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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Johnny Damon, Babe Ruth and ..... Kevin Millwood

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posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 01:01 PM
One of the 'big deals' in the sports world was the signing of Johnny Damon by the NY Yankees. Frankly, I don't get all the hysteria about this happening.

The Yankees signed a center fielder but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that this is the next player in the lineage of DiMaggio and Mantle. The Red Sox lost a talented outfielder to the Yankees and some have spoken of a new curse that might visit itself on the BoSox for another 87 years. That's cute but that will be the only time that anyone ever hints at the fact that Johnny Damon and Babe Ruth have any baseball talents in common. Look, this is a good but not great centerfielder who played very well for the Red Sox who will go and play very well - for a few years - for the Yankees and then will fade from the communal memory rather quickly. Johnny Damon is not a great baseball player; he should not be mentioned in the same sentence with Babe Ruth.

But of course, the NY tabloids had to make this happening into something humongous. And one of the things they focused on was the fact that Damon would have to cut his hair and shave his beard to match the Yankees' self-imposed standard of trimmed tresses and no facial hair. Wow, imagine that. For a guaranteed $52M, he agreed to get a haircut and a shave. For $52M guaranteed, I'd agree to get my butt shaved on national TV - - twice. So I began to think how the Yankees might make this into something light and humorous that would take the edge of stupidity off the 'haircut story'. Then I remembered that Sal 'The Barber' Maglie used to pitch for the Yankees back in the middle 1950s. And so, I intended to suggest that the Yankees hold a press conference to introduce the newly coiffed and shaven Johnny Damon with Sal Maglie 'presiding'. But to be certain that Maglie had pitched for the Yankees - indeed he did - I went to the web and learned another fact about him. Sal 'the Barber' Maglie is no longer exchanging oxygen in the biosphere and has gone to the great bullpen in the sky about 15 years ago. Sorry folks, the Yankees are on their own with this one.

Last time I checked the myriad Internet websites, Kevin Millwood and the Texas Rangers were in the throes of a mating dance that had lots of money involved. Scott Boras has a history of fleecing the Rangers (see Rodriguez, Alex and Park, Chan-Ho); and in this case, Millwood was seeking a five-year deal at age 31. That may be tempting to a team that needs pitching the way Count Dracula needed hemoglobin, but that's not going to be a deal that the Rangers will look upon fondly in another couple of years. If I'm a GM, I'd pay for 2 years at the going rate and have a club option for a 40% raise in a third year if Millwood is really a stud for the next two years. After that, he'll be turning 35 and at that age the only kinds of pitchers who are worth the kind of money he wants are pitchers like Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Millwood is a good pitcher but he ain't in that class - - any more than Johnny Damon is in Babe Ruth's class.

But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...


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