Bill Madden had the opportunity to interview Johnny Damon and ask him about wht the book said about his subpar start to the 2007 season. Excerpts of the article are here:
In regard to leaving the team to go home to Orlando and ponder retirement in spring training 2007, Damon explained: “I was really bummed out by the way everything ended for us in 2006 (losing to the Detroit Tigers in four games in the AL divisional series). (Gary Sheffield) being benched, Alex batting eighth, all of that. We’d worked so hard to have it end that way when I felt we had the best team. And then after Cory Lidle’s death, I started looking at things in a bigger picture, being home with my kids after missing all the years of them growing up.”
As for the insinuations by Torre that old guard Yankees questioned his commitment and wanted him out of there, Damon shook his head sadly. “There’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “I talked to (Torre) in what I thought was confidentiality. Joe had a chance to put me on the disabled list. Unfortunately, (Hideki) Matsui got hurt and we were short outfielders and Joe had to keep running me out there when I needed three-four days of rest for my legs. As soon as Shelley (Duncan) came up, that bought me time and over the last six weeks I was able to play much better, and last year was one of my best seasons.”
“I’m in a good place mentally now,” Damon said, “just as I was all last year, and I prefer to remain positive. I’m just not sure what Joe’s motives were for writing the book. His legacy here was assured. What really surprised me was that he wrote it while he’s still managing. Why would any of his players with the Dodgers want to go to him about anything?”
That’s an interesting view. I never thought of that, especially with Lidle’s death affecting Damon. Of course that kind of tragedy would affect pretty much anyone.