The TV was on for about half a minute when I heard the report on ESPN. Goddammit. Why in the name of all that's holy did the Sox let Johnny Damon get away? They knew the sumbitch Yankees were the only other real contender. They knew damn well what he does for the team in stats, spirit and image. And by all accounts, Damon went to play for the enemy only after giving the Sox several chances to get closer to an agreement. They wouldn't budge, so he left.
Just when I was flying high on the Red Sox's plan to GM by committee and send Theo Epstein packing, they go and do the unthinkable. Their offseason maneuvering was moving along fantastically. They had us all saying, "Theo who?" And now their cocky posturing has twisted the team on every front. Hell, I would've been happy had they traded away crybaby Manny Ramirez for a lesser bat or two, but getting rid of THE BEST LEADOFF HITTER IN THE GAME, a team leader, the face of the team, and perhaps the most popular Red Sox player since Rice or Boggs??? I mean, Damon even took Pedro's place in the hearts of Sox fans in about the time it took the Accella to drop him at Times Square. What gives???
So here we are. The Red Sox are in serious offensive trouble (come on, Mark Loretta? Mike Lowell? Adam Stern???) even if the pitching looks much better than last year. Meanwhile, the Yankees finally have that piece of the puzzle that gives their lineup all the nausea-inducing potential their fans have been claiming for the last two years. There's still a lot of time to make moves and the Sox have the players to make some big ones, but things suddenly look very bleak in New England.
Eventually, this monumental fuck-up on Red Sox management's part will, without a doubt, accomplish two things. First, they will find themselves a legitimate GM and find him (or her) quickly. This little experiment, once a soaring success, has eviscerated the Red Sox and made them the laughing stock of MLB. Second, now backed into a corner, they have no choice but to deal one of their bigger names. Manny? Doubtful, but you never know what this kind of coldsweat desperation can do. Whatever ('whoever' I should write) transpires, this clusterfuck of a situation will have a ripple-effect through the rest of the Red Sox offseason. As for the 2006 season itself, facing the former Red Sox nation hero a couple dozen times will just be salt on the gaping wound inflicted by a fearsome Yankees lineup.