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.


BAGS said...

Auntie and I went to the game last night. If you thought it was brutal on TV, it was ten times worse in person. It started off cordial for a couple of seconds and then spiraled into the chorus of boos. The bleacher and monster fans were brutal throwing dollar bills at him throughout the game. The only thing that kept the crowd in check is that the wind chill made it feel like 20 degrees. Once the warmer weather rolls around I'm guessing 95% of the fans will be hammered compared to the 25% last night, that's when it will really get ugly.

SB said...

KJ you hit the nail on the head. I was all for giving Johnny a hand during his first at bat (from my condo @ The Falls that is). He deserved it. As you said, based alone on his heroics in Game 7, where in years past it was a guarantee for the Sox to choke at that time. Not this time. WWJDD? Hit a grandslam - even earlier enough in the game for us to savor it - and further change the complexion of Red Sox Nation from scared and fragile to fulfilled and confident. But like Uncle Paulie said to Henry Hill after he got pinched ... "Now I gotta turn my back".

james said...

I also agree with Brownguy and Katie. Johnny deserved applause not boos.