Johnny Damon

Johnny David Damon (born November 5, 1973) is a former American professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1995 to 2012. In his MLB career, Damon played for the Kansas City Royals (1995–2000), Oakland Athletics (2001), Boston Red Sox (2002–05), New York Yankees (2006–09), Detroit Tigers (2010), Tampa Bay Rays (2011) and Cleveland Indians (2012). Damon also played for the Thailand national baseball team and was a member of the squad for the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon on June 28, 2012 (cropped)
Damon with the Indians in 2012
Outfielder
Born: November 5, 1973 (age 45)
Fort Riley, Kansas
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
August 12, 1995, for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
August 1, 2012, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average.284
Hits2,769
Home runs235
Runs batted in1,139
Stolen bases408
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Damon was born in Fort Riley, an Army base in Kansas.[1] His mother, Yome, was a Thai immigrant to the United States, and his father, Jimmy, is an American of Croatian and Irish descent.[2] They met while his father, a staff sergeant in the United States Army, was stationed in Thailand. Damon spent much of his infancy as an "army brat", moving to several bases from Okinawa, Japan, to West Germany before his father left the army and settled the family in the Orlando area while Damon was still a pre-schooler.[3]

Damon was a quiet child, largely on account of a stutter. "My thoughts just raced ahead of my tongue," Damon said of his problem. "I'd sing songs as therapy, and I got better, but I still just kept quiet most of the time."[4] He played in South Orange Little League as a child. Damon attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando when during his senior year in 1992, he was rated the top high school prospect in the country by Baseball America, was named to USA Today's High School All-America team, and was the Florida Gatorade Player of the Year. Damon also played football in high school, once getting hit by Warren Sapp and sustaining the first concussion in his life.[5]

Playing career

Kansas City Royals (1995–2000)

Damon was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the first round (35th overall) of the 1992 amateur draft. He made his Major League debut on August 12, 1995 after playing the previous season with the minor league Wichita Wranglers. He played for the Royals from 1995 to 2000. He scored 104 runs in 1998 and 101 runs in 1999. One of his best seasons came in 2000 when he led the American League in runs with 136 and stolen bases with 46, as he was second in hits (214), at bats (655), and plate appearances (741).

Oakland Athletics (2001)

Damon spent 2001 with the Oakland Athletics. In a three-way trade involving the A's, Royals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the A's received Damon along with pitcher Cory Lidle from the Devil Rays and second baseman Mark Ellis from the Royals. He was third in the league in at bats (644) and seventh in runs (108).

Boston Red Sox (2002–2005)

Johnny Damon
Damon at bat for the Red Sox in spring training 2005

On December 21, 2001, Damon signed a four-year, $31 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.[6]

In 2002, he led the league in triples (11) and was third in infield hits (25), becoming the first player selected by the fans in the inaugural American League All-Star Final Vote.[7]

On June 27, 2003, Damon became only the second player in MLB history since 1900 to record three base hits in an inning, when he did so against the Florida Marlins.[8][9] During Game 5 of the 2003 American League Division Series, Damon collided head-on with teammate Damian Jackson while both players were attempting to chase down a pop fly. Damon suffered a severe concussion and had to be removed from the field on a stretcher. Jackson was also concussed, but was able to walk off the field with assistance.

In 2004, Damon was second in the league in runs (123) and began to re-establish himself among the premier lead-off hitters and center fielders in the game. In arguably his best season in the Major Leagues, Damon batted .304 with 20 home runs and 94 RBIs and showed improved patience at the plate. According to his autobiography, he was only the fourth leadoff batter in the history of Major League Baseball to drive in more than 90 runs in a season. Damon batted a torrid 7-for-15 during that year's Division Series against the Angels[10] but struggled in the ALCS against the Yankees, going only 3-for-29 from the plate through the first six games.[11] In Game 7, Damon hit two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, to lead the Red Sox to the pennant. In the World Series, he also hit a home run as the Red Sox won the series against the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-game sweep.

Through his four-year career with the Red Sox (2002–2005), Damon appeared in 597 games (590 in center field and seven as a designated hitter)[12] and hit 56 home runs.[13] Of his 2,476 at bats, 2,259 were as leadoff hitter. Damon batted second in the lineup for 156 at-bats in 2002, accounting for nearly all of the rest except for occasional pinch hit. He started two games as the third hitter in 2004, and in 2005, he had 624 at-bats, and all but three as the lead-off hitter. He also earned his second All-Star selection, starting as the American League's center fielder.[14] He led the AL with 35 infield hits,[15] and matched the 35 doubles he had hit in 2004.[13]

New York Yankees (2006–2009)

On December 20, 2005, Damon signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the New York Yankees.[6] The Red Sox stood firm on a three-year contract and chose not to negotiate against a five-year deal proposed by agent Scott Boras.

Damon's signing with the Yankees led to his being subsequently vilified by many Red Sox fans because of his previously professed loyalty to the city and Red Sox organization, including his now infamous statement in May 2005, where he claimed, "There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need."[16]

As the Yankees have a strict dress code for players forbidding both long hair and facial hair beyond neat mustaches, Damon had his shoulder-length "cave man" hair cut and beard shaved on December 22. Damon, who had a clean-cut appearance until his third season with the Red Sox, had been planning on cutting his hair and shaving his beard off even if he didn't sign with the Yankees, but waited until after he signed with them in order to prevent speculation.[17][18][19]

The following season, in a pivotal five game series in August between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park, Damon went 3-for-6 in each of the first three games, including a doubleheader on August 18, and a game on August 19. Damon hit two home runs, drove in eight runs, and scored eight runs in the first three games as the Yankees won by a combined score of 39–20 and dealt a severe blow to the Red Sox 2006 play-off aspirations.

In 2006, Damon finished 3rd in runs (115) and 9th in stolen bases (25) in the AL, while hitting 24 home runs, his career high. He also tied his mark of 35 doubles from the previous two seasons.[13] He was only one of 4 players in the major leagues to hit at least 24 home runs and steal at least 24 bases.

Johnny Damon by Keith Allison 3
Damon with the Yankees in 2008

On June 7, 2008, Damon went 6 for 6 in the Yankees 12–11 win over the Kansas City Royals, including a walk-off ground-rule double, which had bounced over the wall. He is the first Yankee to have six hits in a 9 inning game since Myril Hoag accomplished the feat in 1934.[20] Damon said in a post-game on-field interview that this was his first walk-off as a Yankee.

The Yankees placed Damon on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his MLB career on July 6, 2008 with a bruised AC joint in his left shoulder. The injury occurred a day earlier when Damon collided with the outfield wall in an attempt to catch a triple. At that time, Damon was one of only three active major league ballplayers who had played at least 10 years in the majors without going on the disabled list. He returned to active duty, and hit 27 doubles for the season.[13] Damon hit 53 home runs in his three complete seasons with the Yankees.[13]

On July 27, 2009, Damon hit his 200th career home run against the Tampa Bay Rays' Brian Shouse. For the 2009 season, he batted .282, and tied for the lead among American League left fielders in errors (with 5), while he was 4th in the league in runs scored (107).[1]

Johnny Damon hit a home run in Games 3 and 4 of the 2009 ALCS, defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 6 games. When the Yankees went on to play the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series, Damon got credit for stealing two bases in one play when the Phillies defense was shifted against batter Mark Teixeira. Damon got his second championship ring as the Yankees would eventually defeat the Phillies in 6 games.

Damon, after winning his second World Series, entered free agency after the 2009 season despite expressing his desire to return to the Yankees.[21] He insisted that the Yankees not even make him an offer, however, unless they pay him at least the $13 million he earned for the past four years.[21] As a result of his contract demands, the Yankees signed 1B/DH Nick Johnson to a one-year/5.5MM deal, despite Damon lowering his salary demands at the last minute.[22] The Yankees then signed outfielder Randy Winn to a one-year $2 million[23] deal which essentially closed the door on Damon's return to the Bronx.[24]

Detroit Tigers (2010)

JonnyDamon2500
Damon batting for the Detroit Tigers in 2010

On February 22, 2010, Damon agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. On April 14, 2010, he recorded his 1,000th career RBI against the Kansas City Royals. On May 1, he hit a walk-off home run against Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Scot Shields at Comerica Park to win the game 3–2. On July 6, Damon recorded his 2,500th career hit off Jake Arrieta of the Baltimore Orioles, and hit a walk-off home run off David Hernandez, giving the Tigers a 7–5 win. For the season, he batted .271,[25] and became a free agent at the end of the season.

Tampa Bay Rays (2011)

Johnny Damon 2011
Damon during his tenure with the Rays in 2011

On January 21, 2011, Damon agreed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays also signed his former Boston Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez in a package deal suggested by agent Scott Boras.[26][27] Also reunited with Damon was former Red Sox player Kelly Shoppach.

Manager Joe Maddon said he expected the 37-year-old Damon to often be replaced by Sam Fuld during the season late in games that the Rays are leading.[28] After Ramirez's abrupt retirement, this would be moot as Damon primarily would play as the designated hitter.

On April 16, 2011, Damon had the game-winning hit for the fifth consecutive game for the Rays, two of which were walk-off hits. On June 29, 2011 Damon tied Ted Williams for 71st on the all-time hit list with 2,654 hits. The hit came at Tropicana Field in the bottom of the 6th inning. On July 2, 2011, Damon went 4-for-4 and his first-inning single moved him past Ted Williams on the all-time hit list. He would finish the season 57th all-time with 2,723 career hits.

In Game 1 of the ALDS, Damon hit a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning off Texas Rangers starting pitcher C. J. Wilson to give his team an early 2–0 lead. The Rays won the game 9–0, however they eventually lost the best-of-five divisional series 3–1.[29]

Cleveland Indians (2012)

On April 12, 2012, Damon signed a one-year minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians for $1.25 million (and an additional $1.4 million in incentives).[30] On May 1, Damon was called up to Cleveland.[31] He made his debut on May 2, batting leadoff against the Chicago White Sox.[32] He finished the game 0–3 with a walk.[33] Indians manager Manny Acta dropped Damon to seventh in the batting lineup after going 4–29 in the leadoff position, including 2 hits in his last 18 at-bats.[34] On June 26, in a game against the Yankees, Damon became the 52nd player in MLB history to amass 2,750 career hits. Heading into the All-Star break, Damon had 35 hits in 163 official at-bats and was hitting .215 in 50 games.[35] On July 20, Damon tied a season-high with three hits versus the Baltimore Orioles.[36]

Damon was designated for assignment on August 3, 2012.[37] He was released by the Indians, along with pitchers Derek Lowe and Jeremy Accardo, on August 9.[38]

Damon finished his career with 2,769 hits, placing him 54th on the List of Major League Baseball career hits leaders.

His first year of eligibility for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum came in 2018 where he joined a notable group of first-time candidates, including Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel. He only received 8 votes, or 1.8% of the voting ballot, and was dropped from future consideration.

Free agency (2013–2015)

Damon hoped to be signed for 2013, and offered the Yankees the opportunity to sign him to a contract for the league's minimum salary as a replacement for the injured Curtis Granderson, also expressing a willingness to be released once Granderson returned. The Yankees indicated that they were not interested in signing Damon. Damon remained unsigned for all of 2013, and did not play.[39]

In late 2013 and early 2014 Damon indicated a desire to keep playing, in part to have the opportunity to attain 3,000 hits. (He needed 231 to reach that goal.) He told members of the media that he has stayed in good physical condition and hoped to receive invitations to spring training.[40][41]

Damon did not receive any offers prior to the start of the 2014 season. In a May 2014 interview while in Boston to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Red Sox 2004 World Series championship, Damon indicated that he has no plans to officially announce his retirement, even though he acknowledged that he will likely not play in the major leagues again. He also stated that he still wants to play, has continued to stay in good physical condition, and could play if given the opportunity, saying "I feel like if a team calls me, I can be ready. If I play tonight, I'll hit a homer."[42] On June 22, 2014, he played in his first New York Yankees Old-Timers' Day.

A July 2014 press report indicated that Damon still hoped to play again in the major leagues. According to the story, in June Damon completed an impromptu session with a batting practice pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, who was impressed enough to suggest that the Phillies should consider signing him.[43]

On August 4, 2014 Damon gave an interview with the WEEI-FM radio show "Middays with MFB" and indicated that while he wants to still play, no teams have expressed an interest, and "those days are over".[44]

According to press accounts in December 2014, Damon hoped to play in 2015, and his agent told a reporter "If you ask Johnny, he'd love to come back."[45]

Awards

  • 1993 – Midwest League All-Star OF
  • 1994 – Carolina League All-Star Royals Minor League Player of the Year
  • 1995 – Baseball America 1st team Minor League All-Star, KC Royals Minor League Player of the Year, Texas League All-Star & Most Valuable Player, AA All-Star, and AA Player of the Year
  • 2000 – KC Royals Player of the Year
  • 2002 – All-Star (Inaugural AL All-Star Final Vote winner)
  • 2005 – Baseball America 2nd-Team All-Star, AL All-Star
  • 2009 – TYIB Award: Best Postseason Moment

Other appearances

In 2005, Damon wrote Idiot: Beating "The Curse" and Enjoying the Game of Life with Peter Golenbock.

Damon contributed backing vocals to Dropkick Murphys' 2004 single "Tessie."

Damon hosted WWE Raw on December 21, 2009.[46]

Damon participated in the Celebrity Apprentice competition in the spring of 2014 in New York City. The shows that he filmed were part of the 2015 season of the show. He was eliminated from the show on the episode which aired on February 2, 2015.[47]

Damon appeared on the Animal Planet show Tanked.

Damon appeared on MTV Cribs where he gave a tour of his home near Orlando, Florida.

In April 2018, Damon was announced as one of the celebrities who will compete on season 26 of Dancing with the Stars. He was partnered with professional dancer Emma Slater.[48] He was eliminated on the first episode, and he placed in 9th place.

Personal life

A-Rod Damon
Alex Rodriguez and Damon

Damon has had two marriages and has fathered eight children. Damon married his high school sweetheart, Angela Vannice, in 1992 when he was 19. They had twins (a son and a daughter) together in 1999[49] before divorcing in 2002. In 2004, Damon married Michelle Mangan, who gave birth to their first daughter in 2007.[50] Damon and Mangan welcomed their second daughter in 2008.[51] Mangan gave birth to twin girls in June 2012. In April 2015 they welcomed their fifth daughter.[52] Damon and Michelle had their sixth child, a son in 2016.[53]

Damon and his family reside in Windermere, Florida. While with the Yankees, Damon and his wife lived in Cresskill, New Jersey.[54]

He is active with the Wounded Warrior Project, which works to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women.

Damon was one of the victims of the $8 billion fraud perpetrated by convicted wealth manager Allen Stanford.[55]

Damon spoke at a rally in Florida during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and also chanted in support of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.[56]

See also

References

  1. ^ Johnny Damon Bio JockBio.com
  2. ^ Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game By Rob Ruck retrieved September 15, 2013
  3. ^ Johnny Damon on IMDb
  4. ^ Rodrick, Stephen (April 3, 2006). "Johnny (Idiot) Damon Is the Yankees' Most Likable Savior In Years". New York. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  5. ^ "JockBio: Johnny Damon Facts".
  6. ^ a b "Johnny Damon from the Chronology". BaseballLibrary.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  7. ^ "Major League Leaderboard". Fan Graphs. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  8. ^ Karpinski, David. "Sweet Memories – When Cotton Candy and Lemonade Picked up a Save and Johnny Damon almost Record a Cycle in One Inning". baseballroundtable.com. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "Marlins vs. Red Sox Box Score". ESPN. June 27, 2003.
  10. ^ "2004 AL Division Series - Boston Red Sox over Anaheim Angels (3-0) - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  11. ^ "Boston Red Sox - Team blessed to have Damon - The Boston Globe". archive.boston.com.
  12. ^ "ESPN – Johnny Damon Stats, News, Photos – New York Yankees – MLB Baseball". Sports.espn.go.com. November 5, 1973. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  13. ^ a b c d e Chuck, Bill (April 2, 2009). "100 random things about the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  14. ^ "ESPN – Johnny Damon Stats, News, Photos – New York Yankees – MLB Baseball". Sports.espn.go.com. November 5, 1973. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  15. ^ "Baseball Leaderboard". Fan Graphs. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  16. ^ "Boston Might Not Like Johnny Damon Anymore". Blogcritics.org. Archived from the original on January 25, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  17. ^ Hack, Damon (December 24, 2005). "Damon Begins the Short-Haired Portion of His Career". The New York Times. p. D1.
  18. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. (December 24, 2005). "Yankee Cut No Big Deal For Clipper". The New York Times. p. D5.
  19. ^ "Damon in N.Y. with shave, haircut, more than two bits". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 23, 2005. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  20. ^ "Six Hits in One Game by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  21. ^ a b Kepner, Tyler (August 18, 2009). "Damon Feels Like Staying, and the Yanks Seem Willing". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  22. ^ Kepner, Tyler (December 18, 2009). "In Signing Nick Johnson, Yankees Turn Johnny Damon Away". New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  23. ^ Adam Bernacchio (January 27, 2010). "New York Yankees Sign Randy Winn, End the Johnny Damon Era in the Bronx". Bleacher Report.
  24. ^ Kepner, Tyler (January 28, 2010). "Its Farewell to Damon After Yanks Sign Winn". New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  25. ^ "Johnny Damon Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  26. ^ Brown, David. "Red Sox reunion! Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon sign with Rays". yahoo.com. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  27. ^ "Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon excited to join new-look Rays". mlb.com. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  28. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields eager to get on the mound — St. Petersburg Times". Tampabay.com. Archived from the original on April 27, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  29. ^ "Shopp talk: Batterymates overpower Rangers — MLB.com". Tampabay.rays.mlb.com. September 30, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  30. ^ "Johnny Damon's new deal official". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 17, 2012. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  31. ^ Hoynes, Paul (May 1, 2012). "Damon on Indians roster for White Sox series". Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
  32. ^ "Here's Johnny:Indians sign outfielder Johnny Damon".
  33. ^ "Santana, Hafner homer as Indians beat White Sox". Associated Press. May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  34. ^ "Fantasy Player News & Updates". Indians.com. May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  35. ^ "Johnny Damon stats". MLB.com. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  36. ^ "Box Score Orioles at Indians – July 21, 2012". SportsIllustrated.CNN.com. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  37. ^ "Indians recall OF Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Columbus".
  38. ^ Gleeman, Aaron (August 9, 2012). "Indians release Johnny Damon". NBCSports.com. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  39. ^ Doug Rush, Bleacher Report, New York Yankees: Johnny Damon Looking for Reunion with Bombers in 2013, February 25, 2013
  40. ^ CBS Sports Radio, Johnny Damon: 'This Red Sox Team Is Very Together', October 24, 2013
  41. ^ Hayden Kane, MLB Free Agency: Johnny Damon is Still Interested in Playing, January 12, 2014
  42. ^ Kyle Brasseur, ESPN Boston, Red Sox Report: Damon Enjoying Life, Won't Call it Retirement, May 28, 2014
  43. ^ ESPN.com, Johnny Damon: 'Ready' for comeback, July 4, 2014
  44. ^ WEEI.com, FORMER RED SOX OF, JOHNNY DAMON, SITS DOWN WITH THE GUYS OF MFB, 8-4-14, August 4, 2014
  45. ^ Birenbaum, Jonah (December 28, 2014). "Scott Boras: Johnny Damon would 'love to come back'". The Score.com. Score Media Ventures.
  46. ^ WWE Article On Johnny Damon Hosting RAW WrestleZone.com
  47. ^ Nate, Scott (November 4, 2014). "Johnny Damon to join the cast of 'Celebrity Apprentice'". USA Today.
  48. ^ "Adam Rippon, Tonya Harding and more superstar athletes to face-off in Dancing With the Stars season 26". ABC News.
  49. ^ "The Official Site of The New York Yankees: Team: Player Information : Biography and Career Highlights". Arod.mlb.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  50. ^ "WHDH-TV – Sports – Damon, wife welcomed baby girl". .whdh.com. Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  51. ^ Johnny Damon awaits fourth child, second with wife Michelle : Celebrity Baby Blog Archived April 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ Sheldon Ocker. "Indians report: Johnny Damon returns after birth of twin daughters". www.ohio.com.
  53. ^ "Tanked: Johnny Damon is Expecting the Unexpected". Animal Planet. Archived from the original on April 27, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  54. ^ Staff. "The Rumble: Off-the-ball look at your favorite sports celebrities", New York Post, September 27, 2009. Accessed February 21, 2011. "With a downstairs living section in their Cresskill home, Damon and his wife, Michelle, welcomed the Robertsons in."
  55. ^ Torre, Pablo (March 29, 2009). "Why Do Pro Athletes Go Broke?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  56. ^ Shanahan, Mark (November 3, 2016). "Johnny Damon comes out swinging for Donald Trump". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 8, 2018.

External links

Preceded by
Albert Belle
American League Player of the Month
July 2000
Succeeded by
Glenallen Hill
2000 Kansas City Royals season

The 2000 Kansas City Royals season involved the Royals finishing 4th in the American League Central with a record of 77 wins and 85 losses.

2001 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 2001 season was the team's 34th in Oakland, California, and the 101st season in franchise history. The team finished second in the American League West with a record of 102-60.

The Athletics entered the 2001 season with high expectations. Much of the excitement stemmed from the team's trio of promising young starting pitchers (Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson); after a strong showing in 2000, many expected the Athletics' rotation to rank among the American League's best in 2001. The signing of additional starter Cory Lidle during the 2000-01 offseason helped solidify the rotation's back-end. On offense, the Athletics were loaded; sluggers Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, and reigning American League MVP Jason Giambi comprised the core of a powerful Oakland attack. The addition of Johnny Damon, acquired in a three-way trade for Ben Grieve, promised to add a new dimension to the Athletics' offense. A strong bullpen (led by Chad Bradford, Jim Mecir, and Jason Isringhausen) rounded out Oakland's roster.

These high expectations quickly evaporated. The Athletics stumbled out of the gate (winning just two of their first dozen games); while their play nominally improved over the first half of the season, they failed to build upon the momentum of their division-winning 2000 campaign. The rival Seattle Mariners, in stark contrast, raced to a historic 52-14 start. As expected, the offense performed well; Oakland was instead hamstrung by unexpectedly terrible starting pitching. At the season's midpoint, the A's boasted a sub-.500 record (39-42); they trailed the division-leading Mariners by some 21 games.

The Athletics responded with arguably the most dominant second half in modern MLB history. Over their final 81 regular season games, the A's went 63-18 (a record since the league switched to a 162-game schedule); this included 29 wins in their final 33 games. The Athletics' maligned rotation returned to form; over their final games, Zito, Mulder, Hudson, and Lidle went a combined 48-10. On July 25, the Athletics acquired slugger Jermaine Dye from the Kansas City Royals for prospects; this move further energized the already-surging squad. The Athletics ultimately weren't able to catch up with Seattle (which won an AL-record 116 games), but their remarkable run allowed them to clinch the AL's Wild Card. The Athletics' 102 wins remain the most by a Wild Card team in MLB history.

The Athletics faced the New York Yankees (the three-time defending World Series champions) in the ALDS. Oakland took the first two games, but unraveled after a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in Game 3, in which Jeremy Giambi was infamously thrown out at the plate after a relay throw was flipped by Derek Jeter to Jorge Posada; they would lose the series to the Yankees in five games. At the end of the season, Oakland would lose Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, and Jason Isringhausen to free agency; this would set the stage for the events portrayed in Michael Lewis' bestselling book Moneyball (and the film by the same name).

2002 Boston Red Sox season

The 2002 Boston Red Sox season was the 102nd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East with a record of 93 wins and 69 losses, 10½ games behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox did not qualify for the postseason, as the AL wild card was the Anaheim Angels who had finished second in the American League West with a record of 99–63.

2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 73rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues that make up Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers of the NL. The game controversially ended with a 7–7 tie due to both teams running out of available pitchers. Beginning the next year, home field advantage in the World Series would be awarded to the winning league to prevent ties (this rule would stay until 2016).

No player was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award due to the game ending in a tie. The roster selection for the 2002 game marked the inaugural All-Star Final Vote competition (then known as "The All-Star 30th Man" competition). Johnny Damon and Andruw Jones represented the American and National Leagues as a result of this contest.

2002 Major League Baseball draft

The 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft, was held on June 4 and 5.

It is featured in Michael Lewis' 2003 book Moneyball.

2003 American League Championship Series

The 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was played between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees from October 8 to 16, 2003. The Yankees won the series four games to three to advance to the World Series, where they lost in six games to the National League champion Florida Marlins.

2004 American League Championship Series

The 2004 American League Championship Series was the Major League Baseball playoff series to decide the American League champion for the 2004 season, and the right to play in the 2004 World Series. A rematch of the 2003 American League Championship Series, it was played between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, at Fenway Park and the original Yankee Stadium, from October 12 to 20, 2004. The Red Sox became the first (and so far only) team in MLB history to come back from a 3–0 deficit to win a seven-game series. The Red Sox, who had won the AL wild card, defeated the Anaheim Angels in the American League Division Series to reach the ALCS, while the Yankees, who had won the AL East with the best record in the AL, defeated the Minnesota Twins.

In Game 1, Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina pitched a perfect game through six innings, while the Red Sox recovered from an eight-run deficit to close within one run before the Yankees eventually won. A home run by John Olerud helped the Yankees win Game 2. The Yankees gathered 22 hits in Game 3 on their way to an easy win. The Yankees led Game 4 by one run in the ninth inning, but a steal of second base by Red Sox base runner Dave Roberts and a single by Bill Mueller off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera tied the game. A home run by David Ortiz then won it for the Red Sox in extra innings. Ortiz also won Game 5 with a single in the fourteenth inning. Curt Schilling pitched seven innings in Game 6 for the Red Sox, during which time his sock became soaked in blood due to an injury in his ankle. Game 7 featured the Red Sox paying back New York for their Game 3 blowout with a dominating performance on the road, anchored by Derek Lowe and bolstered by two Johnny Damon home runs, one a grand slam. David Ortiz was named the Most Valuable Player of the series.The Red Sox would go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, winning their first World Series championship in 86 years and ending the Curse of the Bambino.

2009 American League Championship Series

The 2009 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 2009 American League playoffs, was a best-of-seven game series matching the two winners of the 2009 American League Division Series. The AL East Division champions, the New York Yankees, defeated the AL West Division champions, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, four games to two, to advance to the 2009 World Series, their first since 2003.

This was the third time that these two teams faced each other in the playoffs. They met in the 2002 ALDS and 2005 ALDS with the Angels winning both series by 3–1 and 3–2.

New York, with a better regular-season record than Los Angeles, held home-field advantage. The series, the 39th in league history, began on October 16 and ended on October 25. Fox Sports carried all games with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth. Starting with the 2009 season, weeknight games began 40 minutes earlier as suggested by Commissioner Bud Selig.The Yankees won the series four games to two, and went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 4–2 in the World Series.

2009 World Series

The 2009 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2009 season. As the 105th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff contested between the Philadelphia Phillies, champions of the National League (NL) and defending World Series champions, and the New York Yankees, champions of the American League (AL). The Yankees defeated the Phillies, 4 games to 2, winning their 27th World Series championship. The series was played between October 28 and November 4, broadcast on Fox, and watched by an average of roughly 19 million viewers. Due to the start of the season being pushed back by the 2009 World Baseball Classic in March, this was the first World Series regularly scheduled to be played into the month of November. This series was a rematch of the 1950 World Series.

Home field advantage for the Series went to the AL for the eighth straight year as a result of its 4–3 win in the All-Star Game. The Phillies earned their berth into the playoffs by winning the National League East. The Yankees won the American League East to earn their berth, posting the best record in the Major Leagues. The Phillies reached the World Series by defeating the Colorado Rockies in the best-of-five National League Division Series, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the AL Championship Series (ALCS) to advance to their first World Series since 2003. As a result of their loss, the Phillies became the first team since the 2001 Yankees to lose the World Series after winning it the previous year.

Cliff Lee pitched a complete game in the Phillies' Game 1 victory, allowing only one unearned run, while Chase Utley hit two home runs. In Game 2, solo home runs by Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui helped the Yankees win by a score of 3–1. After a rain delayed start, Game 3 featured more offense, with a combined six home runs and thirteen total runs en route to a Yankee victory. The Yankees won Game 4 by scoring the decisive three runs in the ninth inning after an alert base running play by Johnny Damon. The Phillies avoided elimination with a win in Game 5, aided by Utley's second two–home run game of the series. The Yankees secured their World Series championship with a Game 6 victory in which Matsui hit his third home run of the series. He was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series, making him the first Japanese-born player and the first full-time designated hitter to win the award; Matsui was the series' MVP despite starting only the three games that were played at Yankee Stadium, since the designated hitter position is not used in NL ballparks.

Several records were tied, extended, or broken during this World Series, including team championships (Yankees with 27), career postseason wins (Andy Pettitte with 18), career World Series saves (Mariano Rivera with 11), home runs in a World Series (Utley with five), strikeouts by a hitter in a World Series (Ryan Howard with 13), and runs batted in in a single World Series game (Matsui with six).

Duke Castiglione

Joseph "Duke" Castiglione Jr. (born June 21, 1973) is an American news anchor for WCVB-TV Boston’s NewsCenter 5 weekend newscasts. He was the sports journalist, Sports Anchor for WNYW Fox 5 Good Day New York in New York City. He also was the host of Sports Extra on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. Before WNYW, he worked as a fill-in sports anchor and reporter at WHDH-TV, the now-former NBC affiliate in Boston. He also worked at WCBS-TV CBS 2 in New York, where he was the weekday morning sports anchor until 2006. His first New York job was hosting Sports on 1, a nightly call-in show, for the NY1 local network, beginning in 2000. He has also guest hosted several television and radio programs for ESPN, including Sports Center and Around the Horn, and was a field reporter for ESPN's baseball coverage during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

He began his broadcasting career at WGGB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts. Castiglione has landed a number of key breaking news interviews, including one with Joe Torre on the day he was rumored to be fired and the first one-on-one with Johnny Damon when he joined the New York Yankees. He is a recipient of the Associated Press award for Best Sports Show and two Black Journalist Awards for his interviews with Lawrence Taylor and Bernard King. He graduated from Stonehill College in 1996.

Duke Castiglione grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts, where he spent time as a substitute teacher at the town's high school. He is the son of Boston Red Sox lead radio commentator Joe Castiglione.

Emma Slater

Emma Louise Slater (born 25 December 1988) is an English professional dancer/choreographer. She is best known for her appearances on Dancing with the Stars.

Infield shift

The infield shift in baseball is a defensive realignment from the standard positions to blanket one side of the field or another. Used primarily against left-handed batters, it is designed to protect against base hits pulled hard into the gaps between the fielders on one side.

Laz Díaz

Lazaro Antonio Díaz Sr. (born March 29, 1963) is an umpire in Major League Baseball. He joined the American League's full-time staff in 1999, and has worked in both major leagues since 2000.

His professional umpiring career began after he attended the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School in 1991. He worked his way up to the International League for the 1995 season. Díaz was one of the 22 umpires promoted to the major leagues in the wake of the Major League Umpires Association's mass-resignation strategy in July 1999. Prior to his professional umpiring career, he served in the Marine Corps Reserves. Díaz was attacked by an intoxicated fan while umpiring first base in a game at Comiskey Park in April 2003. The fan, Eric Dybas, a self-described Cubs fan, had attended a game at Wrigley Field earlier in the day and had been drinking all day. Laz easily stifled the attack, and the fan was later sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and one month of probation for aggravated battery.Díaz was the second base umpire when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record. On July 23, 2009, Díaz was the third base umpire for Mark Buehrle's perfect game.

He has worked the World Series in 2007 and 2017, the American League Championship Series in 2009, 2015, and 2016, and the Division Series in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2013, and 2014. He also umpired the All-Star Game in 2000 and 2010.

Díaz is featured in Pepsi commercials with the Detroit Tigers' Johnny Damon, the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer and broadcaster Gary Thorne.

On Sunday March 7, 2010, Díaz was inducted to the Cuban Hall of Fame.

During a game on May 30, 2012, Díaz got into an unusual argument with New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin. According to Martin, Díaz punished the catcher for disputing the strike zone by not letting him throw new baseballs out to the pitcher (a preference of Martin's) and claiming that this ability had to be "earned." MLB Executive VP for Baseball Operations Joe Torre spoke to Díaz and Martin about the incident, but Martin said he does not expect any disciplinary action for either man.MLB selected Diaz to officiate its 2014 Opening Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia from March 20–23, 2014.

Thailand national baseball team

The Thailand national baseball team is the national baseball team of Thailand. They have competed in numerous international competitions, including the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, and the Baseball World Cup. The team is organized by the Amateur Baseball Association of Thailand.

In 2007 the Thailand national baseball team won the Southeast Asian Games and they finished in third in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games. The Thailand national team competed in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in the fall of 2012.

Johnny Damon, active until 2012, was the only player in major league baseball with a connection to Thailand. His mother is Thai.

As of Sept 2016, Thailand's men's team is ranked 26 by the World Baseball Softball Confederation. In women's baseball, Thailand is unranked.

The Apprentice (American season 14)

The Celebrity Apprentice 7 (also known as The Apprentice 14) is the seventh installment of the reality game show, Celebrity Apprentice. Despite this season having long concluded filming in early 2014, it premiered on Sunday, January 4, 2015. As a result of the significant time between the season's filming and its airing, numerous spoilers were released. The season aired more than a year and a half after the conclusion of the previous season. This was Donald Trump's final season as host as he was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger amidst Trump's campaign for the U.S. Presidency in advance of the 2016 election.

Shortly following the death of Celebrity Apprentice 2 winner, Joan Rivers, Trump revealed that Rivers was one of his advisors for two episodes of this (then-upcoming) season (specifically as a judge in episodes 4 and 6).The season had 16 cast members. Leeza Gibbons was the winner, while Geraldo Rivera was the runner-up.

Wichita Wranglers

The Wichita Wranglers were a minor league baseball team based in Wichita, Kansas. The team, which played in the Texas League, was the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres from 1987 to 1994 and the Kansas City Royals from 1995 to 2007. The Wranglers played in Wichita's Lawrence–Dumont Stadium. Built in 1934 and renovated for the second time in 2001, the park held 6,400 people as of the Wranglers' last season.

Following the completion of the 2007 season, the team was relocated to Springdale, Arkansas, where it became the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, which continued to play in the Texas League.The Wranglers won the Texas League Championship in 1987, 1992, and 1999. In 1995, Wichita's Johnny Damon won the Texas League Player of the Year Award. Alex Gordon won the award in 2006. Andy Benes was selected as the league's Pitcher of the Year in 1989.

Wilmington Blue Rocks

The Wilmington Blue Rocks are a Minor League Baseball team located in Wilmington, Delaware. The Blue Rocks play in the Northern Division of the Carolina League.

Yasuhiko Yabuta

Yasuhiko Yabuta (薮田 安彦, Yabuta Yasuhiko, born June 19, 1973) is a Japanese former baseball pitcher. He competed in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and struck out Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, and Derrek Lee.

Yabuta made his professional debut with the Marines in 1996, and spent 12 years with the organization. He served as a setup man for the Marines in 2007 recording a 4–6 record with a 2.73 ERA in 58 games. After the season, he declared his free agency and came to America to pursue a Major League Baseball career. On November 22, 2007, the Kansas City Star reported that the Kansas City Royals agreed with Yabuta on a two-year contract with a club option for 2010.Yabuta officially signed with the Royals on November 28, 2007. He signed a two-year, $6,000,000 deal with the Kansas City Royals. The deal included a $4m club option for a third year. Yabuta was sent down to Triple-A Omaha Royals on June 25, 2008. He was designated for assignment on August 2 and was eventually sent outright to the minors. He was brought back to the Royals when the rosters expanded on September 1.

His teammates on the Royals have given him the nickname "Shake."On November 24, 2009, he signed a one-year deal with his old team Chiba Lotte, and he has remained with the team since.

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