Jason Bay… we hardly knew ye

So it is official… Jason Bay is a Met and his days as a Red Sox left fielder are over.

And even though the signing was announced less than 24 hours ago, it has already been declared a bust by SI.com, Yahoo Sports, The Post, and many bloggers.

Tough crowd.

And while as a Red Sox fan I would rather see him break down on someone else’s dime (and pick up a few draft picks from the Mets) I think Bay is worth a nice salute before he leaves.

He played well for the Sox (with a few slumps here and there) over a year and a half.
And to the morons who say that the Red Sox lost the 2008 pennant because they had Bay instead of Ramirez, please do a little homework.

Bay would have been the MVP of the Division Series in 2008 if they gave out that award. (I do.)

He batted .412 in the (and a 1.356 OPS) in the Division Series, including a key home run in Game 1 amd doubling in the 9th inning of Game 4 and scoring the series ending run.

And the Red Sox didn’t lose the ALCS to the Rays because of Bay (and his .927 OPS.) They lost because Beckett got crushed in Game 2, Lester got crushed in Game 3, Wakefield got crushed in Game 4 and the Red Sox couldn’t hit Garza nor Price in Game 7.

It’s always about pitching.

Oh and lest we forget Bay’s home run against Mariano Rivera last spring. (Doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago?)

So the Sox aren’t being sentimental… they are piling up draft picks and hoping to make the next big smash.

But Bay, while still ringless (and will probably remain that in Flushing) he is still worth a Red Sox fan salute.
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Lots of people lament during the off season that big market teams (the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Mets) sign all of the big free agents and small market teams like the A’s can never retain their All Stars.

Well the times are a changin’ again!

Happy Days are here again!

Didn’t you hear? The Oakland A’s reached deep into their pocket books and re-signed a 2 time All Star and kept one of their own in the fold!

That’s right. Justin Duchscherer will remain an Oakland Athletic!

That makes up for losing Reggie Jackson, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon and Miguel Tejada, doesn’t it?

OK, hands up if you knew Duchscherer was a ONE TIME All Star, let alone two!
I am guessing not a lot of hands went up.

No player since Scott Cooper has taken advantage of the “Mike Sharperson Memorial All Star Award” better than Duchscherer.

If the All Star Game didn’t have the insane (but wonderfully nutty) “Every team needs an All Star” rule, the only was Duchscherer would be at the All Star Game was if he had a friend with a ticket.

Lord knows none of his TEAMMATES would be at the game.

And oh yeah, the two time All Star missed ALL of 2009 with back problems and depression. So the only way Oakland can keep their All Stars is if they are broken down physically and chemically.

But lately A’s fans can’t really be picky.

With Duchscherer back, maybe I’ll pick the A’s again!

Maybe not.

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Well one of the residual effects of the bewildering Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera deal is it opens up left field again… and there is speculation that it was done do retain Johnny Damon… even though he’s 35 years old, his defensive skills are eroding and he already did what he was supposed to do (help lead the Yankees to a World Series title.)

Why would you sign him to a long term deal when he will clearly break down by the end of it? And sacrifice a talented outfielder (Melky)10 years his junior? And sacrifice that outfielder for a pitcher (Vazquez) who in 12 seasons has had 3 good ones and a meltdown in New York?

Because the Yankees are sentimental!

People refer to Yankees as the Evil Empire (and by people I mean Larry Lucchino.) But a more appropriate name would be Mr. Softee.

Look at all of the people who come back for second acts as a Yankee (think Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi, Nick Johnson and even Javy Vazquez). And how often they keep their own veterans around (Jeter, Rivera and Posada are all still there.) And when one player leaves (a la Matsui) Yankee fans cry about how they should have kept him.

Everything about the Yankees is sold on a bit of sentimentality.

Whether it is showing the clip of Lou Gehrig declaring himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth, or showing clips of Thurman Munson or pining for Ruth, Yogi or Mickey, the Yankees are always sold on mushiness.

Watch any Yankee highlight film or any Yankeeography on YES. They make Love Actually look as mean and gritty as a Scorsese film.

They are running out of numbers to retire and their Old Timers Day is a lovefest like no other in baseball.

They spent a billion dollars to make a stadium that looked like the OLD stadium (instead of the perfectly good and profitable stadium they were using.)

Even the calling of “27 titles!” is a call to the past.

Now contrast that with the Red Sox, who are usually portrayed as the more emotional and sentimental franchise. Look at all of the players they just set adrift the nanosecond their skills start to erode.

And so many greats leave Boston on bad terms that I could write up a 25 man roster of players in my lifetime whose left Fenway in a huff. (And it looks like Mike Lowell might be the next one on the list!)

But not the Yankees… even the guys who DO leave angry (Yogi, Reggie, Goose) are brought back as Prodigal Sons.

And now it looks like Johnny Damon might be the latest one to come back… and technically he hasn’t even left.

And the Yankees start a brand new century looking very similar to the last.

Better bring your handkerchiefs.

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