Damon digging life in pinstripes

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

The past and the present in Johnny Damon's baseball career are on a collision course.

Mark down May 1 on your calendar. In Boston the day will be an event, more likely a circus, as it marks the day when Damon, the former Red Sox glamour boy, starts in centre field for the hated New York Yankees.

In what can only be described as bad news for the rabid Fenway Faithful, Damon seems to have moved on with his life and is quite comfortable in his new surroundings.

The hair is cut, the beard is shaved and he has made the transition from the Frat House that was Boston to the corporate board room of the Yankees.

"It's no big deal to me, it's a game," Damon said last night of his May 1 date with destiny. "I gave that town my heart and soul for four years, played through a lot of injuries and we accomplished so much as a team.

"I think it's going to bring back fond memories but I'm not really concerned about that day yet."

Damon was more than just the tablesetter for the Red Sox. In the eyes of the Boston fans, he was one of their heroes, one of their gods.

Damon believes the reaction he receives will be mixed, some will still love him, a lot will hate him for his desertion to the enemy.

"I think it will be half and half," Damon said, who last night was 0-for-5 at the plate but in the field made three great up-into-the-fence catches to steal extra-base hits from the Jays.

"I think that a lot of the fans there knew that their front office was kind of in shambles during the off-season. I think people understand that once players get to free agency, it's almost too late (to re-sign them). They saw it the year before with Pedro (Martinez), a guy who was a god in Boston."

To his delight, he has discovered that the chemistry on his new team is far better than advertised.

"It was an incredible feeling that we had in Boston but coming over here and knowing what this team has lacked over the years (in club house chemistry) I think there's a little more personality here now," he said. "It's not just me, they've added a bunch of new faces."


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