Earlier this week, Damon was placed on waivers by the Detroit Tigers. Within a day the Red Sox put a claim on him and it became Damon’s decision on whether or not to go back to Boston. He was supposed to accept to go to Boston, repair the relationships that were broken, win back the fans and talk about how great the 2004 Championship team was. Instead, it became more about the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry over everything else.
Damon knew all about the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry because he played on the Red Sox from 2002-2005. He led them to a World Series Championship in 2004 and was nicknamed Jesus. Everyone loved him. Then, he left Boston in 2005 and joined the Yankees in ’06. After joining the Yankees in 2006, Damon saw how much the Red Sox fans went from loving him, too hating him, instantly. Jesus became Judas. He realized, he didn’t want to go through that again. Maybe Damon can’t fix what he did to the Red Sox after leaving them in 2005. Some people say that is why he didn’t go back to Boston. He knew he would have to face the Yankees again and didn’t want to go through the scrutiny of switching teams again. I, on the other hand, don’t believe it.
Damon loved the AL East, but never had any intention of going back to Boston. That is why he included them in his no trade clause. That is one small way of saying, I’m not interested. Damon was hurt after Boston let him go after 2005, believing he couldn’t be an everyday player/outfielder. The team and the fans pushed him out of town, like Boston does with most of it’s older players. It just so happened the Yankees welcomed him and he patrolled the outfield for all 4 years of his contract. The guy even helped them win a World Series in his final season. Once again, Damon was loved and the Yankees and their fans loved him. If it wasn’t for Scott Boras (Damon’s agent), Damon probably would have taken less money to play for the Yankees for one more season(they desperately wanted him). Instead, he signed a cheap one year deal with Detroit. Who knows, maybe World Series #28 would be more apt to occur with Damon. We will never know.
What we do know is Damon couldn’t take the easy move, pack up and head to Boston and hurt the team that loved him, the Yankees. He made sure to decline the Red Sox, who are only 5 games out of a playoff spot, to stay in Detroit who has no chance at the playoffs. He is still hurt by 2005 and did not want his relationship with the Yankees to be broken, like it was when he left Boston. The only difference is, the Red Sox front office wanted to let Damon go, while the Yankees tried so hard to bring him back this season.
By choosing to stay with the Tigers and not go to Boston, Damon chose the Yankees over the Red Sox. If his allegiance wasn’t clear before, it is now.