Jacoby Ellsbury agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees last night, a move that, ten years ago, or even eight years ago would’ve caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth among the locals.
While there was some of that going around last night (@KeithOlberman tracked a bunch of the mouthbreathers) the reaction was definitely more muted, at least among the fans I was watching and interacting with.
We all knew he was gone, right? And that the Yankees, given their spending habits, were a likely destination, right? Did anyone think that a Boras client like Ellsbury was not going to go to wherever gave him the most money?
The fans and media probably would not have been kind to Ben Cherington had he re-signed Ellsbury to the seven-year $153 million deal that he reportedly got from the Yankees.
Three World Series titles have made Red Sox fans a little more secure and less anxious over whatever the Yankees do. Even after they had won in 2004, when Johnny Damon left for the Yankees the following year, there was still considerable outcry, now, I think we see the cycle the Yankees are in, and it’s not as worrisome to us. The media will still try to make the Yankees scary to the fans, but I think most of the true fans have moved past that feeling. We can still hate the Yankees, but we’re not intimidated or scared of them.
Good for Ellsbury. He’s got two World Series titles under his belt, having played a big role in both of them, and now has the big payday. I don’t begrudge him one bit, and while I’m not sure the spotlight and circus of New York is a great fit for him, I wish him well.
The worst part of this, in the short term anyway, is going to be forced to listen to Johnny Damon as he makes his inevitable media rounds to talk about his experience in leaving the Red Sox for the Yankees. He’ll be on with Mut and Merloni this morning, and I’m sure many other outlets in the next few days.
It should be fun though, watching media people who criticized Ellsbury harshly for the last few years try and change tact and tell us how he’s going to come back and haunt the Red Sox in the future.
It was interesting watching media people last night as they insulted the fans when the news broke:
Nick Cafardo this morning:
Ellsbury was a beloved player in Boston and now the fans who once lashed out at media for being critical of his injury situation likely will boo him unmercifully every time he steps to the plate in Yankee pinstripes. He has gone the way of Johnny Damon, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens, and Ellsbury never will live it down. He will be called a traitor and other unsavory names when he steps up the plate.
There will be some local effort to paint Ellsbury as the Fourth Horseman of the Pinstripe Apocalypse. Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon all chose the Yankees (Clemens got himself traded to New York after two years in Toronto) after long careers with the Red Sox. All three won championships and Boggs and Clemens actually rode horses in Yankee Stadium.
Now Ellsbury. Are you going to boo him the way you booed Damon, Ray Allen and Adam Vinatieri?
Oh, it won’t be fair, Ellsbury being treated that way after all he did for the Red Sox, but that’s the way it is. Tickets to a Sox game are among the highest-priced in the big leagues; you put up that kind of money for a baseball ticket and you can boo anybody you damn well please. No, you don’t get to throw stuff. And if you have any civility at all, you don’t cuss in front of the kids.
But boo? Boo Ellsbury? Again, take a look at your ticket. Better yet, take a look at your credit card receipt. If it has your name on it, you go right ahead and boo Ellsbury if you feel compelled to do so. And don’t you let some sports pundit or gasbag talk-show host legislate your emotions.
A whole lot of finger-wagging going on out there.