After standing in line for two hours, I finally got to shake Johnny Damon's hand and have him sign my copy of Idiot.
I arrived at the Barnes & Noble at Rockefeller Center for the 1:00 signing about 11:45. I had to buy a copy of the book, then go outside and walk west on 48th Street. The line was long, maybe 200 people, when I got there. People being interviewed near the front had been there since 9:00. I'm not sure how many blocks it eventually stretched.
Many men wearing Yankee caps passed by, most of them not making eye contact. One guy, however, did engage the fans around me. In reference (I guess) to last night's Yankee win, he asked, "you guys back for some more pounding?" Someone else drove by and yelled "Chokers!" at us. After laughing at both of them, we all wondered WTF?
It was also nice to see Riff, a poster from SoSH and ProJo's Your Turn message board, passing out flyers for a new Sox bar in the city. The Boston 212 Cafe is at 79 Madison Street (& 28th Street) and will host a benefit for the Red Sox Foundation on April 15 (the trophy will be there).
B&N employees explained the rules: Damon was signing only copies of Idiot ("so don't pull out any bats"), no personal sigs, pictures could be taken of him but not with him. Inside the store, however, Damon was posing for pictures with any fan with a camera. That's our Johnny, floutin' the rules ...
After I said thanks for last year and shook his hand, I slid a copy of my book across the table. He looked at it and said he appreciated it before an assistant reached over and took it away. Presumably, he got it back. Damon doesn't strike me as much of a reader, but who knows?
In Idiot, Damon writes about the Slap Play: "I couldn't believe it. It was an unsportsmanlike act of cheating the likes of which none of us had ever seen."
He now says the phrasing "might be overblown a bit. That was a play that was looked at by Boston fans and our players as cheating. In retrospect, that wasn't the case. ... I remember when I was in Oakland and we were playing the Yankees, I got picked off and when I went back into first base, my hand went right into Tino Martinez' glove. I couldn't get my hand out. I pulled and the ball popped out. I was called out. Was I trying to cheat? No."
Since Slappy McBluelips admitted that he struck Arroyo on purpose, with the assumption that the umpires wouldn't have the guts to rule against the Yankees in their own ball park late in a must-win game, I don't think we can compare it with Damon's example, which does not sound deliberate. Damon hopes to speak to Slappy and explain.
While Damon was backpedaling, however, Bronson Arroyo was telling reporters: "The way he carries himself off the field creates a perception. Alex gives off the impression, he's been a great player, but (a bit) of a prima donna, where guys are maybe jealous or not like him."
Down in Fort Myers, Wade Miller threw 38 pitches in three hitless innings in a minor league scrimmage on Sunday. He plans to pitch on Thursday, possibly for Boston's South Atlantic League (A) club. If he does that, his 30-day minor league rehab will begin, meaning he'll have to join the Sox by May 7. ... Curt Schilling starts for Pawtucket on Thursday in Indianapolis. If all goes well, he'll face the Yankees in Fenway on April 13. ... I doubt Yankee fans are too broken up over the news, but Kevin Brown was placed on the disabled list.