As previously mentioned [and as further proof that nothing in this world makes sense], Johnny Damon was a guest on yesterday’s David Lee Roth show [heard locally on BCN]. Not the most scintillating stuff in the world, but it’s the first full-scale interview [over twenty minutes] I’ve heard the guy do since he left our fair city. For reasons I still can’t quite fathom, I’ve transcribed some of the highlights here. If you prefer the full audio extravaganza, go ahead and give part one and part two of the interview a listen. Interestingly, the more I hear Damon speak about his former team, the more wistful he sounds. I really can’t recall a player who’s lobbed so many olive branches to the local fans after signing somewhere else.

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DLR: We have Johnny Damon, he’s the former Boston Red Sox player, just signed a four year deal for a whole lotta cash with the New York Yankees, and you’re playin’ centerfield for them. Take it from there. How’s it been goin’ for ya?

JD: Well, things have been great. To walk into a situation where you’re playing where the greatest centerfielders who ever played the game have grown… Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bernie Williams. And to follow in their footsteps, it’s pretty awesome.

DLR: It’s a temple, then, is what you’re saying. That’s a great stage and all the greats have gone there before, correct?

JD: Absolutely, and the New York fans have been treating me great. And so have the Boston fans. You know, the Boston fans have not been too upset with me.

DLR: Oh, come on. Who loves scandal better than Boston? Who loves conflict and controversy better than New York or Boston? These are the best places on Earth to have this kind of dust-up.

JD: Well, the thing is, the Boston fans know that I tried to go back, but at the end of the day, I became a New York Yankee because they really came after me hard. It’s gonna take some getting used to, but…

DLR: What’s gonna take some getting used to, being in New York City or playing with a different team?

JD: Probably playing with a different team.

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DLR: The kind of training that you get involved in, the kinda schedule that you gotta maintain, what is it, 162 games? That takes an immense amount of discipline. It’s also interesting that you don’t have a reputation for that kind of discipline. Tell us about that reputation. You were the leader of the self-proclaimed idiots. What was that about, for those who don’t know.

JD: Well, it was going out there and enjoying yourself, because baseball… it seemed like people did not enjoy it. You gotta go out there and enjoy what you do and that’s what we did and that’s what the self-proclaimed idiots came from. We all enjoyed what we did. We got along on the field, but off the field, we were even better.

DLR: It was a real team, then, huh?

JD: We rolled as a team. The chemistry was great.

DLR: How long does it take to build the chemistry of a team like that, Johnny?

JD: Well, I remember the first day I got to the Boston Red Sox. I said this was the absolute worst place that I’ve been. But then in a short time, it changed.

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DLR: What else might you have gone to do if you weren’t gonna play baseball? Is there something in the back of your mind still?

JD: Watching you all these years, I would have loved to have been a rock star.

DLR: Well, there’s not too much difference in the general lifestyle. Seriously, in terms of hotel hell and travelling as a way of life and the number of games that you play in a season plus all your spring training. That’s a hundred-percent commitment. Have you been through your first divorce yet?

JD: [Laughs] Of course.

DLR: Well then you are a rock star [laughs].

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DLR: How long do you think you’re gonna be in New York City? How long is your contract?

JD: My contract’s for four years and hopefully… hopefully we have some success here. Hopefully I can come here and help A-Rod and Giambi get their World Series titles. It’s four years and hopefully it’s good and hopefully they want to keep me around.

DLR: For-evah. Do you like New York City? Are you familiar with New York City?

JD: I’ve been in the big leagues for twelve years so I’ve been coming here for twelve years and it seems like the fans have always showed me some kinda respect here. Obviously, they’ll get on you and whatnot, but they always enjoyed the way that I played and went out and hustled. I’m definitely getting used to it.

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DLR: Upon signing with the Yankees, you shaved your trademark beard and cut your long hair in compliance with George Shtreinbrenner’s [yes, DLR mispronounces "Steinbrenner" as "Shtreinbrenner," which is utterly glorious] rules on players’ appearance. Was that a big issue for you?

JD: No, it wasn’t. I mean, just being a part of the Yankee tradition you knew what you had to do going in. So, I don’t have to buzz it off or whatnot. I’m still gonna try to look good for the women.

DLR: That’s a classic look for the Yankees, right? You gotta have that spit-shine with the big smile and everything. That’s right out of one of those old paintings. Is that how you envisioned baseball when you were growing up?

JD: Well, I kinda envisioned players having personalities.

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ONE OF ROTH’S INTERN/LACKIES: Johnny, what do you do if you’re a fan from Boston and you went out and bought the Damon jersey? Now that you’re with the Yankees, what do I do with my Johnny Damon jersey?

JD: Well… don’t burn ‘em [laughs.]

LACKEY: Do I get a refund?

JD: Well, I would hope so. But you know what? The fans there respect me quite a bit and I respect them, too. It is tough, especially on the kids. Because my kids had a tough time dealing with it. And I kinda told them and they cried and, you know, I cried with them. Hey, this team didn’t want me as much as I wanted them. The reports have been showing that they planned Coco Crisp for a year and a half.

LACKEY: Because that was an emotional goodbye for you.

JD: Oh, it sure was.

DLR: Where did you say the goodbye? Was there a special ceremony? Did this happen during a game? When did this take place?

JD: Well the goodbye happened after a few attempts to try to resign with the Red Sox…

DLR: Gotcha.

JD: And they kinda just said, “Hey, we don’t think you have another offer out there… we’re not quite as interested in you…”

DLR: Well, you’re only young two or three times, and you’re gonna have to go and chase it, especially somebody who’s in a sport like yours. We have a lot in common, because I went through a lot of rigamarole when I left Van Halen.

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JD: To play with some of the greatest players who ever played this game… It’s pretty awesome that I get to be a part of it and do my thing. We’ll see what happens. But I think… coming here just to get back at the Red Sox? No, I came here to win.

DLR: It’s beyond just one team, huh?

JD: Absolutely.