By Eric Neel
Page 2

To all of you making bad caveman and Jesus jokes about Johnny's new 'do, give it a rest.

Johnny Damon
Unless you're coming with some new jokes, leave Damon alone.

To all of you shaking your heads and whispering under your breath, knock it off.

To Michael Kay, the voice of the Yankees, who wrote last week that the Damon mane shows a "lack of respect" for the game and the Red Sox organization, lighten up. Lighten way, way, way up.

To anyone who doesn't see the beauty of this thing, get with it, and consider the following:

1. It's throwback, it's a tribute to players whose big, bold heads roamed the fields of yore; players like Oscar Gamble, Jose Cruz, Bake McBride, Omar Moreno, Al Hrabosky, Bruce Sutter, and the late, great Tug McGraw.

2. It's a team-unity thing. Check out the free improv locks Manny and Pedro are sporting these days. There's some bonding going on in Beantown, and there's no conventional crew cut in T-E-A-M.

SportsNation: Damon's hair
Has Johnny let his tresses grown too long? Is he showing disrespect for the game? Or is it just ... hair. Vote at SportsNation.

  • Caple: Johnny the Baptist
  • All-time all-hair team
  • 3. It's a quiet revolution. No bravado or brass about it. No explanations. Just the hair being the hair without apologies. A little thing called confidence, ladies and gents, a little good ol' fashioned American rugged individualism.

    4. It might just be a whammy killer. Let's put it this way: the Sox have come at the Yanks every which way but shaggy; who's to say this won't be the key to lifting the curse?

    5. It makes Damon a mystery man. Opposing players and fans are looking at him cockeyed, wondering what he's up to. They won't admit it, but deep down in their hearts they're a little afraid of him right now.

    Jack Black
    If there's one thing Dewey and Johnny have taught us -- there's nothing like stickin' it to the man.

    6. Before Damon, major league fashion in the last fifteen years consisted of baggy pants, the horrific onset of purple and teal, and the near-tragic rise of the alternate Sunday jersey.

    7. If you're against Johnny's look, you're on the uptight side of the ghost of Marge Schott in Cincy and the ghost of Walter O'Malley in L.A., and you're hanging with the stiff, forbidding spirit of John Lithgow in "Footloose," and the killjoy spirit of every Catholic school robo-nun with her knickers in a twist and her eye on the dress code bylaws. You don't want that, do you?

    8. Dewey Finn said we should all just, "Give up, just quit, because in this life, you can't win. Yeah, you can try, but in the end you're just gonna lose, big time, because the world is run by the Man. The Man, oh, you don't know the man. He's everywhere ... in the White House ... down the hall -- Ms. Mullens, she's the man. And the Man ruined the ozone, he's burning down the Amazon, and he kidnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! And there used to be a way to stick it to the Man. It was called Rock and Roll, but guess what, oh no, the man ruined that, too, with a little thing called MTV! So don't waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome cause the man is just gonna call you a fat washed up loser and crush your soul. So do yourselves a favor and just GIVE UP!"

    And I used to think Dewey was right ... until I saw Johhny's head roaming free and freakish in the outfield. Now I know Rock and Roll will never die.

    9. Anticipation is sweet. Where's Johnny headed with this head of his? Are there braids in the offing? A ponytail? Will he do it up like Pippylongstocking and drive pitchers out of their minds? Will he wear it to his ankles, like a character out of Dr. Seuss? Or will he shave it off one day without explanation? Forget your wondering if the Sox or Cubs will win the Series, these are the most intriguing questions of the season.

    And 10. It's brave. He knows there's a chance it could mess him up out in the field on some late summer night. A gust comes up, he can't see, he misplays a can of corn into a Yankee triple. He knows his hair could be the next link in the chain of Sox suffering, and that he could be vilified for ruining the dream season. He knows this, and he's wearing it anyway. Like he doesn't have a care in the world. Like a curse ain't nothing but a thing. Is he crazy? Is he tempting fate? You bet he is, and every Boston fan with a beating heart ought to be inspired.

    Eric Neel is a regular columnist for Page 2. His "On Baseball" column will appear weekly during the baseball season.