The cynic in me says that the Johnny-Manny show, over nine games at Fenway with the very first on April 11, won’t deliver as much ticket revenue as they did last year, since fans saw the return of their former heroes on separate occasions. After all, part of the ticket lottery for the Sox reserved games against the Dodgers, Manny’s first visit in June. But even as I write that, I realize that the appearance of the two is far greater than the value of the pieces in the dramatic puzzle. As readers might know, the cynic in me rarely visits, as I am a more optimistic fan and the values of the game afford endless reward and pleasure, even with defeat’s agony.
The images of Manny & Johnny in other uniforms will always be like Hank Aaron in Brewers’ colors. Perhaps a slight exaggeration and too much imagination at work, but each players memorable moments were played in a Red Sox uniform. This is not merely about possession but more about joys each of them delivered. So perhaps the nine games will pass more fluidly and fans won’t endlessly debate whether to cheer or boo, not to mention unleashing racial slurs towards Manny and his fans. Here’s one for time passing and memories sweetened by it. This may contradict and repeat other entries here, but we all know the buzz around the park on April 11 might be more fitting for Hollywood than the classic park we know as Fenway.
It’s that time again.
Another occasion to decide the moral consequences of the past. Another opportunity to decide (and actually vote) whether a former Sox player ought to receive cheers or boos when he shows his face, still clean-shaven, in Fenway Park.
At the risk of vanity and sounding like it’s a Thomas’ Trolley-centric universe, I quote from this blog:
“What is important, too, is how one returns. Professor Cafardo at the
Globe has mentioned some important pieces of the whole ritual
yesterday.Manny ignoring people he has known for years and deciding not
to speak to the press all weekend is objectionable. More importantly,
as a fan, I think he could have waved or tipped his hat. He could have
learned something from the way The Johnny Demon so graciously bowed and
tipped his hat before he stepped into the box to almost everyone on the
field, including the ball girls.”
After much thought again about the Johnny Demon issue, I am going to vote in favor of the way I might react at the game, in the seats, not watching the game on television. When I saw Damon play during spring training against the Phillies, the fans booed him heartily. One fan behind me said, “Aw come on, give the guy a break.” There was reason to boo him. He helped defeat the Phils in a crucial series turning victory.
Again, I quote from this blog:
“Then I wondered how feasible it was to keep Damon away from the Yankees. What’s difference between having a 36-year old Cameron and holding onto a Damon, one Globe reader asked. Good question. The Tigers often talk about what a difference he makes in the clubhouse.”
Damon made a difference in a Red Sox uniform, on the field and in the clubhouse. You know the plays.Now, he looks better, much better, in a Detroit uniform.
Let’s celebrate the past, in the best forgiving way possible. It was business and business in baseball can break the heart. But so can a misjudged fly ball or an 86-year spell.
I am going with the 77% of voters and with my would be plans if I were standing in bleachers. Thanks for the memories Johnny.
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.