Here I go again

So it’s 3am and I’m wide awake thanks to this stupid cold I have (and the fact that I took the non-drowsy cold medicine instead of the one that would knock me out).  PBS is hooking me up, though, because they’re showing the bottom half of The Tenth Inning and I turned it on just as they were going over the 2003 Sox season.  As I type this, they’re finishing up the 2004 World Championship.

It has been said many times and it still stands true:  this will never get old.

Something that struck me while watching the Red Sox celebrating at Yankee Stadium.  They were so emotional.  They weren’t just laughing and smiling but some of them looked just like the fans did.   Tears in their eyes, looks of almost disbelief.  They showed Mike Timlin burying his face in the shoulders of more than one of his teammates and Kevin Millar, of all people, looked just about speechless.  It is so obvious watching this that it means SO much more to them than just winning a game.  I started thinking about how much I love, yes LOVE, that team and then it got me thinking about Johnny Damon.

No one will argue that Johnny wasn’t important to that team.  Sure he was quiet in the ALCS up until game 7, but he was a huge part of the reason the Sox got to the playoffs.  I’ll never deny that.  When he hit that grand slam in game 7, I was one of millions of Red Sox fans screaming with joy at my television.  Not only happy that the Red Sox were putting the hurt on the Yankees but thrilled that Johnny finally broke out of his slump and made his mark on the ALCS.

As I watched the replay of his grand slam on PBS a few moments ago, I blurted out “We didn’t leave you, Johnny, you left us”.  It surprised me because you have to believe that you’re over things like that, right?  Sox won in 2007 without him and he isn’t even a Yankee anymore.  So why do I have these lingering emotions about him?

Sure he lied.  He mapped out what he thought the Yankees would do to get him and said he wouldn’t fall for it…and then the exact scenario he predicted happened and he said THAT was why he went with them.  But at some point you get past that, no?  When I was watching him run those bases during the documentary I remembered something he said in 2009.  Something that, in my opinion, speaks to the fact that he did, indeed, turn his back on us so we just followed suit:

“This is the greatest organization I’ve ever played for.” “Winning a world championship in New York is the most amazing thing I’ve experienced.” “I’ve always been a Yankee.” “No matter what happens in my career, I’ll always have this.”

Damon was on a team that was the first in baseball HISTORY to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win the series and then went on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.  People who aren’t Red Sox fans, hell people who aren’t BASEBALL fans get how important 2004 was.  No matter what happens in his career he’ll always have the Yankees winning their 27th championship?  Listen, I get that he has a hair across his ass because he has actually convinced himself that somehow the Red Sox dissed him in 2005, but he doesn’t just insult the team with the crap he says, he insults the fans.  And he’s done it ever since the night it was announced that he signed with the Yankees.  So I will never cry for poor Johnny and what he’s gone through since he left the Red Sox.  But it surprised me that I had such a visceral reaction to seeing him hit that home run.  I’ve maintained for a while that I consider there to be two Johnny Damons.  The one who looked like Jesus in 2004 and the one who chopped his hair off and turned his back on an adoring fanbase.

But it was the “good” Johnny who hit that grand slam and still I yelled at him.  (Sure I could blame the cold medicine and the fact that I’m wide awake at 3:30am but I don’t think it would be fair.)  It seems to me that it’s time I genuinely admitted to myself that Johnny Damon broke my heart.  Stuck a knife in it and chopped it into a million pieces, actually.  Maybe it’s petty and many fans, Red Sox and non-Red Sox fans alike, will tell me that I’m being spiteful and over-emotional and that I should focus on the good he did for the team.  Those people could be right.  But I’m through apologizing for it.  (But seemingly not through writing about it!)

You all have PBS to thank for yet another of my Johnny Damon rants.  It’s ten minutes to four, maybe I should try and get some sleep?

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