Newspaper article International New York Times

He's a Yankee Now, but Red Sox Fans Spare Ire

Newspaper article International New York Times

He's a Yankee Now, but Red Sox Fans Spare Ire

Article excerpt

Jacoby Ellsbury received nothing close to the vitriol and outright hostility accorded to Johnny Damon in 2006 when he returned to Fenway Park.

Jacoby Ellsbury made his first appearance in the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park three hours before the New York Yankees faced the Red Sox. As he went to his locker to unpack his white batting gloves, he was asked what he thought of the new digs.

He mentioned he had been there eight years before, as part of the Red Sox's rookie development program. He paused and added, "Still looks pretty much the same to me."

He was later told that it was not quite the same -- there was new carpeting. He did not have to mention the biggest change of all -- the locker with the No.22 and the name "Ellsbury" atop it, was next to Brett Gardner's. The previous seven years, he had worn No.46 and No.2 and dressed across the way in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Ellsbury said he was looking forward to his first visit since he signed a seven-year deal with the Yankees on Dec. 7. The arrival, and the Yankees' subsequent 9-3 victory Tuesday behind starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, coincided with all the attention devoted to the Boston Marathon and the plight of the Boston Bruins in the N.H.L. playoffs, so it was not the news media event it might have been in other years when a Red Sox player defected to New York.

"It's a little bit different," Ellsbury said. "I never knew where the visitors walked in."

The fan reaction was predictable, with a smattering of boos when his name was announced as a starter. Derek Jeter's name drew more cheers. But there was nothing close to the vitriol and outright hostility accorded to Johnny Damon in 2006 when he returned after signing with the Yankees. And he played only four seasons in Boston. Ellsbury nearly doubled that, with seven.

Ellsbury stepped into the batting box at 7:11 p.m. after an introduction by the public-address announcer, Henry Mahegan.

There were more boos, some applause, but mostly a collective yawn by the Fenway faithful. …

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