Sad news from the sports wire: Nomar Garciaparra's gone to the Cubs. Traded for a first baseman from Minnesota and a shortstop
I shouldn't go into anything more about this, because, honestly, others will rail on about it and they'll only do it louder and then some bitter wiseguy is gonna say "good riddance" and there'll be fights and it'll only end in tears and well, we just can't have that right now. We're seven and a half games behind New York and I'm sick of the Yankees Suck hysteria (though I do admit I had a teeny juvenile giggle at the "Posada Is A Little Bitch" t-shirt I saw last weekend) and I'm wondering if I should just stop following the Sox at all and go watch cricket or something. (Actually, I'm serious about that last bit -- I'm intrigued by the game after reading up a lot about it online while bored at work. Any nearby cricket matches I could attend?)
I will share this, though. It is my favorite Nomar memory. It happened at the end of that disastrous playoff series against Cleveland in 1998. It was all about Mo Vaughn back then, our ace hitter, crack first baseman and all-around superstar. Vaughn was about to go free agent and, as rumor had it, wasn't too happy with the Sox management anymore. Mo had performed admirably in Game 1 of the series with two home runs to his credit, but had bogged down in games 2 and 3, and we dropped to 1-2 in the best-of-five series. Then Mo had his chance at the end of Game 4, a home game which we just happened to be losing -- if he could just make the hit with men in scoring position, we might just stay in the series and Mo might just stay with the Sox. I can't remember if we could've tied things up or gone ahead if he'd had a hit, but it was good enough to be a nailbiter over.
But Mo didn't make the hit, the side was retired and the Indians went on to let the Yankees take another World Series victory that year. It hadn't even looked like he'd tried. The entire Boston team slumped into the dugout, dejected and defeated. Now that it was clear Vaughn's career was about to make a change, there wasn't nobody happy at all in Fenway. Well, besides the Indians, I mean.
But one man came back out to say goodbye. Nomar, Rookie of the Year in 1997, stepped up and out and tipped his hat to the fans. That tip said "thank you for a great season" and was the most appropriate gesture that could've been made at that point and time.
Nomar was the only player who came back to acknowledge the fans that evening. I've remembered it every time I've seen him play since. He wasn't just a good player, but he was a gentleman too, and that respect goes a long way. His departure may not be as ignominious as Mo's (or, god forbid, Roger Clemens) but it'll be a loss keenly felt down the road. On the plus side, maybe they'll not put Pokey Reese back as shortstop for a while and let him shine some more. He became a sportscaster favorite during his stint while Nomar was on the DL. Anyway.
I can't figure out how to finish this so I'll just say that hey, I have hot dogs and baked beans for dinner and you don't.