Wow! Has anything ever meant less? Nomar Garciaparra retired as a Red Sox. Baseball people are lauding this manuveur as if Nomar and the Sox split the atom or cured cancer. There was a news conference and an accompanying announcement that Mia’s hubby was joining ESPN. Nomar last wore the hallowed uniform in 2004. Remember 2004? The Red Sox won a little tournament called the World Series. It was a tough trade to make, sending him to the Cubs, but was later hailed as a brilliant move that helped reverse the “Curse of the Bambino.” Now Nomar got a ring, but he was a faint memory when the champagne corks were popping in October. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve a ring, but I had just as many hits against the Cardinals as he did. Forgettable stops in L.A. and Oakland capped off his 14 year career.
I love the Red Sox. You know I do. After a while you get a little tired of the Public Relations machine, though. Everything is so calculated and orchestrated. Nothing is organic. Are we going to forget that Nomar didn’t play for Boston for the last 5 and a half years of his career. Of course not. It’s strictly a PR move. The Sox look humble for welcoming back the prodigal son. Nomar flashes his “Aw Shucks” smile and all is forgiven. But not forgotten. Nomar goofed when he turned down 15 million a year from Boston in his last contract negotiation. He, as a lot of other players tend to do, overestimated his value. I think we’re all a little too sophisticated to be fooled by this. I defy anyone to be completely honest and tell me what type of reaction you had when you heard. If it elicited any thing more than a very slightly raised eyebrow, there’s something wrong.
There is a certain amount of irony in Nomar working for ESPN. Although it defies my personal experience with Garciaparra, he was notoriously bad with the media. To his credit, he acknowledged it. He didn’t explain it, but he did acknowledge it. I’ve talked before about his stint with the PawSox in 2004. He was delightful. Did interviews happily and fit right in. He and I sat in the visitors’ dugout at Louisville Slugger Field and watched a tornado bear down on the ballpark. He told my soccer-playing daughters that his wife said “hello” and added that he said “Hi” as well. Absolutely a pleasure.
Dean Spanos owns the San Diego Chargers. After releasing future Hall of Famer, LaDainian Tomlinson, he had the nerve to say he hoped LT would retire as a Charger. I’m sure that was a great comfort to the guy who “carried the mail” for San Diego for all those years. It’s been done before and apparently it will continue to be the norm.
The only comfort I got out of this free agent signing, was that it was one more move than the New England Patriots have made this offseason. No matter. I wish Nomar well. I like him.