Tuesday, January 11, 2005


The news, when it came, was a shock. He'd spent so much time with the organization. He played a role in drawing people here. And now, like that, he's heading to the East Coast. What in the world will our church do without our senior pastor?

Oh, what, you thought I was talking about Randy Johnson? OK, a few words…

Randy's now a Yankee. Shawn Green's now a Diamondback.

It's an odd juxtaposition, these two. In reading thoughts and comments from Jon and Rob, it's clear that Dodger fans think Shawn Green is a decent individual, wishing him well personally. The ambiguity they feel on his departure reflects his on-field performance, which could be both stellar and exceedingly frustrating. Randy Johnson's on-field performance, on the other hand, had no ambiguity -- save for his injured 2003 season, he was overpowering. But fans' response to Randy the person was more mixed. There was never any hint that Randy had done something bad personally (and indeed he seemed to be a good community citizen), but D-Back fans never warmed up to him like they did (and still do) to Luis Gonzalez, who has been the fans' favorite since at least 2001. Personality matters very little to me, and so I didn't care about that, but it matters to others.

We've exchanged ambiguous enigmas over the past week. And now those of us who wish that Randy had spent 2005 here -- heck, had finished his career here -- are put in the difficult situation of watching him shoot for his personal goals on behalf of the Yankees. It's enough to give us a case of particularly painful version of Schadenfreude -- joy in the misfortune of others -- called Manhattanfreude: joy in the misfortune of New York. (Yes, I know Yankee Stadium is in the Bronx. But never let facts get in the way of good word coinage.) I don't want Randy to get injured; I don't want to see him miss 300 wins. But should those things -- injuries, insufficient win totals -- come to pass, I'll have to wrap my mind around feeling bad for Randy while feeling happy that the Yankees have some difficult times ahead of them.

But in case I haven't been clear here, thank you, Randy Johnson for your six seasons here in Arizona, for helping the Diamondbacks win a World Series and giving us a perfect game, too. I wish you the best.

(I think I'll probably hold off trade analysis until the rest of the pieces -- Eric Byrnes? Mike Cameron? Shawn Estes -- that one's done, I guess -- fall into place.)

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