Goodbye, Old Friends

Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.


  1. bklyntrolleyblogger

    remember we used to know exactly who was coming to town every year, every player, every team (before the Marvin Miller Effect took hold?) *sigh*
    that’s a lot of good-byes. The Royals could have spent
    $20Mill on all of them and made a great run at the AL Central! I mean no disrespect to the Royal fans..

  2. rosehof14

    Jane your taking this really well. I don’t know if I would if I was in your situation. Sure it’s not a complete deconstruction of your World Series team, but it’s more than a dent in it. It will sure be interesting to see how everyone’s reaction is going to be IF the Yanks are not in the race come August.

  3. Jane Heller

    After I wrote the post, Mike, I realized it WAS a lot of goodbyes. But that’s what happens when you have free agents you’re not interested in keeping, plus a couple of trades thrown in. You’re right – the Yankees’ castoffs could field a pretty good team.

    I’m taking it well, Cob, because I think there was a good reason the Yanks didn’t hang on to those who left. Well, except for Damon whose bat I’ll miss. Matsui’s too, but his knees made him risky. And it’s not as if we didn’t sign Granderson and the others. It’s just hard to say goodbye to members of a championship team. But, as I said, baseball is cruel!

  4. Jane Heller

    Loved Sweeny’s article, jojovanb. I remember when I was writing the She-Fan book, all the beat writers told me about how Matsui would take them out for dinner during spring training and how a meal with him became a ritual. They also said how funny he was – and how much better his English was than he let on. A real pro. I miss him already.


    Many good-byes. Guess this April will be like all the others, me turning to my husband and saying “Who is that again?” or “Where’d they get him?”

    By the end of the first few weeks, I’ll have the faces and names sorted out and will embrace them all as Yankees.

    Best of luck to our guys who have moved on.



    Thanks for posting the link to that article. It was a nice tribute. I found it notable also that in the MLB interview, Jeter singled Matsui out as someone he’d miss.


  7. swanton7

    They all contributed to the team during their tenure, but the only ones I’ll really miss are Melky and Johnny. Though they weren’t the greatest players ever, they played the game the right way everyday. They’ll be missed.

    At least they were apart of the magical 2009 team.

    Great blog, as always.

    – Brian

  8. irishsoxkid19

    This past offseason has been a strange one. Players going to different teams instead of the team they were with in 2009. Glad to see that you aren’t taking the moves too hard. Trust me, it probably could be worse. Matsui could’ve signed a deal with the Boston Red Sox!! Sorry, had to say that!!

  9. Jane Heller

    Melissa, I can relate to your annual comment to your husband. I’m sure I’ll be confused about the new faces – particularly in the bullpen. Some kids were brought up from the minors. Some were acquired through trades (as throw ins). I won’t have a clue who’s who until I see them a few times. But, as you say, we will embrace them as Yankees – whoever they are!

    Brian, I’ll miss them all in different ways. Wang was such an ace for us at one time, and I really wanted him to make a comeback in pinstripes. Damon was a spark plug in the #2 spot. Matsui’s RBIs speak for themselves. Melky was unique and fun to watch. On and on. But I wish them all the best. Thanks for the compliment!

    Matsui wouldn’t have signed with the Red Sox, Holly. You guys already have a DH named Ortiz, right? But it’ll be tough enough to face him as an Angel. That team gives the Yankees fits as it is!

    I think you’ve got Melky for the foreseeable future, Joe. He’s a good young player who should only improve with maturity. Be good to him.


    Boyz II Men once did a song titled “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” Amen to that. I will truly miss so many of our ol’ boyz, but it happens every year…and now the angst of wondering whether the new faces will fit in begins…yup, sounds like baseball is back. It’s gonna hurt any & every time a Damon or a Matsui does something to beat us, but then again, that door (or bat) swings both ways! We’ll be counting on you, She-Fan, for giving us your unique review of all the New Men for ’10, when you see ’em up close & personal.

  11. Jane Heller

    I guess it does happen every year, Dave. Last year at this time we were all wondering how CC, AJ and Tex would fit in. The answer? Pretty well! I can’t wait to view the New Men for ’10 in Tampa next month. Last year I saw CC pitch, and it was very exciting. Maybe this year I’ll see Vazquez versus Halladay when I go to the Yanks-Phillies game. Oh, wait. Do I really want to see Halladay murder us?

  12. raysrenegade

    Really did not imagine the turnover from last season until you posted this today.
    I knew there was change, but really did not look deep into it all.
    Damon might have picked the worst situation considering he did not hit well in cavernous Comerica Park, but that is not the Yankees concern now, it actually works to their advantage.
    The Rays were hot for him up until the last moment, but he did not want to defer one dollar towards the future.
    I know 2011 will see the same parting for the Rays, and I am not looking forward to it at all.
    Just like a runaway hound, you have to wish them luck and hope they find their way home….some day.

    Rays Renegade

  13. ladyjane303

    Tigers don’t come into the stadium until mid-August. That’s a homecoming I can’t wait to see.
    Word today is that Matsui is having knee issues already. All in all, though he’ll be missed, it was the right move.
    Your line about Ian Kennedy winning the Cy Young is priceless!

  14. Jane Heller

    Yep, a lot of changes this off-season, Renegade. And I’m glad for the Yankees’ sake that Damon didn’t take the Rays’ offer, since we won’t have to face him as often now that he’s out of our division. Don’t worry about 2011. It’s too far down the line. We have this year to deal with and it’ll be a battle as always.

    I’m glad to hear that the Tigers don’t show up until August, ladyjane. I hope Yankee fans don’t boo Damon, but you never know. Yes, I heard about Matsui’s knees. And Ian Kennedy could suddenly morph into Lincecum for all we know!

  15. Jane Heller

    And your point, Joe? The Yankees have a bigger payroll than the Braves. Right you are.

    I’m on the fence about whether Matsui could have DH-ed another year for us, Jason. On one hand, I have no doubt that he’d knock in his usual 100 RBIs, even if he did have to have his knees drained every other day. On the other hand, Girardi will want to rotate position players into the DH spot more and more, to give them a rest, and Johnson is supposed to be the king of getting on base. I guess we’ll see, but I, too, will give Matty a big ovation when he returns.

    I’m not a fan of change, Cat, unless the player really hasn’t worked out. It scares me! But it’s part of the game and we just have to deal with it. It does create more interest, anticipating how the new guys will fit in.

    Congrats on the Dodgers’ big day, Emma – a good reason to yell as you were going downstairs!

  16. joejoe146

    Here is two facts.

    Braves have an outfielder that is better than any outfielder that the Yankees have also known as Matt Diaz. And, the Yankees infield, including Posada has a higher payroll than the whole Braves 2010 payroll.

  17. kozmo

    It is unfortunate but not at all surprising to see that Matsui’s knees are not 100%. I love the guy and always will, but the Yankees had it pegged right that he wasn’t an OF any more. That said, I’d still prefer to see him DHing for the Yankees to Nick Johnson. Maybe they knew his knees were awful. Regardless, he went out with a tremendous flourish, and I cannot wait until he returns to Yankee Stadium; he’ll get a big standing ovation from the Yankee faithful, much deserved.

    Jason from The Heartland

  18. heartruss

    Sigh, I always miss the departing players from the team. The worst was Shawn Green. I almost quit watching baseball altogether when he left the Dodgers.
    I suppose the teams are always in flux which makes the game exciting. No??? That’s what I keep saying. It’s hard to believe that Matsui and Damon aren’t Yankees anymore!!

  19. welikeroywelikeroy

    The Jays already had Bengie Molina at one point. He didn’t work out so well – losing his job to Greg Zaun. It looks like we will need Jose to catch some of these pesky Yankees runners this year (i.e. Granderson, Winn/Gardner).

  20. Jane Heller

    I didn’t remember that the Jays had Bengie Molina, Jeremy. Well, now you’ll have Jose to throw runners out. He’s so solid behind the plate. He just isn’t so hot with the bat – and is really slow, like most catchers.

  21. ryan_lee

    I was really hoping Wang and Matsui would return to the Yankees. (Then again, as an Asian American I guess I’m sort of biased…lol.) I wasn’t too fond of Brian Bruney, so that’s not a huge loss to me…but I will definitely miss the Melk Man. Maybe in the future we can re-acquire him…ah, wishful thinking….

  22. Jane Heller

    I’m with you on Bruney, Ryan, although before he got injured I really thought he’d excel in the pen. Maybe he’ll bounce back with the Nats. As for the Melk Man, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in pinstripes down the road. I bet Cano would be happy.

  23. thefreak

    *cough* HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I see the sweet, beautiful and talanted Jane decided to leave off someone who signed with Cleveland. I really don’t have to say his name out loud do I? It rhymes with Smelly Huncan. LOL


  24. Jane Heller

    Oops. I did leave Mr. Duncan out, Mike. SO SORRY!!!! I guess since he wasn’t with the team for more than five minutes, I kind of forgot about him. My bad.

  25. Jane Heller

    Ah, yes, Scott. Phil Coke. I guess we’ll find out if he’ll be missed when we see how Marte does this year.

    I hope he does well for you too, Mimi. He’s such a pro. Take good care of him for me.

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