Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Johnny Damon Needs To Return Home: Boston Is Where The Heart Is
If you’ve wondered why a former baseball team is calling and begging, why the large-market Red Sox franchise is finally targeting the hitting specialist in a return that seems very valuable and useful in the friendly confines of Boston, it’s because he had been classified as a hero in a place where the enthusiastic fans idolize and worship baseball.
Suddenly, Johnny Damon knows he needs the Red Sox, but he is rebuffing interest where he ripened as a savior in a town that is accustomed to winning and, more than anything, snapping one of the more dreadful curses in recent memory.
Suddenly, the Red Sox need Damon, a bygone caveman who once resembled the Geico creatures from its commercial ads.
But Damon is leaning towards remaining a member of the Detroit Tigers. He has no desire to return to Fenway Park, arguably the friendliest and oldest ballpark in America, a structure that sells out a capacity crowd nearly in every game. It would be a return to the team he called home, the team with the wildest celebration of the last decade. It was a decade when the Red Sox cured lapses of hopelessness and snapped an unpleasant curse.
Damon helped the team’s cause and infatuated a fervid baseball town.
If he can return to his former locale, this is a precept of considerably good fortune, welcomed back to aid his former team in pursuit of a postseason chase. Never mind that he left the town behind for its bitter rival the New York Yankees, abruptly departing a population that adored and empowered him. Never mind that he was viewed as an enemy for representing pinstripes and sadly erasing all the indelible moments of 2004, the historic moment in sports when the Red Sox trailed 3-0, but came back to defeat its nemesis the Yankees in the ALCS.
In the end, however, it didn't matter. The Red Sox had captured their first World Series title in 86 years.
These days, the fans are willing to forgive the past betrayal and welcome Damon back to Beantown with loud cheers and warm receptions. The most recent news is that the Red Sox placed a waiver claim on Damon, the famous savior that once relived the dinosaur age, and caused vital damage in a mesmerizing postseason in the last decade.
It’s telling that he has a no-trade cause that specifically reveals the Red Sox as potential contenders of claiming sole possession of the outfielder. What seems plausible is that Damon, once known as the villainous icon, unfavorably for the heartbreaking departure that angered the Green Monster devotees in Boston, is that he will return in a Red Sox uniform.
All he would need to electrify the crowd sitting in the Monster seats or the coziest ballpark seats is productivity.
What we do know is that Damon’s recent comments on how the Yankees organization and fans treat players respectively is inanely insulting to Red Sox Nation, filled with animosity and disgust.
His penchant for neglecting the Red Sox is surely creating much buzz and drama these days, comfortably abandoning his former club when they are trying to amiably welcome him back.
As confusing as it seems, the Red Sox' strategy is to lure the temperamental outfielder back into the organization where he can elevate his legacy, all while catering to Boston’s postseason surge.
Thus far, Beantown's team is devoid of a World Series title and robust outfielders, and can fittingly add some depth on a depleted roster by snatching Damon from the inferior Detroit Tigers, a team that is under .500 and 10 games out of the AL Central picture. It’s time for everyone to realize that in a depressed town, where the auto industry has taken a drastic plunge, where unemployment rates have increasingly risen, and where the Tigers aren’t close to contending, Damon shouldn’t be hesitant on opting to leave Motown.
The thing is, he represented Boston as the renaissance man for his timely hitting and presence in the outfield and was resilient as a clutch performer in arguably the greatest series in baseball history, an event that epically cemented the beauty of the game. Damon’s accomplishments should have never been overshadowed, subsequently by his uncivil departure, leaving a beloved town in anguish for an archenemy.
Whatever else is on his mind, he’s leery about putting on a Red Sox uniform and distraught by the way he was treated in his return to Boston when the boorish fans serenaded unpleasantly. With all apologies, a large cult would be amped because of his return and once again applaud the savior of a classic rebirth, one that has become indicative of a cultural standpoint that baseball is the realm of all humanity.
He who was once known as Johnny Demon can now be characterized as Johnny Damon, only if he accepts the offer and erases the images of pinstripes by pleasing the citizens of Red Sox Nation.
An American trait is to view sports teams as a brand, with iconic symbols. Damon was such an icon as he refined his style and game, produced wins and fueled the hearts of fans. He benefited the Red Sox with aggressive base running and solid hitting.
The elements that define the culture of Boston baseball are Curt Schillings’ bloody sock and Damon’s fluffy beard and wild hairstyle, a stylish fad at the time.
Those days are gone when Damon was superstitious, and wouldn’t shave off his hair or beard, which resulted in a breakable curse and a title many believe should be asterisked for the recent revelations of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz steroid scandals.
Either way, the Red Sox won it all that year and now are prepared to embrace the return of Damon.
What is obvious, of course, is that Boston is hindered by defensive flaws and uncontrollable injuries. Without the explosiveness of Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox are degenerating in the outfield. Mike Cameron isn’t as effective, but signed with Boston to qualify for an outfielder’s position.
If Damon comes back to home sweet home, it’s a smart move. If he comes back, the Red Sox benefit by adding a veteran bat to solidify the batting order and enhance the productivity of each at-bat. If he comes back, it cures all the outfield woes and installs a sense of belief.
If he mends an awful relationship and comes back by accepting the fans that endeared him, then Damon will be greatly forgiven.