02 May 2006
To Boo or not to Boo
That was the big question yesterday and I have to say I was a bit surprised at how vigorously Johnny Damon was booed last night. Usually, the best part about seeing a game at Fenway is the energized, passionate crowd that can make a regular season game in April feel like game 7 of the playoffs. But there are two kinds of fans at Fenway: Those who wear their Big Papi shirts and Red Sox caps and thoses who wear shirts that say things like "A-Rod Swallows" or "Posada is a Little Bitch." Really nice. Last night, the latter hijacked Fenway. Instead of using its energy to cheer for the Red Sox, they used it to hate Damon with an almost fundamentalist zeal.
Since the fans were behaving like Jesus freaks, there was no shortage of religious metaphors floating around. Once the savior of the Red Sox, Johnny "Jesus" Damon became Johnny "Judas" Damon, a Yankee, an infidel, he's A-Rod.
To some, he's worse than A-Rod. When he was here, Damon was not only a devoted player but one of the team's most fervent fans. He made you believe he was the kind of person who followed his heart, not the money. But here, as in any business, allegiance is transient. To believe that money is secondary to most of these guys is to believe that David Ortiz is really a Dominican sorceror who lives inside the Green Monster.
(photo: I live there with my chickens and my mango salsa)
But last night, there was incessant booing and a "Johnny Sucks" chant. People held up signs: "WWJDD? Betray?" and "You really are an idiot, Johnny." And then I saw a sign that really summed it up: "Anywhere but there, Johnny." If he'd left to play for the Devil Rays, he would have likely received his props. But he joined the Evil Empire. He sold out and souled out -- I get that.
Still, when I think of Johnny Damon, I think of game 7 of the ACLS in 2004. He was the self-proclaimed "idiot" responsible for the Sox beating the Yankees that day; a day that helped deliver them to their eventual World Series win. In my book, that game alone made him worthy of better treatment here. He should have gotten one minute of acknowledgement for the past and then be set free to forever suck like only the Yankees can. Bottom line: He's an idiot, not the antichrist.