May 2006

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.