Dougie gets his due

In Red Sox-Yankees, Chapter 1 of 19, I thought we saw both the best and worst of Red Sox fans.

The best was the electric way the crowd reacted to the return of Doug Mirabelli, who traveled 3,000 miles after being traded back to Boston earlier in the day and literally arrived at Fenway just minutes before the first pitch.

One of the great things about Red Sox fans is that they appreciate the intracies of the game. For example, what a special art it is to be able to catch Tim Wakefield and how well Mirabelli has done it for the last four years. Mirabelli a blue collar player that fans can identify with and he was given a hero’s welcome. I thought that was great.

Not so great were all the boos that came Johnny Damon’s way. This guy gave it everything he had during the four years he was under contract for Boston. He was a free agent at the end of those four years, which gave him the freedom to go to another team. The Yankees blew him out of the water with their offer. The Red Sox had obvioulsy made up their mind that they weren’t coming off their price. Why can’t fans just recognize that the Sox now have a solid center fielder for the future in Coco Crisp and that Damon did what a lot of the same folks who were booing him would have done in their line of work — take a far more substantial offer to go elsewhere.

Theo Epstein seems at peace with the way everything went down. Damon is at peace with it. His former teammates on the Red Sox are at peace with it. I just don’t understand why Sox fans can’t be at peace with it.

I suppose, in a way, the reason they were so harsh to Damon is becasue they so cherished him in the first place, and were therefore that hurt when he decided to go elsewhere. But if the Red Sox had gotten into a bidding war with the Yankees and still lost, then I could fully understand the anger of the fans. But instead, they didn’t match the offer, basically feeling confident that they could get a similar (and younger and cheaper) player in Crisp.

It’s time to move on. Now, of course, Damon is a Yankee, a full-fledged Yankee at that. So booing him is fair game. But i just thought it was a little too hostile tonight.

Now, on to bigger and better things tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what Beckett does in his first matchup with the Yankees since he pitched a gem against them in Game 6 of the 2003 World Series. It should be fun.

Later,

Ian.

32 Comments

I still have mixed feelings about Damon – and that’s exactly the point. Yes, he’s a Red Sox hero. Yes, his legacy will live on forever. And that’s exactly why I think he should’ve kept his mouth shut.
First off, he lied. He said he wouldn’t EVER go to the Yankees, even though he knew they were gonna offer more – he said money wasn’t an issue. A few months later, he signed with them and kept babbling on about how the Red Sox disrespected him. Now, I know there was a significant difference between the two offers, but 4 yrs/40mill is not disrespecting anyone in my book, unless your name is Albert Pujols or David Ortiz. And it definitely isn’t disrespectful to a 31-year old center fielder with a dead arm who has been running into walls the last few years. ESPECIALLY when you can get someone like Crisp who’s a lot youngeer and has similar stats. ESPECIALLY when the highest bidder is the team which notoriously offers ridiculous amounts of money to get the next big free agent.

And yet, it’s so **** hard to make up your mind. I wasn’t at Fenway last night – 4100 miles from it, actually – but had I been there, I would probably have kept silent. He didn’t deserve to be booed (during his first AB; he’s “just a yankee” after that) but I’m not sure he deserved a standing ovation. Had he come back as a Met, Blue Jay or Athletic, I wouldn’t’ve had any doubts. Had he kept his mouth shut, I would’ve gotten over the Yankees thing. But the combination of the two things is probably what makes it so hard for me to like him now.

Ian, you seem like a nice guy, but obviously you don’t get it.

I agree with you 100%, Ian. The embrace of Mirabelli’s return was invigorating, yet the demonizing of Damon was disappointing. I was *hoping* the fans would show some decorum.

You reap what you soe, Ian. Johnny will never get the love & respect that he earned in his tragically short career in Boston. We know it, he knows it, and anyone that has seen him play over the years knows it.

Looking forward to seeing Beckett tonight. I have tix for the game….hope the weather cooperates!

An BTW Cyn, Ian does get it. That’s why he has the job that he does, and we don’t.

How about the way Dougie arrived at Fenway?? Private jet, police escort (changing in the back of a police car) and getting to the park from logan in appx 12 minutes???? From what I hear, the traffic should move that well everyday in Boston!! Anyway, I thought it was a GREAT way to start off the year against the yankees. I hope Beckett has a better outing tonight than he did in his last start, hopefully that was just a fluke. I live in Fort Lauderdale so I’m never able to be “at”the games but I still cherish our sox. Let’s all just move on and forget about Johnny Damon. It’s like a great love affair; “Gee honey, we had some great times, it was great while it lasted, but now it’s over.” The future is what we have in Coco Crisp, so let’s look forward to him getting back and starting a new era for the Red Sox.

Sigh.

I’ll try one last time.

It’s not that Damon left. It’s not even that he went to the Yankees. It’s the WAY HE LEFT.

Not just that he loves the Yankees. OK, fine. Does he have to tell us that 30 times? Does he have to tell us that he couldn’t get along on freakin’ $40 million? Does he have to tell us that David and Manny should come to New York too, because they obviously are unhappy in Boston? After a while, the average Red Sox fan is going to say ENOUGH ALREADY!

And that’s why the fans (most of them) booed.

I don’t see how that is so difficult to understand.

Some of us, in our respective careers, might make that decision. To move to another company for a 24% raise. How many of us would though, if our company was like a family to us? If we’d accomplished something historic together? If they’d stood by us through good and through bad? If we were happy and comfortable there? What if the company trying to lure you away was your fiercest rival? What if they were offering a price tag that your company could quite simply not afford, with all they’re trying to accomplish in other areas, and planning for the long term?

I honestly believe that if any of us applies those conditions to a decision in our careers, most all of us would stay where we are. Johnny didn’t. And this isn’t like a desk job – this is baseball. The players and the fans have to love the game, have to love their team. I would never watch baseball again if I started to look at each player on my team as a temp/mercenary player. I want the Red Sox players to WANT to be Red Sox players. I want the Yankees players to WANT to be Yankees players, too. I want people to be upset if they’re in a trade. I’m looking for some loyalty. I’m looking for some pre-free agency team spirit. I’m looking for the good ol’ days. Johnny’s just lookin for a paycheck.

I don’t feel bad that he got rejected by Fenway. Those people are just trying to hold on to some of that TEAM SPIRIT and HEART. As silly as it may sound, Damon’s defection to the Yankees hurt people. He meant a lot to us. Let the crowd get it all out.

It was amazing and awesome to see Mirabelli back where he belongs and not a minute too late. Damon showed some class and tipped his hat to his former teammates and many fans showed some class and gave Damon a hand. (It was pretty funny how some folks in centerfield tossed money onto the field. Clever!) It was also sad to see Mike Myers in pinstripes, but at least we’ve got a great bullpen going on.
A great game and super win. I, unfortunately, live in Yankeeland, so had to listen to the whiny YES network announcers do the game, instead of Rem Dawg. So, fellow Red Sox Nation members, be very thankful for NESN!

ctzmom, the MLB.TV is kind of glitchy, and would have kept you from watching due to blackout restrictions if you’re in Yankees territory, but the Gameday Audio is REALLY sweet if you have high-speed internet. You can stream the WEEI feed from Boston.

Jinx, I don’t think “getting it” has anything to do with getting a job (most of the time, anyway). I think getting your dream job is to do with hard work and passion and sticking to it. I’m not saying Ian does or doesn’t get it; I wouldn’t presume to know.

Me, I thought the manner in which he KEPT ON BLABBING about “disrespect” on a perfectly reasonable (more than, I’d say) offer from the Sox was silly. Fine, you took the money Johnny. Just say it. Silence would have been his due, says I. I’ll clap for you when you retire, Johnny. Besides, he’s a Yankee and had lots of chances last year to be cheered. The heck with him.

I was in class last night but tried to catch Gameday during the break and quickly after class before I headed home.

After class, I logged on to see Mirabelli’s name on the field and I was sure it was a mistake. I had just watched him play for the Padres Saturday night on mlb.tv. Anyway, I had to check the website to see and when I realized that the Sox had reaquired Mirabelli, I was so excited. One of the other grad students in my program is a Red Sox fan (he’s from Arizona…go figure) and I actually interrupted an argument he was having with the professor to tell him. Then I felt stupid….my prof just looked at me like I was an idiot (even though she’s from Hingham and should know better).

Anyway, my internet is down at my apartment and I couldn’t watch the game when I got back but I kept my mom on the phone so she could tell me what was going on.

Just had to share.

Dang! Bronson Arroyo is on fire.

I was lucky to get into Fenway last night. It was unforgettable.

* Thinking that all of the Mirabelli hype was just that when Varitek went out to the bullpen to warm up with Wakefield.

* Then having Dougie announced in teh starting lineup instead of Varitek. Crowd goes nuts.

* Listening to the whole stadium chanting YANKEES **** (and worse) at the top of their lungs.

* 3-run homer by Papi off of Mike Myers.

* Paps shuts down A-Rod on strikes and retires the side. Entrance song was, again, “Let the Bodies Hit The Floor.”

Must amusing thing I heard was Schilling’s comment this morning that Mirabelli caught the first inning without a cup (forgot to put it on in the police car). Talk about flying without a net!

Dispassionate adults can say they’re just grateful that JD performed the way he did here for four years. But an awful lot of teen-age girls and sub-teen boys were really invested in JD as the symbol of the franchise and as a heart-throb or rock-star. Most of their Red Sox memories revolve around the 2004 team and JD especially.
They can’t easily give up the Johnny they loved. Most of those kids have parents, and some of us who can forgive him in our rational moments resent his departure when we see how it affected our kids.

I cheered him last night, but I felt a little guilty knowing how bad two of my girls felt about him leaving.

i cant wait until manny’s contract runs out and he joins damon in new york i bet u idiot boston fans well really have something to boo about then

FYI – Manny hates the media. It’s his most consistent gripe about Boston.

Nice of Cashman to try and run interference. I guess all those years of eating at George’s table have rubbed off. What a slimey snake b*st*rd he is.

Wanna sign him for a few years after he turns 37, nettles? Good plan. I guess you’ll just have to hope he’s the next Julio Franco.

(Manny’s my favorite player on the Sox, but even I’m not *that* biased…we’ll see if he shows any signs of decline in the next couple years–besides his well-documented disappearing act against lefties. Actually, I’d be surprised if he isn’t traded at some point before his contract is up.)

It seems as though a lot of people who are booing Johnny are trying to convince themselves that it’s for any other reason than him going to the Yankees. Yes, it hurts, I know. BUT, ask yourself this honest question: are you booing him if he rolls into town during an inter-league game wearing a New York Mets jersey? I would bet a lot of money that Pedro (who tried to get Manny to the Mets and took his shots at Boston after he left) gets a huge standing O.

Moreover, the fans have a lot of talk about loyalty from players. You’re right, this isn’t a desk job and it’s not like moving from $35k a year to $70k for a life altering financial upgrade. However, loyalty is not a one-way street. How many of you booed Millar and Bellhorn (two guys who loved it here and played no small role in bringing a championship to Boston). Bronson was loyal and look where it got him? Fans here are so fickle and allow the media to feed this so save the whole loyalty argument.

Finally, is Damon any different than before? He was always an attention monger, lapping up applause and recognition from the fans. Why can’t you all just admit that it’s like having your girlfriend leave you for your arch-nemesis who just happens to be better good-looking and richer than you and hear her say that she’s never been happier?

Johnny should be honest that he left for the money and we should be honest that it’s because he left for the Yankees.

I have to agree with Ian. I was disappointed that the majority of fans didn’t stand and cheer Johnny for his first at bat. He was a great Sox player and did us proud. The fact that he went with the Yankees is a stinger, but that’s life. It just makes the rivalry that more interesting and intense.

A friend told me she had given up on baseball since Johnny’s defection to the Yankees. She went on to describe how handsome, gritty, and talented he was and his leaving represented everything disgusting about sports. When it became apparent she was talking like a jilted and bitter lover, she admitted it felt just like that.

We’ve gained great players and lost them to free agency. That’s just the nature of the beast. Sox fans should be thankful that management has the resources to compete with most teams — even the Yankees — when it comes to attracting and offering high salaries and incentives to elite players. We shouldn’t moan too loudly for the occasional one that gets away — and the Yankees are of course one of the few teams who can often match and outbid us. So sure it was likely to be the Yankees and not say the Twins who were situated to take Johnny away from us.

Apparently, as demonstrated the other night, many fans quickly turned their backs on him, so why should he have felt obliged to be loyal to them — particularly when offered considerably more money. Knowing the fickle nature of Sox fans, I guarantee that if he had signed for $40 million with the Sox and slumped at the plate, those same fans would be booing him even if he was in a Sox uniform.

From Johnny’s perspective, I’m sure the offer put out by the Sox seemed like they placed little value on his contributions and he must have felt stung by that. If, as they said, it was truly a priority to re-sign him I don’t think the Yankees would have ever been in a position to make the offer they did.

That said I like the acquistion of Coco and am confident he’ll be a success in Boston. He may even eventually out-Damon Johnny in popularity. In the meantime I wish Mr. Damon good health, fortune, fame, endorsements, and a below mediocre season.

By the way, great to have Mirabelli back. I was surprised and disappointed when they let him go in the first place. I guess they recognized their boo-boo.

Another thing: Didn’t Damon do the same thing to the Oakland A’s when he came to us? I can’t attest to how loved he was in Oakland and I know that the support we gave him isn’t exactly comparable to what he received in Oakland, but how is it that we don’t have a problem when a player joins us through an act of “disloyalty” but admonish him when he does the same thing to us? If it weren’t for disloyal acts and players going after the almighty dollar, we wouldn’t be the perennial power that we always are, stealing free agents away from their previous loyal fan bases.

One final thought: if we are handling this whole Damon thing like jilted lovers, how should one respond in such in such a situation? When you run into your ex out with his or her new beau, the obvious inclination is to run up to them and tell them off, but you know that this only gives them that extra satisfaction. The best thing we could’ve done as fans was act totally indifferent offering a warm reception to Belli while not even acknowledging Damon’s prescene.

Ian,

I want you to know that I think you are great and very knowledgable about the game. However, I have to take issue with you on this whole Damon thing.

I appreciate what Johnny did while he was a member of the Red Sox. However, what he did by going to the Yankees is inexcusable. I don’t want to hear all that stuff about how this is a “business”. It’s a game!! If Damon really wanted to stay with BOS as he claimed, he would have taken $40 million. My goodness, if I had $40 million I would roll around in it!!

Somewhere along the line, Johnny forgot that it was a game. The business side took over, and that is just sad. He basically spit in the face of the RS fans who adored him for years. We cheered him all year in 2005 for what he accomplished in 2004. Why should we do it now? He is with the enemy.

Also, I am becoming adgitated with Damon’s remarks. I am getting tired of his alter-ego thinking that he is god’s gift to baseball. He can think what he wants, but the RS did not disrespect him with their offer. I seriously don’t believe that the $12 million difference drastically altered his lifestyle.

As I said, I will always respect Damon for what he did in 2004, but I cannot repect him for going to the hated Yankees all for $12 million that he did not need.

//An BTW Cyn, Ian does get it. That’s why he has the job that he does, and we don’t.//

Actually, it’s exactly the OPPOSITE.

Question…with the rainout last night, will the Sox skip Dinardo in the order and keep Schilling on his 5 days rest??

I got tickets last week for this Friday’s game and I did so with the intention of seeing Schill take the mound, I hope it works out.

Hey Douglas! Thanks for the info on Game Day Audio. I think what I really need to do is move back to New England.

Hey Devinnettles-can’t you find another blog somewhere for people like yourself?

Isn’t it amazing that Cashman admits to trying to get his grubby fingers into all the deals the Red Sox makes? How about trying to win on the field? Wouldn’t that be a novelty?

Too bad about the rain last night. I was looking forward to the return of our old friend, Mo Mentum.

Yeah! What Cyn said. Ian just doesn’t get it! You DON’T cheer for any dude in a Yankee uniform in Fenway–for ANY reason! And, apparently, as Jinx, several of you bloggers don’t get it either. Like Hacaro wonders, so do I:”I don’t see how that is so difficult to understand.” Some of you, as Amygwen and your calls for “class” and “decorum” while admonishing those of us who booed, don’t get it. This is baseball!–not a “what should you do in this situation if…” homework assignment in an Amy Vanderbilt course on table manners. It “ain’t” A sweaty romance novel either, Jlenartz, although informing us about your girl friend’s horny fatal attraction for a rich, famous ballplayer with average looks was getting v-e-r-y interesting. Thanks for sharing that with us! Again, it’s baseball. Bleser, no one denies that the root of the whole hatred for D was that he went to the hated Yankees. Furthermore, Bleser, the reason you “…can’t attest to how loved (Damon) was in Oakland…” (FROM WHOM YOU THINK WE GOT HIM) WAS BECAUSE YOU WERE LOOKING FOR HIS PREVIOUS CLUB IN THE WRONG CITY!). We got him from KANSAS CITY, where he had played for around 4 years. Finally, Jinx, I don’t have Ian’s job because I dont want it…and didn’t apply for it. I have a job. I’m guessing the same might also apply to Cyn. Your insinuation is that the best beat writer for Boston is already in place…and that’s quite an assumption. I don’t think our beat writer should be an apologist for a defector…nor should he be presumptuous enough to assume he is qualified enough to correct our manners. But, Jinx, you, too, are entitled to your opinion. Afterall, as the saying goes: opinions are like as-h-les,…everybody has one, right? (And that, of course, would include the writer.)

Ian, it’s not the fact that he left the Sox, I don’t blame the guy at all. Boston management made it clear that they didn’t want him back, I praise him for leaving. It’s the fact that he went to to THEM. I saw his interview right after he signed, and he admitted that other teams were involved and offered him a 5th and 6th year on the contract. That tells me that it wasn’t strictly the highest offer, he went to the Yankees beacuse he wanted to. He can’t expect to go to New York after winning the World Series with Boston and not get booed. Then again, he is an idiot so maybe he did

A note to daniel_fagan1940:

If you’re going to correct someone for getting their facts wrong, especially in CAPITAL LETTERS, be sure that you in fact have your information correct.

You wrote to Bleser, the reason you “…can’t attest to how loved (Damon) was in Oakland…” (FROM WHOM YOU THINK WE GOT HIM) WAS BECAUSE YOU WERE LOOKING FOR HIS PREVIOUS CLUB IN THE WRONG CITY!). We got him from KANSAS CITY.

Unfortunately, you were wrong. We in fact did get Damon through free agency from Oakland where he played for a year. He was traded there from Kansas City in early 2001 in a multi-player deal.

You’re right that opinions are like as-h-les, but don’t show yourself to be one before looking up the facts.

i agree with jaysattler. if i was offered 40 mil (had already had 30 mil in the bank) an extra 12 mil wouldn’t make much of a difference.

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