Johnny Damon, At 40 Years Old, Is Rather Sad

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Johnny Damon's 40 years old and hasn't played an MLB game in two years. He still doesn't consider himself retired, however.

Pat Jordan's Sports on Earth profile of Damon is well worth your time if you're curious about what the former Idiot is doing these days, or even if you ever wondered how elite athletes come down from the decades-long high that is success in sports. Despite Damon's age, he's still holding on to the dream of getting one more shot with a major-league team. Meanwhile, he sounds bored to death with parenthood and being an adult. The 40-year-old child isn't yet ready to let go of the locker room, even though he hasn't been in one since 2012.


There are a couple of amusing details in Jordan's piece. We learn about Damon's dad:

"He was a hard man until he stopped drinking and smoking," Damon said, "and then he softened and just watched his TV shows. He didn't work much, was never an athlete." His father let his son grow up without much supervision. If Damon fell and hurt himself, his father didn't comfort him. When he smoked pot as a 12-year-old, his father told him that he'd smoked pot, too, so who was he to tell his son not to do it? His father's only admonition about schoolwork was, "Just don't get D's and F's, and you'll be fine."


That ... actually worked out. Also, we discover that Damon has a special version of "The Last Supper" hanging in his house:

We went inside the mansion into a huge kitchen, which led to a living room the size of a banquet hall in Westeros. There were big flat-screen TVs, a massive bar and barbecue, an arcade room, a wrestling mat, a ping-pong table and a painting that mimicked Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" — Damon takes the part of Christ, and his Red Sox teammates are the 12 disciples. (In Boston, Damon's teammates and fans used to chant, "WWJDD. What Would Johnny Damon Do?")

We must know: Which teammate is Judas?

Damon ends up representing a certain category of ballplayers whose opportunities end before they're ready to go. Too old to play, perhaps not well-suited to coaching or announcing or other work that will at least keep them on the fringes of the only culture they've ever known as adults, they just sort of drift, with no real idea of what to do. For them, the theatre closed before they were ready to end the show.


[Sports on Earth]