Thursday, December 22, 2005

Damon Fallout

So many things to discuss.

I guess I should start by saying thanks to everyone for giving their opinions.

I wanted to say this anyway, but Andrew brought it up, so I'll use his comments as a basis to address it: (BSM brought this up on his blog, too) About the reaction to this from the fan's point of view versus the business point of view-- I don't think this is some kind of horrible thing for the team. I realize Damon is older now, and like I said in my original post, essentially, the yanks didn't pick up any pitching with this move, and their lineup didn't need any help anyway.

I am pissed off on the emotional side. And when I heard that news, as you could see, I was very emotional. Not much of me even cared to think about the business point of view. All I was thinking was that Johnny Damon had a choice to sign with any team, and he chose the one that I hate more than almost anything in the world. One that won't allow him to do what he wants (hair/beard-wise). One that he knows is hated by the people who really, really loved him as a player and as a person.

When I heard the news, the last thing I thought of was "Oh no, what will we do for center field?" I just thought, "What an asshole."

I don't think there's any good vs. evil stuff going on. But no matter how hard I could have tried, there would've been no way for me avoid becoming emotionally attached to that man, with everything we all went through in 2004.

The last thing anyone wants to hear is another sports vs. girl-/boyfriend comparison. But I think I have one that no one's brought up. Sometimes you fall in love with what a person does, instead of who they are. Did you ever find out that someone liked you, and then all of a sudden you start liking them because of it? And before you know it, you think you're in love with a person who you hadn't even thought twice about before you heard they had interest in you. They didn't suddenly change into a better person. They just did something that was appealing to you. Johnny Damon didn't catch our eye right away. We fell in love with the symbol he became. Turns out he's the type of dude who would turn his back on people showering him with love and admiration and go right to their enemy, without a second thought. So, for me, I'm heartbroken, regardless of stats or payrolls or anything else.

It is weird, though, how people who read mine and Andrew's blog might have thought, "I know, I know, Jere will try to see the bright side in the fact that the Red Sox superstar leadoff man is gone, and Andrew will declare the '06 season dead." (Well, maybe not exactly in this case since Andrew has been predicting the decline of Damon, so let's just say, "casual" readers of our two blogs.) But they got the opposite. Also, Andrew, when you say you want the team to not do things the yanks way, there's another side to that--when the business side is outweighing the fan side, isn't that the yanks way, only in terms of fans as opposed to management? As in, yankee fans would rather get the best possible players even if they were child molesters, whereas we'd rather have guys with personality than robots?

You know what I mean? Why can we simply say "it's a business" when something bad happens, but then celebrate and cry tears of joy and go put flowers on our grandparents' grave when something good happens? Nobody at the World Series victory parade told me to calm down because it's just a business. If you allow me to cry tears of joy when my team wins, shouldn't you allow me to cry tears of pain when my favorite player betrays all of us? It's all in our minds, anyway. I felt like something really wonderful happened when we won the World Series, even though it was actually a bunch of men playing with pieces of wood. And I feel like Johnny Damon pulled my heart out of my chest when he decided to play for our rival, even though he's really just getting his paycheck signed by a different organization and wearing a different uniform to work.

So, to sum up, the "good of the team" Jere isn't pissed, but that side of me is totally buried under my emotional side, which I didn't want to hide in my original post, even though it meant letting yankee fans think they've one-upped us again. (Which that one commenter wrote, saying he didn't think it was that good a deal for the yanks until he saw how pissed I was about it. To that guy, I say, terrible job, any perceived one-upping can never hurt us anywhere near as much as it did pre-2004.)

Other stuff:

Nick: About your comment "And while some of the people here are taking the high road, most are blasting [Damon]. It would be like me trashing Bernie Williams for not accepting arbitration." Do I really need to explain what's so utterly wrong that is? Well, I like 'splainin', so I will: Imagine if Bernie Williams brought your team its first championship in 86 years, beating a team who tormented your team the whole time along the way. And then he chose to just up and play for that other team a year later. Us bashing Johnny for switching sides and a yankee fan bashing Bernie for not accepting arbitration are two totally unrelated things. No comparison.

To everyone who brought up other dudes who do seem to care, nice job. Of course I love Timmy Wakefield and Trot as much as Ortiz. Then again, am I just being fooled? By all of this?

BSM--Why do I get all the yankee spammers? Maybe it's the word "pinstripe" in my blog title. Or maybe it's the way I say the word "yankees" probably more often than most yankee bloggers do. Do those really exist? I never read them. Did they really talk about me on "Bronx Banter?" Tell me what they're saying, because the day I go to a website called "Bronx Banter" is the day Chan learns to fly upside down. (And yes I know Cossette used to talk about that site and it's probably got really great poetic writing about how mystical and aura-fied the yankees are, but I'm just not gonna check into it.)

Pat--I knew you'd be there to back me up on the Steinbrenner dying thing. I'm sure my dad is, too, but I don't know if he's figured out the commenting thing yet.

Offended people--Don't worry, I'm not gonna really bomb any towns over this. And to call me classless and insipid (did somebody say Ssips Orange?), stating your opinion as fact, while not even leaving your name, well, there's a word for that, too. Maybe Mott's Apple.

This is your blog, Jere, so where else would you express yourself. i went through much the same thing that you did, but people express theirselves differently. That's what makes this whole thing great. It all came down to money. And it is true when you-know who said 'Money Can't Buy Me Love."
Talk about fallout. The day my friend's book came out, Gianni Versace was murdered. Now we all felt bad but my friend's book disappeared under the crush of news stories, etc. So now my terrific blogger son, Jere, spends a whole day writing this most provocative review of my new book and then Johnny Damon turns into some kind of whore. (Just heard that his father is really happy because he loves Steinbrenner's hair rules and when Johnny was younger, he used to sneak into his room with scissors and cut off his hair. When you've got a father who's the mother of all control freaks, naturally you're crazy.)
So please jump back after the Damon garbage is passe and read the review!!!
Thanks, everybody.
Jere's mom
Ssips Orange rules America!!!
And Steinbrenner Death Day will be an official work-free holiday for me. You know his greedy son or whoever will gut that organization like a halibut before he's off the autopsy table. Can't wait for that post-death fire sale...
Ssips rules. I remember Brian laughing for like two weeks over that name a few years ago, not realizing that I'd had it every day in elementary school.

Mom, I'm one step ahead of you on this. Your book will get pushed back to the forefront soon. I like how you said I spent "all day" writing that review.
I with you Mom, too. But Jere had some deep feelings on this one, as we all did. See you in town.
Dude, let it go already. You are going Brokeback Mountain for Damon, your man-love for a guy with long ass hair is scary and quite pathetic. Luis Tiant played with the Sux then went and played with the Yanks, did you cry then? Boggs, Clemens, now Damon, you sound like a little girl who was told she couldn't get a little pony. Waaaa, waaaa, waaa. Stop your crying. The Yankees haven't won anything, except stole a few headlines and put a dagger into RSN collective heart. I imagine you are pissed because you can't stroke your member to your Damon poster. Maybe you can giz all over yourself when Schilling finally speaks. That should be coming any minute big f'en pussy.
Dear anonymous person,

Do you have any other works you'd like to share? Maybe some poetry? Do you want to come to my house for tea, and, you know, just to hang out? Would that make you uncomfortable?

Also, there's just something so funny about peopple who call other people name like "pussy," (implying cowardice, terrible job, male-dominated society) but do it anonymously.

The ironing is...
If you had my address would that make me less of a pussy in your eyes? I can give you that information too.
This is going nowhere.
jere, bronx banter is a pretty good website. alex belth writes in it, he contributes to sports illustrated. i saw a commenter link to you as an example of a sox fan reaction. i thought yanks fans don't ever think about the red sox.....
The business side of baseball DEPENDS on the emotional side of baseball. If not for the financial support of the fans, there would be no business. And why do people generally collect their team's merchandise? To sit back and say: wow, look at how I've just financially supported the franchise! It's because they love their team and they've got a particular fondness for a particular player and I see nothing wrong with that. I have no problem growing attached to guys who play their hearts out. Johnny Damon was one of those guys, so yes, I am really disappointed in how things turned out.

Baseball is a business. But that isn't why I'm into it. Art is a business, too, but that isn't why I go to museums. And if the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston shipped "Watson and the Shark" off to the Met in exchange for some crappy painting, I wouldn't shrug my shoulders and think - ah well, it's just a business. I'd be incredibly pissed.
I'm a big BIG Yankee fan, and let me tell you, this is horrible for us. I can't believe we signed Damon, the man who buried us and helped the Sox complete the biggest comeback in pro sports history (not to mention the biggest choke job in the history of sports) in 2004. Wow, that was a tough time for us Yankee fans, up 3-0 and all, and then choking so completely and incredibly at the hands of the Red Sox and the long-haired Damon. Hopefully Cap'n Jetes will keep him in line.
I still can't get over that tremendously gigantic choke job in 2004, and neither can any of my Yankee fan friends, we'll just never let that go...
Jere and WCSG - Yep. The Business and emotional sides of baseball are definitely intertwined. But at the same time, winning is a pretty big emotional tie, isn't it? If the Sox sucked this year, and then Damon went, we'd all be a lot less upset. The vast majority of this reaction isn't that our buddy Johnny is going to the Yanks, it's that people think this makes us worse. I disagree. And given that a lot of my emotional reaction to baseball, and to the Sox over the last few years, is that they're a well-run ballclub that knows when to cut bait and who to sign in order to give the team a chance to win now and win later, I'm thrilled by this. Keeping guys around for emotional power is not a way to run a ballclub. I guarantee you that if the Sox had just held on to the 04 team, or that in some hypothetical future world where we re-sign everyone no matter how old they get or how much money they ask for, fans would start leaving when the team started sucking. For me, this is a case of 'Thanks for your time and your help, Johnny, but you're simply not worth what you're asking for'. I'm really quite pleased to be a fan of an incredibly popular team that has the intelligence to do that, despite the predictable fan reaction.
On paper, we do look worse right now. I don't think it's wise to hold onto stale players, and I agree that it's nice to sit back and be firm and stubborn with these jackass agents, but you'd better have a good alternative in place and right now all they have is Stern. I recognize that Jed is really smart and motivated, and I have enough confidence that he and Larry aren't going to put a team of cheap players with so-called potential and average numbers out on the field and expect us all to embrace it and be psyched over how much money we still have in the bank. That would be ridiculous. I guess I'm just getting impatient and it feels like the clock is ticking. I don't want it to get to a point in the off-season where we just have to "make do." Not with our resources.

On the other hand. I know we are still competitive. I am really excited about Rudy Seanez (2005 ERA: 2.69), Jermaine Van Buren (2005 ERA: 3.00), and John Papelbon (LIGHTS F'N OUT with an ERA of 2.65 last season). Plus we still have Manny and David, bringing in nearly 300 RBIs a year, collectively. And Youk with an OBP of .400. (Hopefully, Beckett won't turn out to be another Pavano.)

Also, you can say that Johnny isn't worth 52 million and you know what? You're totally right. but the crappy truth is 52m is not outrageous for New York and he's going to be a hell of a good player for them next year.

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