The Dan Johnson Era: A Retrospective
Why, it only seems like yesterday that the Rays picked up Dan Johnson. In fact, it was two days ago. My how the time flies. Sadly, the Rays designated the legend for assignment Wednesday. His days, both of them, with the Rays appear to be over. So much has changed in the world. Think back to what the Rays and the world was like when Johnson joined the Rays:
* George W. Bush was in his second term as president.
* Gas cost $3.54 a gallon.
* Popular TV shows were Lost, American Idol and Deal or No Deal.
* Joe Maddon was Rays manager.
And then there's Johnson. As he walked out the door Wednesday for likely the last time, you have to wonder what was going through his head, what memories he held most dear. Maybe it was the time he showed up at Tropicana Field for batting practice and found everything locked. Maybe it was the time he asked someone where the bathroom was. Maybe it was the time he picked up his bags right before he walked out for the last time.
Today is a sad day. An era has ended. The Rays won't be the same. The only comfort we can take is that someday, perhaps even in a new ballpark down by the water, we will all look on the outfield wall and see Dan Johnson's retired number, good ole No. 17. Or 22. Or ... what number did he wear again? The Rays never lost a game with him in uniform. That's the only important thing we need to remember.
So long, Dan, we hardly knew ye. And here are two photos to remember Dan Johnson: