.

In the end, I feel like the ancient knight at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The traveler, in this case, Damon, has chosen the jewel-encrusted gold cup (or an extra $12 million over four years) instead of the more modest cup of a carpenter. After sipping from it, he quickly shrivels up and vanishes into dust. "You chose...poorly." the knight says.

Really, people, this shit writes itself.

So au revoir, JD. May the outfield wall at Yankee Stadium become familiar with the contours of your cranium. And as for Boston, Torii Hunter is still available, right? *salivates* Onward and upward.