in which Roar of the Tigers displays a bias

stupid, annoyed illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I am not even going to try to be impartial about this. Take that as a given.

I honestly did not want to write about this over here until/unless something definitive happened involving the Tigers, but the rumors have been flying like a flock of smog-deranged city pigeons who all just spotted a single crust of bread at the same time. I just wanted to get this out there in case, I don’t know, something got done while I was sleeping or working or whatever. That said:

I do not want! Johnny Damon! On this team! No! No to Johnny Damon! DO NOT WANT.

I hate strongly dislike Johnny Damon. His idiot schtick got old while he was still in Boston, and it has not improved with time. He hasn’t been able to throw a ball for a number of years now, and he will be 36 years old this coming season. That arm ain’t gonna magically improve itself, kids and kittens. Sure, he has a high tolerance for pain and will keep playing through quite a lot in the way of injuries, but at this point I would start worrying about his ability to play in the outfield every day. I suppose he could DH sometimes, but poor old Carlos Guillen is going to need that DH slot an awful lot himself, and I’m sure Magglio will need it sometimes…

On the Tigers, Damon would not hit for nearly as much power as he did in the past couple of years. Yankee Stadium has that stupid short porch, while Comerica has vast, yawning tracts of land, which will gladly swallow up any Damonic attempts to pop the ball out of the park. Also: OLD. Maybe he can still hit for a respectable average, but, OLD, and his hitting is unlikely to improve.

I have been COMPLETELY disgusted by the way Scott Boras has handled Damon’s offseason. ‘He likes octopus and the Red Wings! That should make you Detroit-types love him, because I’m Scott Boras and I have a very low opinion of your intelligence!’ ‘We’re getting a ton of interest, even though up ’til today almost no one had expressed any interest at all because of my exorbitant and unrealistic contract demands!’ ‘I’m going to coyly talk about the many, many teams who have contacted us, even though the nature of internet media/communication and the internet presence of many baseball teams today means that this statement can be immediately debunked, but that’s fine, because I’m Scott Boras and I think you’re all too freakin’ stupid to realize that!’ ‘Durp durp durrrr dur-durp!’

Is it unfair to judge Damon by his agent? Well, he’s the one who hired the trollbeast, so whatever, fairness! I squint my judgemental little eyes in his general direction.

I don’t even know why I’m bothering to try to rationalize this. I’m from Massachusetts, I am strongly anti-Damon for the obvious reasons. I don’t want to deal with him and his trailing parade of shenanigans, I don’t want to deal with the potential trauma of watching him try to grow that Yankee mustache back. I don’t want to scream frantically at the TV as baserunner after baserunner takes off on him.

It was not enough that THE WORST THING happened? Removing Curtis Granderson was like tearing a huge gaping hole in my battered little fan heart; adding Johnny Damon would be like dumping a generous handful of rock salt into that hole. Hell, Mr. Dombrowski, cut a cat a break now and then, willya?

ETA: The latest rumor has the Tigers offering $14 million and 2 years. Ugh. UGH.


30 responses to “in which Roar of the Tigers displays a bias

  1. I agree with you on Johnny, Sam. I actually have a mild amount of fondness for him, as he went to my rival high school and I’ve been watching him for years. But ya know, he’s had that rag-arm since he was a teenager, and it has always been a liability for him. Above and beyond all that, the LAST thing we need is another over-paid, over-aged outfielder in our corps. I wish these rumors would just die and he signs with the Braves (formerly the NL racist logos). We really should have made a stronger attempt to get Orlando Hudson over this guy.

  2. I’m not a big admirer of Damon’s baseball skills (his hair-growing skills are a different matter), but I’d like to see them acquire a left-handed bat, and Damon is the most obvious candidate (although what I’d really like to see is a trade of a left-handed reliever for Luke Scott)

  3. I enjoyed watching Damon when he was with the Sox, but lost all respect for him when he jumped ship for the Evil Empire. I also think the last thing in the world this team needs is another ancient outfielder who really should be DHing. I mean, even Ryan Rayborn is no spring chicken anymore.

    We do need a left-handed bat and someone who can bat first or second, and I think Damon could do that.

    But there must be a better option somewhere.

  4. And, I apparantly can’t even spell, I’m so upset.

    Of course I meant Ryan RAYBURN, not Ryan Rayborn.

  5. Of course I meant Ryan RAYBURN, not Ryan Rayborn.

    Gosh, I thought you meant Ryan Raburn. :)

  6. Totally agree with this, and especially with the point you bring up about the difference between Yankee Stadium’s high school-sized outfield and that of Comerica. The idea of bringing him to Detroit is enticing at first blush (left handed bat, etc.), but I don’t think he’ll have quite the same appeal in the middle of August when he’s hitting .220 and two-hopping throws to the cutoff man.

  7. On the bright side:

    1. At road games he would draw some of the heckling away from Magglio.
    2. If he grew his hair out he would make for a good characteur. <–Pretend I spelled that right.
    3. Damon is easier to spell than Rhaiebourne.
    4. Local booksellers would make more money at Idiot! could be mover from the 99 cents table to the $2.99 table.

  8. Johnny Damon = BOOOOOOOOO
    Multiple references to Monty Python = hooray!!!!

    huuuuuuuuuuge … tracts of land! (can you tell I’m trying to find the happy? stupid Tigers keep making the happy DISAPPEAR)

  9. Damon has since clarified the statements made by Boras, noting “by ‘Yzerman’ and ‘Octopi’ I obviously was saying I enjoy sipping Coca-Cola with Scarlet O’Hara.”

    In an exclusive interview with CNN, Damon later told press he would answer questions after spending an afternoon hurling peaches, which he adores, 350 feet with pinpoint accuracy, and playing with his white bulldog.

  10. I have no anti-Damon bias –since they became the same team a few years ago I’ve hated Yanks & Sawx equally, & enjoyed watching both arrogant camps stew over him.

    But there are plenty of good baseball reasons to pull up the welcome mat. Like: can’t hit OR throw it out of our outfield. Replaces C-Grandy like McDonald’s replaces food. And oh goody, another overpaid geezer whose natural position is DH. You never have enough of those, do you?

    h2o: I’m with ya –O-Dog would’ve been a much better investment. Worst non-move of the year.

  11. You bet ya Samara,NO TO DAMON ! He would never want to be a Tiger; always has been a Yankee wannabe and always will be. If Dave wants a veteran , look to the Sean Casey example! He was great for the team.

  12. sean casey was a great example for the team! so we offered him the 2 years…

  13. Yeah, $14 mil, 2 years is the latest (5:30pmish, Thursday) rumor. I am sending DO NOT WANT mental vibes to Detroit just as hard as I can.

    rea, I would support the acquisition of Luke Scott only because it would mean that he can’t hit AGAINST us anymore…

    LVS, that’s what I’m afraid of… he’ll look good temporarily, maybe, but we get to the AS break and he’s just old and weak and dragging at the team like every other old and weak guy we’ve tried to play with of late.

    Jeff, that damn book didn’t even sell in MA. People were too disgusted to be tempted even by the promise of insider Sox anecdotes.

    Misopogon, I think what gets me is the fact that Boras’ tactics there are clumsy and intelligence-insulting even if you’re dealing with, like, 5th graders. That he thinks it’ll work with adult baseball fans is just… I can’t even. Ugh.

    pocoloco, oooooo, don’t even go there, don’t EVEN. ;)

    Walleyeman, janey, we cannot even begin to compare Traitor Damon to The Mayor. There is NO comparison.

  14. I disagree, I want Damon. Yes 14 mil is overpaying for him, but its not my money, and the tigers have to over pay for free agents. Once you accept the fact that granderson is not coming back you have to accept that Damon is exactly what we need, a top of the order lefty. All things considered, with Damon the 2010 tigers are better than without Damon.

    • Well, if Damon was exactly what we needed, he would be ten years younger and actually able to play center field. So.

      Why do the Tigers ‘have’ to overpay for free agents? It’s not like we’re coming off of 2003 here. And Damon already had his chance to make money he didn’t deserve in NY– he blew it off, it’s gone. If anyone overpays him now, they’re being dumb.

  15. I’m with Joe (and I’m also not the other Jeff who commented above)… Partially.

    Damon’s value has never been in his arm. He’s had the same rag-arm since the minor leagues, and has managed to carve a 15-year career despite it, so he obviously has something else to offer, mainly range. Yes, he’s getting older, and, yes, range will tend to suffer with age and balky knees and the like, but he’s still probably better than Carlos Guillen out there, and I’d imagine that there will be some sort of job-share arrangement where it’ll be Guillen and Damon on-and-off-ing in LF and DH, with the occasional Magglio appearance at DH, when Raburn will likely play RF and one of the others will get the day off. Also, wasn’t there a section of “Moneyball” that dealt with a proprietary measure of outfield defense that the A’s had developed, and it measured Damon as being an excellent outfielder? His arm was good for you-know-what back then, too.

    Also not a huge part of Damon’s 15-year career? Power. Yes, the new Yankee Stadium helped his HR number mightily, but it was the 3rd time in his career that the HR number made it out of the teens. His hitting value is in batting average (he still hit .282 last year) and getting on base (.365 last year). Both of those numbers were better than — dare I say it — our leadoff hitter for 2009. And, despite the difference in age, Damon still stole a dozen bases (and was not caught all year). And what part of our lineup has the greatest unknowns? Leadoff and maybe the #2 hitter. Simply put, we don’t *need* a power hitter. Damon isn’t one, but I say, “so frigging what???”.

    As to his personality, I concede a number of the points made above. But, given the needs of the team (did I mention he bats left-handed? Oh, hey, no, I didn’t), he’s a fit. At the money they’re talking about and the length of contract they’ve apparently offered? I’m not so sure. I might offer 2 years at $14M (OK, I’d go a little lower, but it ain’t my money), but the second year would be triggered by plate appearances in 2010. I think that would be a rational thing to offer, if you really want him… And I think that there are reasons to really want him.

    Simply put, logic dictates that I confess the following: For the 2010 Tigers, he fits a current need. And the AL Central title is there for the taking. Despite O-Dog going to the Twins and Peavy going to the Wrong Sox, I don’t see either of those teams as being especially far out ahead of us, talent-wise. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but it would really suck to see sensational pitching all year go down the drain to a dysfunctional offense while we let somebody else grab Damon for peanuts.

  16. That graphic. Oh my.

    People are harping really hard on the leadoff left-handed bat thing, but I’m just not convinced. There are a lot of teams who would want a leadoff lefty, so why was Damon casting lines without so much as a nibble for months? Part of it was Boras’ crazy demands, but if Damon was truly ‘worth it’, wouldn’t other teams have tried to meet those demands?

    I don’t think he’s going to be the same hitter he has been in the past anymore. He is older, he is starting to accumulate injuries… do we really want a leadoff batter who can’t run? even if he’s a lefty… Do we really want to stock our outfield with weak arms across the board, when we have one of the bigger outfields in the league?

  17. I should add that it does sound like this deal is going to get done now, and I’m still not super happy with it.

  18. To be honest if samara and paws dont like him i dont. Samara has a blog. You guys dont.

  19. I’m only okay with Noodle-Arm if it’s for ONE YEAR and for CHEAP – otherwise let the arrogant and pretentious airhead go somewhere else.


  20. i’m with janey (and sam) on this one. blog rules.

  21. Ugh, that last one was me. >:[


    . . . other than me, I hope . . .

  23. Sounds now like it’s more likely to be one year than two. Do we still hate that as much? It’s not ideal– I agree with all y’all that I’d rather not have him on the team for any length of time– but it would definitely be better than two years.

  24. Ugh. They signed him for $8M. At least it was only for 1 year.

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