It is a lot easier seeing Johnny Damon in a Tigers’ uniform. Baseball celebrates the past, by its very nature, but then I find myself wondering what might have been Last night during the game, while the Detroit announcers(Long Live the beautiful voice of Ernie Harwell) were recalling the days of Ortiz-Manny and commenting on how much more difficult it was then to pitch to Papi, I started wondering what would have happened had we kept Manny, despite everything, Unrealistic perhaps.Then I wondered how feasible it was to keep Damon away from the Yankees. What’s the difference in having a Mike Cameron than keeping a 36 year-old Damon, one Globe reader asked. Good question. The Tigers talk about how important he is in the clubhouse. Maybe Manny’s antics were more of a disturbance to the team after Damon left. I can’t pretend to know these things but I often wonder.
I recently mentioned Roger Angell’s amazing essay on the home run, “Homeric Tales,” and last night’s game was a great addition to the Tales of Papi. Two blasts, or as he called them, “lasers.” Nick Cafardo writes about the quicker, shorter swing employed by Papi. It is magnificent to watch. Then there was Bill Hall’s shot.The pinch-hit homer is gratifying in a unique way. (As a side note, did anyone see the behind the plate camera view in replays? Why doesn’t MLBtv use that more often?) Angell writes about the most famous pinch-hit home run in baseball history. (You know what it is.)
What is your favorite Red Sox home run?? My choice, for now, is Johnny Damon’s grand slam in Game 7 of the ALCS. That’s when I knew we changed baseball history.