Sign Johnny Damon, apparently. I’ve said it a thousand times. I root for the laundry. Johnny Damon puts on pinstripes and tries to help my team win, I’m cool with him. It’s that simple. I got a call from Ruddy yesterday. I haven’t called him back yet, because I’m a bad guy (I’ll get there, Rud). He was having a tough time with the whole thing. I don’t blame him. It’s not easy. Not only has Johnny Damon been the face of the Red Sox the last few years, but he personified perfectly their jack*ss attitude. It seemed like each year they groped for some sort of theme that would make them different from the eighty years of failure that preceded them. “Cowboy up”, “the idiots”, whatever. The idiots thing was particularly ridiculous, but it happened to be in place just as they rode one of the more brilliant waves of fortune since the red sea parted in the nick of time. So that’s the one that will get credit for breaking the curse (they might also want to throw a little credit at Big Papi’s chemist).
All of this said, he’s a Yankee now. So I root for him. I never liked Danny Tartabull. I never liked A-Rod or Joe Torre. I hated Daryl Strawberry. Until they put on the pinstripes. Now I’m on board. Apologizing to no one. What can I tell you, boys? Let’s go Johnny.
Here’s how this is going to go. He’s going to show up in NY and genuinely try to do his best. Maybe a bit too hard. He’s going to get booed. It’s going to freak him out. He’s going to say the right things, but he’s going to struggle with it. He’s going to be boys with Giambi. Giambino’s going to try to help him through it, but it’s going to be rocky for a while. Giambi’s going to be psyched to have a buddy, though. About a third of the way through the season, Torre’s going to start mixing Jeter back into the leadoff spot, because he can’t ever get away from it. That will be a true measure of success for Damon. If he can keep himself firmly entrenched in the leadoff spot all year, he will be having a solid year. And if he has a solid year, this team could be fascinating.
Kyle Farnsworth and Dotel should be good additions to the bullpen. They both throw smoke, and Dotel should bring a lot of tricks in his bag, particularly when he knows he has Mo to bail him out should anything get weird. The question marks still reside in the rotation. If Randall can come back with a consistent year, and Pavano or Wright wake up, and Sean’s boy (Moose) stays status quo, they’ll be okay. I think Chacon’s going to be strong. I think Wang can rack up 15 wins. And then of course, there’s the chance that this offense is so destructive that they shred everybody because absolutely no one can score runs with them. A guy can dream, right?
The big boy is in the process of securing the seats in section 24 for yet another year, and we expect to be ready to hit it when opening day arrives. Mikey Dantone was over the other night staring at my twelve foot (okay – 11 feet, ten inches) Christmas tree, and he was telling me that he’s all set with his tickets in the upper tier over first base.
It looks like another big year of Yankee baseball brewing in the Bron-x. The Red Sox have deteriorated, the AL East has raided the Marlin’s young arms, and Leo Mazzone is at the helm of the staff in Balt. Should be interesting, but I think the Yanks are the clear favorites.
Even Grossman’s Mets have plugged a lot of holes. There’s a lot of baseball talent in this town these days. It’s going to be a fun summer.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s Christmas time in new yor-k city. There’s snow (a little bit still) on the ground and lights all around. We’ve still got a lot of winter to trudge through before spring throws off its blanket of snow and turns its weary eyes to the national pastime. And when it does I’ll be ready. But until then – Merry Christmas (Grossman – Happy Hanukkah).