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March 20, 2007

Can The Johnny & Jason Show Go To 11?

Via the Post today -

One of Johnny Damon's great strengths is that he tells it like it is; the center fielder will always offer an honest opinion. When he looks around the baseball landscape, this is what he says about the 2007 Yankees.

"We're the best team," Damon told me. He was quick to add that the Yankees have to go out and prove it this season, which doesn't quite make this a Jimmy Rollins "We're the team to beat" statement.

"But I really like what I see in this team," Damon said.

So do his teammates.

"You want people to feel as though you have the best team," Derek Jeter noted of Damon's comment. "A lot of it is a mindset, and an attitude. You want people to have that attitude, but you still have to go out and perform. We need to back it up, but it's good to have that attitude. I feel really good about this team, too."

When you spend time around these Yankees, you realize they have loosened up from years past and most of that is due to Damon and Giambi establishing their personalities in the clubhouse. In turn, that has helped bring out more of Jeter's personality.

"Now he's got two idiots to take the pressure off of him," is the way Giambi put it. "I think Derek was a great player before, but he's turned into a phenomenal player."

These are not the Yankees, personality-wise, of years past, Giambi said. "I backed off for years," the slugger said of keeping a lid on his personality.

Jeter agreed that things have changed and that Damon's personality is clearly stamped on this team now.

"Johnny is very similar to Jason," Jeter said. "It's good to have guys like that. We have a lot of guys who are loose, and people get looser when the media leaves.

"We have a professional clubhouse. A lot of times people get the misconception that when you say 'professional,' nobody has fun. We still have fun, but when we're playing, we take it seriously."

Back on October 10th of last year, Big Stein said:

"I spoke to Joe Torre today and I told him, 'You're back for the year. I expect a great deal from you and the entire team. I have high expectations and I want to see enthusiasm, a fighting spirit and a team that works together. The responsibility is yours, Joe, and all of the Yankees.'"

Hopefully the Johnny & Jason Show will help the Yanks get that "enthusiasm," "spirit" and team togetherness that has been missing in the Bronx for the last few seasons. These two tried last year - remember the mustache gang? - but it never really took off in my opinion. They're going to have to turn the dial to eleven this season. Here's hoping!

Posted by Steve Lombardi at March 20, 2007 10:03 AM

Comments

This reminds me of the celebration of the Division Title last year, where it was reported that Giambi, Bruney and Damon were taking shots of whiskey after the clinching game to celebrate the title... (I can't find the exact story, help?)

Can it be said that a team who parties/drinks together, stays together... long enough to win? I mean, you have A-Rod/Jeter/Giambi at the same Las Vegas club a few months ago, and with Damon and Giambi, well, you may get to build something between those players...

Hey, anything to help the drive for #27...

Posted by: B(rent) [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 20, 2007 01:06 PM