February 26, 2004

Hair's Johnny. Jesus Christ, Charles Manson, Grizzly Adams -- Johnny Damon is hearing them all this spring, thanks to a full beard and shoulder-length hair. Damon clearly favors the Christ comparision -- he entered the Red Sox complex yesterday saying, "Bless you. Bless you all." -- but Manson looks like a better match. Charlie has a stronger throwing arm, but he's a bit of a clubhouse cancer.

Meanwhile, Pedro's thinking about a Royale with Cheese and a somewhat-frizzy Manny Ramirez looks like he's in fantastic shape.

Damon is also 15 pounds heavier, though he says the weight is "solid muscle" and not merely hair. "In my off-season workout, I live on a street where there's 25 mph signs and the cops get you if you go anything over. I'll wait on the side of the street ... late at night. A car starts coming, I'll race it to my house. So I know I can go at least 25. I scare the cars to speed up a little more, seeing a caveman-looking guy, long-haired, running after the car at 10 or 11 at night. ... But you know, I'm gaining weight the right way. I'm drinking beer."

David Heuschkel of the Hartford Courant relates this story about Damon and Ramirez: "Ramirez was standing in a hotel lobby in Texas last season when he was approached by a teammate. 'I had my cowboy hat on,' Johnny Damon said. 'I walked up to Manny and was talking to him. He didn't know it was me.' Damon said Ramirez walked away in the middle of the conversation. Damon learned the next day that he was a total stranger to Ramirez. 'I was like, "Manny, we're talking and then you just blow me off. I was the one wearing the cowboy hat!" He's like, "No, no, no, Poppy [sic]. That wasn't you."'"

Damon also mentioned "devastating" migraines that began every day after the playoffs, usually around 2pm and lasting for more than an hour. He did not say whether they were the result of his collision with Damian Jackson during the ALDS or from Gump's gift-wrapping the pennant for the Yankees. Now clear-headed, Damon added: "We have the best chemistry, the best team, the best pitching. We have the best team out there, hands down."

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