21 December 2005

Johnny Grand Slam Hits the Road...

So late last night the news hit the wire about Johnny Damon heading to the Yankees. What a weird piece of news, whatever way you strike it.

Baseball-wise, I'm not happy about it, but I'm not upset about it either. I won't say that Damon is in some precipitous decline phase and that this works out quite well for us- it's simply not true, and while he could be a burden to New York for the last season of the contract, things like this mean nothing to the behemoth that is the Yankees. They've survived the last two seasons as AL East Champs with Bernie Williams in CF, if Damon gets to that point, there's no reason to believe they can't throw money at the problem and fix it then too.

Additionally, Damon affords New York the ability to slot Jeter down into the two spot, where he's absolutely been created to hit. The Yankees lineup then shakes down as such:

Damon, CF
Jeter, SS
Rodriguez, 3B
Giambi, 1B
Sheffield, RF
Matsui, LF
Williams, DH
Posada, C
Cano, 2B

That's an amazing lineup. They still have starting pitching issues, and their relief role solutions don't knock me over (Dotel was a great gamble, but I don't see anything special about Farnsworth, Villone or Myers). That said- that lineup could EASILY score 1000 runs. It's dominant.

I also think Boston did the right thing. For us, it was a slightly more complex decision- our offer stood at 4/40, and it appeared that this was not only the best outstanding offer, but that it's only "competition" was from New York, who may have been just attempting to jack up the price.

Well, that was wrong. But the idea that Boston needed to match NYY's $13 mil a year or add a year should definitely have taken us out of the running. We do have vast resources, but what we don't have is the freedom or ability to absorb a mistake like New York can. This doesn't assume that Damon IS or WILL BE a mistake- it just means there is no flexibility for him NOT to be one, and I think recognition of that is smart.

Of course, this is contingent upon their ultimately acquiring someone for the position who will replace Johnny Damon- as of right now, there is no one who does that available on the free agent market. The following CF-capable players may be available via trade:

Jeremy Reed
Coco Crisp
Jason Michaels
Brad Wilkerson

Of those, Reed is likely the best option- there have been heavy rumors about a Reed-for-Arroyo swap, but those may have been floats to goad certain FAs to make decisions, and with Boston losing leverage in their time of need, that original proposition is probably off the table if it was ever there. A prospect would probably have to be included- which is fine, when you consider the two draft picks we get for losing Damon.

Crisp likely isn't available, despite some faint rumors here and there. Michaels has great OBP skills, good defense and some pop, but has never played a full season and may require more from Philadelphia than Reed would from Seattle. Wilkerson was just dealt to pitching-starved Texas for Alfonso Soriano- if the Rangers nab Kevin Millwood, they likely won't be trading him for pitching. If they don't, it may be an option.

The Sox do have extra money to spend now, with the cash saved from Damon and Renteria. One idea would be to spend it on Roger Clemens for a season.

On a fanboy level, it sucks to see Damon leave, and it sucks worse to see him play for New York. I really always liked him- played hard, played hurt, was fun, eccentric, different. Now he'll go join Microsoft and cut off all his hair like a good soldier. What a pussy.

I'm not going to hate him, and this won't really effect how I view the World Series, or even Game 7. There's really nothing he could possibly do to change the way I feel when I think about that grand slam, and that whole night, so he's got that going for him. All the peripheral stuff- the taking more money, the not bringing the Yankees offer to Boston to let them match it- that doesn't really worry me. He's a baseball player- a pretty dumb guy, too- and hoping he won't take the most money offered him and hoping he won't say stuff for PR when he signs with his new team are fantasy. It's what they do.

So last offseason the Sox lost my favorite player, and this season they lose Mike's. Baseball sucks that way. It is nice to consider that Boston got Damon's peak years of 28-31 for $32 million, while the Yankees will get his 32-35 seasons at $52 million.

Well, he'll be missed. Au revoir, Judas.

I watched Carlito's Way last night- I'd seen most of it something like ten years ago on broadcast TV and really liked it, but I wanted to see it again uncut and in full without commercials, etc. Plus, I didn't really remember much about it, and, well, I wanted to.

I really think this is a TREMENDOUSLY underrated movie. It's fantastic. Scarface gets remembered because it's longer, more violent, more ridiculous, and it has that catchphrase towards the end. Carlito's is better, though. It's smaller, sure, and less violent- but the characters aren't (as much) cardboard cutouts, and the suspense sequences in Carlito's are masterful. Brian De Palma directed both, and one was excessive while the other was understated and enjoyable.

You gotta love too that De Palma made these two movies- one about a Cuban, the other about a Puerto Rican, and casts Al freakin' Pacino in both roles. Very progressive. Also, as a side note, it's definitely gotta be mentioned that Penelope Anne Miller's breasts are about ten million times greater than expected. You have to see it to believe it, I guess. I was floored.

Of course, you can't talk about Carlito's without mentioning Sean Penn, who plays Carlito's lawyer, David Kleinfeld. Penn has this amazing haircut through the entire film- this sort of Larry Fine-ish curly, 'fro-y, hairline-receding thing that I have no idea how they achieved. Last time I looked, Penn's hairline almost came down to his eyebrows. It's cool. You gotta admit- whatever you think of Sean Penn as a guy, either way- he's always great. This isn't an exception, either. It also becomes very obvious where they got the visual idea for the lawyer in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City after seeing this.

De Palma has sucked ingloriously in recent years, but this is one of the handful of examples of how great he could make a movie. The last twenty minutess of the movie are just total genius. Great, great, scene(s).

And for some reason... the movie never gets brought up.

If you're wondering- yes, I'm pissed about the strike. Yesterday I was pretty much stranded and missed work, today Erin and I called a car, paid a little too much money, and had to deal with Monkey McSuperbrake all the way from 193rd and Broadway to Grand Central. Even at a red light, sitting behind five cars, he was rapid fire poking the brake pedal. I thought I was going to light his car on fire there for a second.

When I get back from home for X-mas, I think my best bet will be to cross the Harlem River Bridge and take the Hudson line from Metro North into Grand Central.

The Suck.

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