Does a bad break-up ever have a happy ending?
After being the poster boy for the Red Sox 2004 “Idiots,” current Detroit Tiger OF Johnny Damon could of gone back to the scene of the crime. Damon instead used it as an opportunity to give a subliminal middle finger to the Red Sox organization.
The Red Sox claimed Damon off the waiver wire in hopes of bolstering a stale lineup down the stretch. While his career average is down 14 points (.272), he still has provided the veteran leadership needed for a young team like the Tigers.
The Red Sox don’t necessarily need his leadership. But the experience of a two-time World Series champ is quite invaluable. Damon knows how to win, he isn’t intimidated by the six-game deficit with five weeks to go scenario the Sox currently find themselves in.
The waiver wire pickup could have been to block the two AL East teams currently ahead of the Red Sox in their quest for a seventh postseason appearance in the last eight years.
Boston was ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees in the waiver order and both teams (the Rays more than the Yankees) could of had a great deal of curiosity in adding Damon themselves.
Damon famously switched allegiances in the biggest rivalry in sports when he bolted from Boston to the Bronx after the ’05 campaign. The beloved Damon became the archenemy for Boston fans.

The ironic part of the saga is that his ’05 season was statistically the best in his career with his .326 average and 35 doubles. Entering the free agent market, only the Yankees could offer him an eye-popping contract. So like most pro-athletes (and virtually everyone that finds themselves in this situation in their line of work) he jumped to the hated rivals.
He consistently was booed in his return appearances to Fenway as the fans looked at him in the same light as Benedict Arnold. When he returned to Yankee Stadium earlier this year as a member of the Detroit Tigers, he was showered with cheers and respect. Damon (without the beard) led the Yanks to a World Series in ‘09 and New York fans didn’t forget.
The question remains, would Sox fans have booed Damon if he had gone to any team besides the Yankees in ’06? Nobody knows for sure but the bitterness that is in the blood of Boston fans really resonated with Damon.
With all of the Red Sox injury problems, Damon’s .358 on base would have certainly bolster their lineup.
But would Sox fans learn to cheer him ever again? Maybe that’s a question that can never be answered. It does seem as if this had a part in Damon’s final decision. How big a factor is up for debate.
“My teammates are making this decision easier by saying they want me to stay,” Damon told reporters Monday. “My gut and everything else tells me Detroit’s the place for me.”
The 63-63 record of the Tigers defines mediocrity. Yet the Tigers are not a lost ship. They have been decimated by injuries and have a plethora of young, talented players on the roster. So don’t discount the patience of Damon as well. MLB should be cautious of the ’11 Tigers, Damon may just be looking ahead.           

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