The Most Hated Man in Boston Tonight

 

 
Steve Nesius/AP

I guarantee when the Tampa Bay Rays head to Boston for their last series of the year against the Red Sox from September 6th through the 8th, there will be one member of the Rays who better have a map handy of the city of Boston when the Rays charter flight arrives at Logan Airport. Because after tonight, Rays Designated Hitter Dan Johnson’s picture will probably be blown up and memorized inch by inch in the minds of every single cab or limo service employee in the greater bean town area.

Johnson had better let someone else hail the cab or rent the limo, because if they see Johnson’s mug, you might just end up seeing the tail lights of that same vehicle as it pulls away leaving Johnson, and whoever else is with him in the cold. Johnson will probably take it in great stride knowing an entire city is right now loathing his existence and wanting a re-do on the pitch that cost the Red Sox a chance to humiliate the Rays. Instead it was the collection of red clad Boston fans who get to leave Tropicana Field tonight as it gives off it’s amber glow.

Some of the Red Sox Nation might have forgiven Johnson for his first instance of displeasing the multitudes that follow the Red Sox way back on September 9, 2008 when Johnson instantly took the breath out of almost every Boston fans both within Fenway Park, or watching on NESN with a blast up and over the Red Sox Bullpen for a game tying Home Run in the 9th inning off the Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. That single moment of Rays clarity in 2008 has also been embraced by a large collection of Rays fans as the biggest Home Run in Rays history…Bar none. And it was done by a guy who fought traffic to get to Fenway Park for the game that night, and was not there in time to start in leftfield.

 
Michael West/ Boston.com

You know more than a few of the Red Sox Nation’s historical fan base were a bit freaked last night when Johnson again got to oppose Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth inning as Johnson dug in at the plate for hi second appearance EVER against Papelbon, Johnson stood at the plate last night with great patience and was rewarded with a walk on 6 pitches to give the Rays a sense of impending hope in the game last night. But it was not meant to be last night for Johnson as Reid Brignac came on to pinch run for Johnson and he was left to watch from the dugout. Last night Johnson could not extract any carnage upon the Red Sox, but tonight was another story. But it did add a sense of revisiting that moment as Johnson stood in the batter’s box tonight.


Johnson’s latest injustice towards Red Sox Nation did not come against the Boston closer, this time it was reliever Scott Atchison who got the unpleasant task of having to turn and watch the ball disappear within the right field stands as the collective 36,973 ( 102% capacity) in attendance either danced or just shook their head in dismay. In that instance, you only had to look at someone’s face to know what team they rooted for tonight. Rays fans were high-fiv’ing and jumping like school kids, while Boston’s local faithful fan only looked for the exits. Johnson had again torn a bit of their Red Sox reality to shreds and this time it will not go down lightly.

 
Steve Nesius/AP

Johnson is a player who despite a .149 batting average has also posted an unheard of .367 On-Base Percentage because of his patient nature at the plate. To rub it in a little more, Johnson as either walked or hit his way on base for the Rays in 14 of his 16 games with the team. You might say that Johnson did tonight what he has done all year long in the minor leagues where he won the Triple-A Home Run Derby, plus smacked out 30 Home Runs in 96 games before being called up on August 2,2010. Johnson was just doing what Johnson is paid to do….Hit the ball a long way.

The only better moment for tonight would have been if Papelbon had been toeing the rubber for this recent Rays/Red Sox venture. But Papelbon was not even warming up in the Red Sox Bullpen at that moment, he was seated on the wooden bench watching that same ball go deep into the stands and the celebration begin under the Trop’s roof. By ending the game in this fashion tonight, it was like a UFC cage fighter knocking you down, then twisting your neck until you passed out. It was a total reversal of fortunes in a matter of 8 pitches before the ball settled 384 feet beyond the Home Plate keystone.

So Johnson had better either have friends in Boston, or find some manageable entertainment options within the region of the Rays hotel during that last series in Boston. Maybe a great option would be to rent a car so that he can just come and go as he pleases without bringing up this second heartache again to the populous of Boston. But I will bet you anything if Johnson is standing at a street corner during that last road series in bean town and there is a puddle of water within range, some cabbie or truck driver will exact a little surgical play back to Johnson for again dashing the hopes of many in that city.

 
Steve Nesius/AP

But then again, maybe it is better that Johnson and the Rays visit Boston almost two years to the day that Johnson first became a curse word on every Red Sox fan on that night in 2008. Being infamous might not get you cabs or even a hearty hand wave, but it will remind you of why Johnson might be one of the most hated Rays in recent memory among followers of the Red Sox Nation, and I think Johnson is okay with that.

 
 
 

12 Comments

Sounds like Johnson is the new Bucky Bleepin’ Dent in Beantown. LOL. It would have been sweeter against Papelbon, but I’m sure you’ll take it. Very exciting game! I was watching the scoreboard and biting my nails!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Dan Johnson might not be to Den’st stature yet in always ruining a good thing in beantown. But then again Aaron Boone did his own type of carnage against them too. Postseason-wise, they are stillthe kings, but in the regular season, Johnson is becoming more of a pest every game.
Ahhh…….scoreboard watching….favorite late Summer pasttime of the contenders.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

That’s great! But the RedSox are coming! The RedSox are coming! I’m not sure how long they can keep this up but while it’s amazing they’re still hanging on…it’s not unbelievable. The Yanks are a very fragile team right now. They have a basket of problems to deal with which they are getting away with for the moment. I think the Rays are right where they need to be heading into Sept. Woo-Hoo!
mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

Mike,
I use the analogy of the Rays being an osprey last night toillustrate just what position we are in right now. As you know an osprey is a bird very familiar to the Florida terrain and sit in as high tree or dwelling spying out just taking in the scene until it dives deep into a body of water and brings upa tasty morsel.
The Rays are the osprey in the tree and are waiting for their chance to spring out and take charge. It might not be tonight, or even for a few days, but when it happens….they might even grow a 2-3 game cushion.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Johnson might be a modern day Mark Lemke.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
A lot of names come to mind when it pertains to people who have been a bug up someone’s behind. Heck, Johnson is just another in the long line of Rays who seem to have the pulse of the other team’s pitching staff.
He might not have lit it up in the majors, but his OBP is up there with the big boys!

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cliff,
Horray for Johnson and the Rays!
Johnson reminds me of how I feel about Carlos Gonzales from the Rockies.
.
Hey wish you were in a different division in the MLB Blogs fantasy league!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

I think your boys hath driven the proverbial stake into the hearts of the Red Sox…or the proverbial fork, as in stick one in ‘em, they’re done.
:^)
–Jonestein
http://jonestein.mlblogs.com

Emma,
I wish the top four players would get to the Winner’s bracket of our Fantasy playoffs…But I like having competition this year. Sucks that I am beating 3 out of the 4 division leaders and I will head to the Consulation round and not get to defend my title.
But, such is life.
CarGon has been an amazing story this year. I had him on my 2009 Fantasy team and was beaten to him this year…But the guy is a budding star, and made Brad Hawpe expendable, and now he is a Ray.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jonestien,
The funny thing is that the Rays have showed they are worried about Boston, but the Yankees have not. Even though Boston and New York will end the season with a showdown of their own, most of the Yankee mirror-checking has been on the Rays.
Boston still might have a run in them, and that is the scary part…But it might be a little too late…But then again, you can’t count out heart.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I was there for the entire series… that was a very depressing night for me. Great blog! I’ll definitely be keeping up with your posts!

Jenn Doll
http://redsoxdoll.mlblogs.com

Jenn,
Always open to having a baseball doll checking out mylittle muses. Come back any time.
If that night was depressing, tonight would have you a bit giddy. Bad night to be a Rays fan hidden amongst the REd caps and large “B’s”.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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