Johnny Damon was a larger than life figure in Boston after the Red Sox won their first World Series in 2004 after an 86-year drought.

On Tuesday, Damon declined an opportunity to return to Boston after the team claimed him on waivers from Detroit.

The Red Sox could use a spark, as they are six games behind the Rays and Yankees for first place in the AL East, and Damon seemed like a logical fit.

However, Damon is a much different player and person now than he was in 2004 while playing in Beantown.

In 2004 Damon was a bearded, long-haired member of the “idiots” while playing for the Red Sox, but he is now a clean-cut member of the Tigers youth movement. Damon batted .304 with 20 home runs for the Red Sox, but he is hitting .273 with seven home runs this season for the Tigers.

Damon set the pace for the Red Sox league-leading offense in 2004, leading the team with 189 hits and getting on base so that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz could drive him in.

Manny is gone and Ortiz is no longer the .300 hitter that came up clutch every time the team called on him.

Had Damon returned to Boston he would have encountered a much different team and atmosphere than the one he played for in 2004.

On Tuesday, Damon said “I love Detroit,” and he also said that he didn’t want to send a message to his Tigers teammates that he was giving up on their season by rejoining the Red Sox.

Realistically the Tigers’ season is over as they are nine games back of the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins.

Damon is 36 years old and says that he likes being a member of a young team that is working to get better.

You have to admire Damon for turning down the opportunity to return to the Red Sox and a team in a better position to make the playoffs. Instead, he chose to stay with a Tigers team he enjoys playing for, in a city he enjoys playing in.

Damon knows what kind of spotlight he would be under playing in Boston, and the spotlight is something Damon and his laid-back personality prefer to avoid.

Detroit is the perfect city for Damon to play in. He is on a contending team that doesn’t face nearly as much pressure and scrutiny as the Red Sox do each and every day.

Damon has decided to stay a member of the Tigers for at least the remainder of this season, and has said that he would like to finish his playing career in Detroit. Damon should be a solid player for at least a few more years as the Tigers continue to develop their young talent.

Red Sox Nation took a big hit on Tuesday when Damon spurned them to stay in Detroit.

Boston needed Johnny Damon, but Johnny Damon didn’t need Boston.

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