When writing my post a few days ago, "Time for a good old fashioned media fisking", it seemed clear to me that the media, without exception, were promoting if not outright creating the feeling of panic and doom over the Damon signing in New York.
But today I belatedly came across this unsigned Globe editorial, which pretty much, word for word, is exactly how I feel:
MAYBE IT'S the weather, or maybe the fixation on damnation bequeathed to this region by Cotton Mather, but, judging by their extreme grief over the departure of Johnny Damon, New Englanders appear to be suffering from apocalypse-expectation syndrome. The mourners in Red Sox Nation need a new paradigm. They need to unlearn all their superstitions about grace and doom, which local pessimists assign respectively to New York and Boston despite the Great Inversion of October 2004.
Think of it this way: George Steinbrenner may be exactly the sort of dunderhead he is portrayed as being in episodes of ''Seinfeld." Like other plutocrats, he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. For the last four years, he has shelled out obscene sums of money for big-name players with bad backs, sore arms, and steroid-distorted statistics. Then he watches as his overpaid, over-the-hill millionaires fail to win a championship or even reach the World Series.
The Boss has been replicating a familiar pattern of the filthy rich, who go from amassing a fortune in something they know to squandering it in pursuits, such as art collecting and horse racing, about which they know very little and for which they require insiders' advice. Often they buy their ornamental trophies at the top of the market. They overpay for overblown reputations. They acquire the most fashionably bred yearlings for auction-topping sums only to learn their Derby hopeful has bad ankles or shin splints or a severe case of the slows. And so it goes on the diamond as well, where Steinbrenner's high-priced stars go on cashing checks for what they did in some other city, for some other team, in seasons past.
So now the Boss has bought Damon for $52 million, guaranteed, over the next four years. Marvelous as the beloved Idiot was in that championship season of '04, Red Sox fans need to cast a cold eye on the future value of a weak-armed 32-year-old center fielder stationed through 2009 in the great expanse of Yankee Stadium. They need to imagine the possibility that Steinbrenner has once again mortgaged the Yankees' future to purchase an aura of the past.
Think of it this way: If Theo returns to Fenway like Achilles returning to the plains of Troy, if newcomer Jonathan Papelbon fulfills his destined role as the next Roger Clemens, and if the Bosox find a shortstop somewhere and a center fielder to replace Damon, New Englanders may realize that the end of days was never as near as it seemed. One bearded idiot may have skipped town, but the sun will set, the sun will rise, new heroes will take to the field in Fenway, and one day it may be revealed that the decision to hire Damon in the Bronx was made by George Costanza.
Call me a homer, but I think this is the kind of editorial bias we have the right to expect from our hometown media, if we are supposed to expect any--and I want to give credit where credit is due.