“I just found out the importance of going to play baseball again,” Damon said. “What it came down to was coming back wasn’t for me. It was for the Yankees. The Yankees were the reason I wanted to go play again. They showed faith in me and gave me a real nice contract.
“And there’s a lot of fans out there who like what I do and a lot of charities out there that I can help by being a ballplayer. I’m thinking about baseball now but I’m also thinking about life after baseball. There are so many people I can impact, and baseball gives me that avenue to do it.”
Unfortunately for the Yanks, Damon, the fans… Damon –it seems– didn’t remember these thoughts. Had he, he might have put his ego aside and re-signed with New York. Alas, the ego was greater than his other beliefs and comments (that he only wanted to stay and play in New York; that he could be most impactful in NY, on the Yankees).
I wish Johnny well in Detroit or Chicago or anywhere he decides to play in 2010. He’ll always have a spot in fans’ hearts for his contributions to the 2009 World Series title, but he’ll never be a “special” player in NY Yankee history. Had he returned for 2010 and if the Yanks repeated, he could have taken on that greater legacy and improved his HOF credentials (inasmuch as being in NY might boost his visibility, particularly in Octobers). Maybe he’ll be a key cog in another team’s run to a title, which would be just as good for him personally and allow him to thumb his nose at the Yanks. For me, Damon’s departure will just be a sad footnote and reminder to what should have/could have been…