Johnny Damon is staying in Detroit. This may not be a big deal to many of you on the planet, but for Tiger fans it’s a huge encouragement in what has been a very frustrating season since the Allstar Break. The Tigers have the worst record in baseball since that point. Damon had been placed on waivers by the Tigers (it’s a complicated way actually of hanging onto players they want to keep but might not be able to afford) but no one really wanted to lose him. The Boston Red Sox, Johnny’s former team, claimed him to add power to their battle with the Yankees and Rays for the American League East crown.
The 36-year-old outfielder decided to pass up a chance to return to the Boston Red Sox, rejecting their waiver claim and choosing to remain with the Tigers.
“These guys really like me here,” Damon said Tuesday, adding he spoke to each of his teammates individually to be sure he was wanted in the Tigers’ clubhouse.”
Johnny used to be a part of the Boston Red Sox when they broke the “curse” and finally won a World Series. At the time (2004) he was also a part of a group of baseball players who earned the nickname “The Idiots.” The “Idiots” were the new name of the Red Sox, who had been “The Cowboys” the year before from “Cowboy Up” , a nickname derived from first baseman Kevin Millar’s challenge to his teammates to show more determination.
“We are not the cowboys anymore — we are just the idiots this year,” Damon said. “So we are going to go out and try to swing the bats, find the holes, and, hopefully, good things happen.” And they did.
Therein is some of the inspiration, unity, and just plain fun Damon brings to his team – as valuable perhaps as his bat. So as the Tigers finally started moving towards .500 ball and winning again (five in a row before Valverde blew a save in the 8th inning against the Royals), Johnny may just be the spark to salvage a season gone bad for the Tigers.
I guess money isn’t everything or even success.
Thank you, Johnny.