Johnny Damon Needs To Shut His Cake Hole

I loved having Johnny Damon as the Red Sox centerfielder and lead-off hitter. I even understood when he left. It's a business - he got a much better deal from the Yankees and he took it. I even understood it from the Red Sox perspective - the way Damon plays, he will break down due to injuries at and increasing rate. Do they really want to be paying him $10,000,000 a year when he's 36? I was one of the fans that gave him a standing O (amongst the boos) when he returned to Fenway in pinstripes (although I was in my living room, watching the game on TV - don't judge me).

Anyway, I got it, and we lived in a state peaceful co-existence.

And then this morning I see this in The Boston Globe (scroll down to the second entry):

"That's water under the bridge," Damon said. "I got a great offer and a great contract from the Yankees and I'm happy. Maybe [the Red Sox] learned a lot from what happened last year. They finished in third place. They definitely needed to go out and make a statement, and it seems like they're kind of doing that."

What? He didn't just say that . . . well, he did say it. And in doing so, he (unknowingly) violated our truce. I liked it when he appeared to be taking the high road. A former boss used to tell me everyone cuts their own deal. The Red Sox looked at him, determined his value to them for each of the next four years, and went with it. Damon wanted more and he got it elsewhere. So why the sour grapes? Does he really need to rub the collective nose of Red Sox Nation in it? There isn't a single Red Sox fan that would have rather had Coco Crisp instead of Damon in 2006 (Damon outscored Crisp, 115-58 and out-OBPed him .358-.317).

Crisp got hurt, then he slumped, then he got hurt some more. Not to mention, we all thought we got rid of the CF that threw like a girl, only to find out we'd got the other one who did (I'll be honest, the revelation that another major league outfielder could have an arm as bad as Damon's was a total shock to me). Meanwhile, Damon, as predicted (short porch in right and all that), hit a career-high in HRs (24) and did all the other good things like get on base, and score, and slp hits just barely over the thirdbasemen's head.

This is a whole different topic but this deal was never about 2006 or 2007. It was about what Johnny Damon will be in 2008 and 2009. when he's playing at ages 34 and 35 (his birthday is in November). And I'd like to point out that Crisp isn't the only mid-to-late-20s centerfielder that struggled in his first year with a new team. In 2001, at the age of 27, Damon had a horrific year in Oakland (.256 BA, .324 OBP) that ultimately led to his acquisition by the Red Sox.

[simmons]My buddy Rick (sorry, no cool nickname) urged calm. "Maybe he was talking about J.D. Drew."[/simmons] That calmed me down for a little while until I found a longer version of the story on ESPN.com where it is clear he is referring to Matsuzaka's new $52 million contract.

I guess what bothers me is this: Damon has always been a good player. Seamheads knew about him in Kansas City where he turned in three solid seasons and two breakout ones that led to his flop in Oakland. But it was Boston, the Red Sox, and the fans, along with his style, skill and quirks, that made him an icon. And now here he is, a day after relief rejoicing spread throughout New England, twisting the knife. Because he can.

So, as you can tell from the title of this post, I'd like it very, very, very much if Mr. Damon would SHUT HIS FREAKIN' CAKE HOLE.

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