They&#39re piling in the back seat

Casey Kelly in January.  Photo by Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Casey Kelly at McCoy Stadium in January. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Watched most of the Mets/Braves game on the MLB Network yesterday and for a couple of hours it was easy to pretend that real baseball was back.  It was fun to watch the teams play and to hear broadcasters discussing lineups and such but at the end of it you really knew it was just a Spring Training game that serves no other purpose than to get the players back in playing shape.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  I love catching glimpses of this stuff because it’s been a terribly long off-season (well, at least it feels that way) and I just want meaningful baseball to be back.  It’s a good…the best diversion for me and it can’t get here soon enough.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch the random Spring Training game on MLBN (Pirates v Yankees today at 1:00pm)…but today we get better than a random national game.  Today the Sox play two – their annual games against the college kids.  At 1:05pm, Casey Kelly will be pitching against Northeastern University and you can check that game out on and at 6:05pm Boof Bonser goes up against Boston College on NESN.  Baseball on NESN at 6:05….I’ll take it for now!

For your amusement today, check out Nick Cafardo’s article about Johnny Damon.  You know how I loathe to link to most of the writers over there but I really did get a few chuckles out of Cafardo’s story.  Now, I don’t “hate” Damon.  I think he followed the money and then pretended that he went to New York because Boston didn’t want him enough.  THEN he spent his years in New York talking about how he was with the team he always wanted to be with and winning a championship with them is what he always wanted to do.  Now that they have no use for him and he’s digging in with the Tigers, he tells Nick Cafardo that leaving Boston was more difficult than leaving New York and that he hopes there are no hard feelings with Red Sox fans.

Listen, I get the money thing.  I do.  I don’t always like it but it’s ridiculous to think every player in ball will take hometown discounts when the owners aren’t willing to make similar concessions.  What I don’t get.  What I will NEVER get and what will always bother me about Damon is he pretended that he was loyal to the Boston fans.  This doesn’t mean never leaving the team but what it does mean is keeping your yap shut.  He talked a fair amount of trash about the team while he was with the Yanks (and by the team I mean the ownership and in regard to how things were run, not specific players) and, ultimately, his big no-no, which everyone knows and some can even name the date he said it, was promising the fans that, regardless of what happened, he wouldn’t go to the Yankees.  He never said he wouldn’t leave.  Here’s what he said, in May of 2005, and why I’ll never root for the man again.

“There’s no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they are going to come after me hard. It’s definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It’s not what I need.”

And here’s what he said in December of that same year when the Sox offered him $40 million to stay and the Yankees offered him $52 million.

”It was a very tough decision, but New York came after me aggressively and that’s what sealed the deal,” Damon told Channel 4 last night. ”They showed they really wanted me. I tried with Boston, waiting for them to step up, but unfortunately they didn’t and now I’m headed to New York.

So in May he knew they’d come after him “hard” and it didn’t matter because there was “no way” he could play for the Yankees. But in December, the Yankees coming after him “aggressively” is what “sealed the deal”. So there you have it, Johnny. YOU are the reason the Sox fans who “turned” on you did when you went to New York.  And YOU are the reason that many of those same fans will never be a fan of  yours again.  I’m sure many will say “well, he’s not a Yankee any more, all is forgiven”.  Not me.  I thought I would be but Cafardo’s article (and my recalling these quotes) really, as Johnny said, seals the deal.  Have a nice life, Johnny.  Just stop trying to get back into the good graces of the Red Sox fans.  I don’t want you getting your hypocritical stank on my Nation.

Try to watch some baseball today, folks.  It will feel so good, so good, so good.

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