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Johnny Damon Free to Wear His 2004 World Series Ring Again

We imagine that, upon reading that Johnny Damon has taken to wearing his 2004 Red Sox World Series ring now that he's a member of the Detroit Tigers, a Yankees fan is expected to react by shaking his or her head, mumbling something about how players these days have no loyalty, and repeating Jerry Seinfeld's old line about how we're really just rooting for laundry.

But it says a lot about the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry that Damon felt he couldn't wear the ring — the symbol of the best moment of his professional career, which he's entitled to wear all day, every day, should he so choose — while playing in New York, and only started to do so when he realized this off-season that he'd be headed elsewhere. He obviously cares a lot about such symbols: He tells the Post he doesn't want to wait until August (when the Tigers visit Yankee Stadium) to receive his 2009 ring; he wants it mailed to him as soon as possible.

Perhaps Damon really did immerse himself in the New York–Boston rivalry, and refused to wear the ring because he considered wearing a Red Sox logo on his person to be unacceptable behavior. (In which case, good for him.) Or maybe he was just afraid that if he did wear it, the Post would snap a photo, put it on the front page (headline: "Red Menace"), and provide an unnecessary distraction. Because they totally would have.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images