Disclaimer—I am a lifelong Red Sox fan.
On Dec. 21, 2001, I was thrilled (as were many Sox fans) to hear that Boston signed Johnny Damon to a four-year deal. The Sox were in need of speed and good hitting at the top of the lineup, and speed in center field, and Damon seemed to fill all the check boxes on this particular job application. Granted, any MLB video game worth its salt would rate his arm strength as a generous 30, but regardless, Boston loved this guy...
...until Dec. 20, 2005, when Damon signed a four-year deal with the Yankees. Sox fans are not usually fond of players who bolt during free agency, much less when they bolt to the Yankees. That offseason was particularly bizarre, with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein resigning suddenly, leaving Fenway in a gorilla suit, and coming back a couple months later.
I can not take away that Damon is a solid ball-player, and was very integral in the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series and breaking the Curse. However, Damon has a propensity to speak to the media, and he is not very good at it. While he does not rise to the level of, say, Mike Tyson, he certainly demonstrates his blatant lack of intelligence and eloquence every time he opens his mouth.
Yesterday, after the Alex Rodriguez press conference of honesty, full disclosure, and absolute credibility, the press asked Damon for his reaction:
“Yeah he did some bad things," Damon said. "He took a steroid. Definitely do not condone that, at all, but there could be a lot worse things he could have been doing out there. He hasn’t done a crime. So there’s worse things that he could have done but you know I’ve known Alex since he was 15 and he’s always been super nice to me and so I’m going to support him and try help him through this time."
1. "Yeah he did some bad things. He took a steroid."
Things, plural. Steroid, singular.
2. "He hasn't done a crime."
I believe the word you were looking for is "committed." And furthermore, I don't give a hoot if the drugs were obtained legally, over the counter, in the Dominican Republic. They have different laws. If he brought these drugs into the US, and they were not legal here, then he sure done a crime. Unfortunately, the MLB rule book is not the same as the judicial system. What might not have been considered a "done crime" in the sense of getting suspended from baseball could have been considered a "done crime" by, like, a judge.
3. "Murdering someone... There's plenty of things that could be worse than what he did."
Damon acknowledges that a judicial system exists. That's a step. However, I think my 3 year old niece could have said that murder is worse than taking steroids, but how about in the CONTEXT of baseball?
4. "For part time in his career, perhaps, but you know what, the pitchers facing him too at the time were doing it."
A. Perhaps? Sorry, bro. It's cheating. If you are taking something you know is not a Tic-Tac, and hoping it will improve your performance, no matter how young and naive you claim to be, it's cheating.
B. Who are these pitchers you speak of, other than those identified already?
C. Does this imply that the problem was far more widespread than just 104 unnamed players?
D. If the pitchers back in those years all jumped off a bridge, would it be acceptable for the hitters to do the same?
Damon, I am a relative amateur at this, but I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that you should absolutely stay away from the press. You are not the first person, and you certainly will not be the last person to sound like a complete moron when speaking to the press. But your being an "idiot" has truly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Read more from Justin Gorman at www.turningtwo.com