Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Damon: Club house Saviour or Cancer?

On my drive home last night some EEI guy pointed out that Johnny Damon, after joining the sox, became a catalyst in the clubhouse for bringing people together. I don't disagree with this statement at all. I think the "idiots" had several leaders and Millar and Damon were among the more obvious ones. Naturally, I began to think about what life is going to be like in the Yankee club house for dear old Johnny. My guess is that bragadicio and general egoism that's prevelant on the Yankees might get to Johnny. I doubt he'll actually become a "cancer" so to speak, but it will be interesting to see if it affects his game.


  1. One thing we do know about the Yankee clubhouse....it's QUIET. No boomboxes, no joviality, no laughter. Does anyone remember laughter? I couldn't resist that last line. Think Led Zep.

  2. Damon on the Yanks vs. Sox:

    "I remember my first day with the Red Sox and I could not believe how boring the team was, how boring the clubhouse was and how miserable everybody was,” said Damon. “I like to think that I helped change how fans looked at the team, how the media looked at the team and how the team got together and it was different. How the players stopped being afraid of failing, which I think was why we were able to accomplish something that hadn’t been done in a very long time. Now I want to bring that attitude to New York. You must win and you must have confidence, because if you don’t have that in this city it will definitely eat you up."

    i.e., the Yankees' attitudes suck right now (they're insecure, lack confidence, etc.), but I'll change that.

  3. Damon played hard every game, there is no doubt about that. However, and I will dig some stuff up, he said many dumb things that, if I recall correctly, weren't exactly team oriented.

    He may have been part of the "looseness" in the clubhouse, but I don't know if I ever heard him described by any Sox player as a leader.

    He had long hair, a shaggy beard, and was "an idiot"...Heck, he was the personification of the "idiots"...But I attribute that to Millar mostly.

    I would say what made them win the WS was the pitching staff. Is Schilling business or an "idiot"? Pedro...? Foulke? Timlin?

    Yes, the idiot mentality was entertaining throughout the season. But they only won it all when they got serious.

    Damon was a part of that. However, was he a clubhouse leader? Hard to say. We weren't in there, that's for sure.

    But I can't say that I remember Damon putting the team on his back and saying, "Come on guys, I'll take you there!" I do remember Papi's heroics, the entire pitching staff (highlighted by Schilling's ankle) igniting after the crushing in Game 3 by the Yanks. I don't remember Damon except for Game 7...

    But, the guy did play hard. I am not degrading him...I just never looked at him as the leader type.

  4. Actually there was quite a bit of chatter about Damon's "leadership" skills after he signed. It was kind of subtle leadership and one could argue that some (all?) of it was self serving - but the quotes were generally focused on how Johnny was always willing to step up for the cameras/media and offer his frank assessment of what happened.

    Thinking back, it is pretty true - especially the last few years. He was always the guy giving the quotes, on the postgame, on sports desk clips.

    This takes some pressure off your teammates even if it is self serving. Guys like Maz/Snow/even CHB need to fill their notebooks and Damon always was a willing participant. And in doing so, maybe one day a week they left Manny or Nixon or Bellhorn alone.

    Guys who were in that clubhouse were saying it - so I'm not going to discount it.

    Now how that translates into NY along with the expectation that anything short of a WS championship is a failure - that remains to be seen.

  5. Well, now we're getting into different definitions of "leadership". GR's talking about Tek-type leaders, X is talking about Millar-type leaders. The two are very different.

    Hey, speaking of Sox spokesmen: remember when Dante Bichette was the main media guy? That was, uh, awesome. I guess.

  6. I liked how Dante threw the bat away when he knew he launched a HR.

  7. And sometimes even when it wasn't a HR. I remember he doing that cool bat flip/arm cross thingy once at Fenway and then the ball hit off the moster in left center. A nice 400 foot single. Oops.

    I guess there are two kinds of leadership - although Damon playing every day even while hurt does show some of the other type as well.

    On a slightly related note, last night on XM they were talking about favorite catchers and it was funny how many callers used the word leader to describe the catcher even for guys like Greg Olsen and Jim Sundberg. Now of course the catcher has the unique advantage of being involved in almost all the action, but is it overblown that the catcher is natural leader?

    I don't have a strong opinion since I have only been thinking about it for about 20 hours. But let me just throw something out there - prior to say July 1, 2004 was it widely considered that Nomar was the leader of the Sox? Has the notion of Tek as the leader ALWAYS been this accepted?

    Other prominent catchers that get the leader label - Matheny, Kendall, Lieberthal but there are quite a few NOs Piazza, Posada
    Pierzynski (MAYBE, but probably no), Pudge, NO. Hey wait - a lot of P's.

    Like I said, I don't have an opinion one way or another.

    And completely unrelated. How many players would you guess in the history of MLB played in ONE (AND ONLY ONE) game.

  8. I never thought of Nomar as a team leader. The veterans -- Valentin and Stanley are two examples -- were the ones who always stood out in my mind.

    As for the just-one-game people -- I'm going to say: a lot. Six, seven million, at least.

  9. Valentin probably not as much as Stanley. When Johnny V was around, it was definitely Mo's team.

    Its hard for me to look back objectively on the Nomar era. In 2002, there may have been no leader (which of course was part of the reason they faded down the stretch). In 2003, the new guys (Millar, Ortiz, Meuller) were starting to be felt, but I'm not sure it was obvious yet.

  10. God damn, I hated Dante Bichette.

  11. My friend Kara and I nicknamed him "Dante, the Bitch."