Let me be the first to offer congratulations to our returning hero, Nomar Garciaparra. For one day and mercifully just one day, the beloved greatest shortstop in Red Sox history came back to tout about his huge biceps and bigger ego being stroked. In kind, the Boston sports media eagerly took the opportunity to fellate Mr. Garciaparra after he unceremoniously left his zipper down.
(What an insult to Johnny Pesky and Rico Petrocelli, guys that were actually good and played in a World Series.)
Best shortstop ever. Swish, gargle, swish. The Holy Trinity. Gargle, swish, gargle. Back-to-back batting titles, MONEY SHOT!
For me, it’s pretty simple. If you grew up in Boston or if you’ve been in the area for the last six years, then you know where you were on a special summer night back in ’04. When I say That Night, I’m talking about the night when almost every Red Sox fan decided to like and to respect a certain someone on the Yankees for breaking his face on a seat at Yankee Stadium against the beloved Olde Towne team.
Urban Dictionary says it better than I ever could. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=derek%20jeter
Seriously, did you read that link?…the nail has been hit on the head. By a website that tells you what a ‘bucking bronco’ is. The truth is far richer than fiction could ever be.
Derek Jeter diving into the stands may have been incredibly stupid, but it was insanely brave in a baseball sense. Only certain men can do what Jeter did that night. Mercifully, the “Jeter Swallows” chants went away after 1-July-2004. I’m a Red Sox fan and I’ll proudly admit that Derek Jeter is the best shortstop that I’ve ever seen play the game of baseball. Jeter personifies everything that’s right about baseball and the act of diving three rows deep to catch a foul ball in a Sox-Yankees regular season game will always be his defining moment to Red Sox fans. A tip of the cap to The Captain. And a cap thrown in the dirt against Nomar’s feet.
Let’s not confuse Nomar Garciaparra with athletes that have done something of actual merit in Boston in the last twenty-five years like: Larry Bird, Tom Brady, David Ortiz, Troy Brown, Paul Pierce, Ray Bourque, Kevin Garnett, Curt Schilling, Ty Law, Johnny Damon, Richard Seymour, Ray Allen, and Drew Bledsoe. All of these men listed above have won championships in the last decade.
That’s right, Drew Bledsoe. The Statue of Liberty? Oh yeah, that’s right. He actually led his team to championship game as a starter (unfortunately, Drew didn’t play special teams that night). But more importantly, Drew Bledsoe sacrificed himself at the end of his career when he got hurt. Tom Brady was simply a better performer than Bledsoe as Brady gave his team different things (i.e. mobility, less wild throws) that suited the ’01 roster better than Bledsoe could. Obviously, this happened due to a vicious injury where Bledsoe was lucky to be alive. A sad realization, for sure. But, Drew took it on the chin as he hid his displeasure publicly. It must have been crushing to know a younger guy had come along that was just better than you. However, remaining a team player says a lot about a man’s character when he’s pushed to a lesser role.
The 2001 Patriots could not have won Super Bowl 36 without Drew Bledsoe. Tom Brady went down with an ankle injury in the AFC Championship game. Drew Bledsoe came in and won the game in relief. There is no doubt that without Bledsoe, the ’01 Patriots do not pull off one of the greatest upsets of all time. And a small but integral piece of that team victory is Drew Bledsoe’s selflessness. Sometimes, less is more, as painful as that may be. Bledsoe will forever be remembered as a champion, most importantly.
Sadly, this was not something Nomar Garciaparra ever figured it out as a player for the Boston Red Sox. He was a great player for the Sox and, for about five years, he truly was an elite player. He really could hit the tar off of a baseball. It was refreshing to see a guy pull a ball opposite field to set the table for teammates. Even if it took five minutes to get through an at-bat with those annoying wrist pulls and cleat knocks with the bat. On the field, Nomar produced at an insanely high level for more than a few years. Kudos for the high batting averages.
In spite of his abbreviated greatness, the bottom line is cruel. His number will never be shown with the great Hall of Famers at Fenway Park. He will never go to Cooperstown. And he will never have a World Series ring to show for his efforts even for one season. Nomar never won the big prize. He had his day in the sun, but the sun never rose to its apex it should have for The Golden Boy, Nomar Garciaparra.
If your defining moment is pouting in a dugout when your rival shines over you for being a bruised gladiator, then maybe you’re not significant enough to have a “last day” with the Red Sox. Have fun on ESPN, Ramon. I can’t wait to hear more crappy storylines while actual games could be shown on television. Are you Steve Phillips’ replacement? Such big shoes to fill. Good to see one sleaze bag’s slot filled so smoothly with another. Personally, I just have a gut feeling that everything Nomar’s ever done has been manufactured for the sake of the public. That’s not a guy I want to see on TV. Then again, he should fit right in with Mickey Mouse’s crew. This will not end well on ESPN (nothing ever does). Mark my words. (Gammons got off the ship at the right time.) The people who run ESPN and their talking heads are some of the greatest muckrakers in American society today. It is not surprising that Nomar Garciaparra has joined a gang of intellectual hoodlums. It’s where you belong, Nomar.
Nomar Garciaparra never won the big one. He’s a media creation that now officially is a has-been. Now I want him to go away forever. Sadly, ESPN will make this a far more important story that all the suckers will buy into yet again.