Courtesy: ATS Sports Blog
In 2008 he was picked up cheap as a free agent (only in professional sports is under 1/2 million considered cheap), hit decently for the Durham Bulls and got "the call" on September 8th. Fresh off the plane to Boston, DanJo hit the first of two home runs for which he will be remembered. Then he disappeared.
Not really though, in 2009 the Rays sold him to the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japanese Central League where he earned $1.2M.. 2010 found him a free agent once again. Johnson was a frugal buy and landed back in Durham, having a lack luster season, plagued by injury but somehow getting called back up in August. Once again, DanJo had a notable homerun (Aug 28th walkoff V BOS) but only managed to hit 198.
2011 was his year to prove himself! He looked strong and healed in spring and DanJo made the opening day roster. He was also back to that higher earning bracket. Things were looking up! And he performed dismally.
By the time September 28, 2011 rolled up on him Mr. Johnson knew his time with the Rays was short. He hadn't done his job and was facing an off season spent convincing another team to take a chance on him. Manager Joe Maddon genuinely likes the guy. Who wouldn't? He's not a bad person, he's just not an elite level baseball player.
I can not begin to speculate what was in either of their heads when Joe gave Dan the nod. I do know that by that point in the game, I was sitting up over the Rays tank in the mezzanine by the Everglades Smokehouse with 10 or so others. We had isolated ourselves we laughed, because if we lost we didn't want to be the ones caught crying on National Television.
When DanJo walked out of the dugout there was a collective sigh and eye roll. After a minute of debate we decided it was nice of Joe to give Dan this last show of respect but really dumb to do so at such an important time. We cheered anyways. A few of us held hands and said a quick prayer just in case God had a free moment between really important things like world peace and ailing children.
Then Dan Johnson solidified his position as a Rays legend with the game tying homerun. The group in the mezzanine, knowing how the Rays perform in these situations, squealed, cowbells went crazy then we disband, scattering back into the stands, tears or cameras be damned! Three extra innings ended in victory with Evan Longoria's second home run of the night.
A question being bantered is should Dan Johnson be honored at Tropicana Field and if so how? I say sure, let's do it in a fun sassy way! The Blue Storm is a fine signature drink at the Trop (and if you ask them to hold the ice, it's a really good deal on Friday nights). But hey, let's class the joint up some and come up with a new concoction to honor our favorite Ginger!
muddle some limes to represent what happened to DanJo's batting average over 3 years
ice to soothe the ache
4oz parts dark rum to numb the pain
2oz part ginger beer to honor the nickname
2oz part orange juice to honor the actual color
Give it a serious shake, insert straw and enjoy! The cost would be $100, you get 4 ozs of your drink on opening day 2012 then bring back the souvenir cup on closing day 2015 to obtain the remaining 4 ozs.
I call it the Evan Longoria. For gosh shakes people, Longo hit TWO home runs in one night!! I see no point in honoring someone who hit two all season! Oh and the cost of the Evan Longoria on Friday "party" night, should be $3.33 to represent not only his roster number but what I expect him to hit this season! (You'll dream big too after you've spent 2 hours perfecting the recipe!)http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
I'd pick up his tab if DanJo was across the bar. I'd buy him a sundae if he was in line behind me at Twisty Treat or a couple dozen live shrimp if I ran into him at the bait shop. (That's Johnny's Bait and Tackle, Treasure Island FL & no, I don't get anything for including that. Support YOUR local business!). If I saw Dan Johnson in the street I would shake his hand and wish him the best in his continued MLB journey, that's enough.
Now go read the counter argument. Or if you read both, go vote in the poll.