Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Johnny/Bad Johnny

Receiving a pack of 2004 Red Sox through the mail yesterday really brought me back to a place and time that I have not thought about for quite some time. It used to be my own tradition to watch the 2004 World Series video the night before the season opener. The season opener is then spent throwing on the jersey, and eating brats, potato salad and beans. The evening after the opener is spent regretting eating too many of those brats and beans.

The point is, as a fan of all sports (main ones anyways) when the Red Sox won the World Series that changed EVERYTHING for me. I have never had a winning team in any sport. The Seahawks had one shot at it, the Trailblazers had a few chances, and the Red Sox were traditionally cursed.

Now I don't need to go into the story of how it happened, it is well documented, including a movie about it, and becoming only the 3rd team in sports history to come back from down 3-0 in a series. You all know the rest, or at least SHOULD know the rest.

Anyways, after going bananas and purchasing all of the newspapers, sports illustrated and commemorative dvd, plus leaving little boxes of Boston Baked Beans for all of my coworkers, I settled into a nice winter break, having had a content ending for the first time in my life.

I made a decision that year...I knew that in an off-season after a championship, your players are in demand, and teams want them....or if they are free agents, then it is going to cost that much more to keep them. So I decided that no matter where my team was going to end up in the future I would always give them a free pass for what they did for Red Sox nation.

And leave they did. Mueller and Lowe to LA, Orlando Cabrera to the Angels, Kevin Millar (and his crazy handshakes) to Baltimore, Pedro to the Mets....so on and so forth. All those guys get passes.

And then come Johnny Damon. Without a doubt one of my favorite of the bunch of idiots (his words). a major factor in that World Series win (especially game 7 of the ALCS). All winter long we assumed that Johnny would re-sign with the Red Sox. He was saying all of the right things, and it seemed more like a formality than anything else. Until that dreaded day...


Now don't get me wrong, many Redsox have become Yankees, including others from this group like Alan Embree, he gets a pass also. But Johnny Damon was a tough pill to swallow and still is, although seeing his team suffer annually and his throwin arm be a liability make it easier. Many theories still abound as to WHY he signed with the evil empire...my personal take is that his wife decided for him. SO, does Johnny Damon get a pass?

Yes* he does. But it is not easy to say so. I will give Damon a bit of credit. When he came back to Fenway Park for the first time after signing away, he stepped to the plate to massive boos, and with a touch of class, stepped back from the plate, raised his helmet to the fans, and saluted them...gave me goosebumps. Immediately 2/3rds of the crowd began to cheer, the other 1/3 will always be bitter. I thought it was a perfect ending to a great run. Now he just gets booed all the time :)

So the point of this blog is that I have a particular talent for pulling Yankee cards in packs. It disgusts me but makes for great trade material. I recently purchased a pack of O Pee Chee (for like double the price of you other guys...where the hell do you shop at anyways?) and pulled this card

This is not the Johnny Damon I care to remember. This is Corporate Johnny, I am looking for more of
Well okay, not quite, but definitely more of

So here is my proposal: I am officially opening the Johnny Damon Wing of my collection, but I am looking for the Caveman, the guy that smashes into walls (and other players), the guy that shaves his beard not for a paycheck, but for charity, the guy who rocked a porn stache just for the heck of it one game.
If you are on the other side of the fence and Corporate Johnny is your guy, I propose we do a nice, easy exchange. I believe that I have several other Damon's in my yankee section and would gladly trade them to you for an earlier model.
Let me know if you are interested. Operators are standing by.


  1. Ha, that's hilarious. Since I tend to open packs that are a few years old (because I still like them, and now they're cheaper!), I have no doubt that I'll come across some caveman Damon cards. I'll make sure to set 'em aside!

  2. Cool. I like the ones you sent me too, but those are pre-caveman Johnny. Right jersey, wrong hair!