Coke wishes he could call Damon
Don’t expect Phil Coke to go for a round of golf with Johnny Damon, but as a teammate with the Yankees last year, he’s a believer in the buzz about what he brings to the club.
“You have to understand something: When you have an opportunity to play on a championship team, there are a bunch of players around the league that have come together on one team whose careers speak for themselves,” Coke said. “I don’t know what your personal opinion is of Johnny, and your opinion might not match mine because you don’t know him like I do. I mean, I love Johnny. He’s an amazing person, on and off the field. It doesn’t matter where he’s at. He’s the same guy. He’s a great clubhouse guy. He’s a great dude to go hang out with, on and off the field. He’s an all-around good guy.”
Coke understands the limitations on Damon, but he also understands what’s at the heart of him.
“He still moves really good,” Coke said. “He has his struggles in the outfield, but that’s because he sacrificed himself year after year for the game. I can’t tell you I’d want anybody else in the clubhouse except for a guy like that. I’ve been told that growing up in the game of baseball — Little League, high school, junior college, guys that are willing to sacrifice themselves for the game, for the team, those are the guys you want to play with. They don’t necessarily have to be the best, but they’re going to give you everything they’ve got, every single day.”
So would he be a recruiter for the Tigers?
“I wish I had his number,” Coke said, “because I’d be like, ‘Hey, man, quit messing around.”