Henry Gossip/Soccer Bomb
Update: Players Not Brass Sold Out Secret Soccer Story
Hamm, and Egg on Nomar's Face
Former Sox SS Hurt His Heel Playing Soccer
Garcialiar Told Generations of Nation Tall Tales About Mystery Foot/Ball Injury
Late May 2004: CBS4's Steve Burton interviews Nomar Garciaparra and asks how the shortstop got hurt...
Garciaparra: "I didn't even tell my trainers anything, I was like you...(Burton: "You didn't even tell anybody...) not, not, not when it initially happened, not when it first... (SB: But was it a practice ball that hit you?) I just, ahh during BP, you know balls, you know flying around, walking off and I just got hit, I didn't think much of it and I was like alright, bruise, whatever, you know numerous bruises all (laughing) over my body at the time (SB: Put ice on it) yeah exactly and it was, and it was something I was like 'ahh, just go play, just go play,' yeah it's something there, you work through and I went three four days working through it, wasn't getting any better, one thing you know I don't know what's gonna you know how or whatever but I'll definitely be going out to give it 100%, that's for sure."
DAS BOOT: The Net-Net is Nomar Kicked His Team in Teeth Again
In other news, D-Lowe sees going away party for Garciaparra, starts to imagine his own,
decides to stay in Boston telling Boras "just sign the last goddamn offer right now!!"
GUILT TRIP FOR GARCIALIAR: Baseball Gods Strike Back:
Nomore Goes 0-5 Room .222 for Improvement with BA
Gammons on Garciaparra: "I read the transcript of Schilling's interview, where he said 'this is a no-brainer,' and I agree. Curt couched it politically, and was very careful in what he said, but he said 'you want 30 or 40 games from Nomar Garciaparra the rest of the season or do you want 60 games of Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, and if Schilling said that, and believe me, Schilling voiced what his teammates believe." -- 8.05.04 ESPN's Peter Gammons on WEEI's The Big Show
Where Good Is Not Enough
8.5.04: I had the good fortune today to have a conversation with the director of an Olympic development school educational program. She organizes the athletic and educational programs for several hundred young Americans who compete in gymnastics and figure skating. Some head for Athens and the Olympics. She smiled with pride talking of Olympic champions whose development she had overseen, helping to mold their athletic skill globally with dance, weight, and sport-specific training, and educating them in the three R’s as well as the difficult world of media relations.
We agreed that while you can make an athlete play, you cannot make her care, that is, passion for the game comes from within.
The primary metric of a baseball player, individual achievement, cannot via force of personality create a championship quality team. If it were so, then Carl Yastrzemski’s 1967 Red Sox would have beaten the collectively superior St. Louis Cardinals. Red Sox fans can recite the litany of batting title winners, from Runnels, to Yaz, Lynn, Lansford, Boggs, Garciaparra, Ramirez, and Mueller. Others remind us that 'statistics are for losers.'
For most of his Red Sox tenure, Nomar Garciaparra played as hard as a baseball player can. He will someday likely arrive on the podium in Cooperstown, speaking of the pride and professionalism with which he approached his career. Many great players never win a batting title or win a World Series. No championships graced the Nomar Garciaparra era here, just as none have reappeared in four score and five years.
Still, things changed for the Red Sox shortstop. He missed most of the 2002 season with a serious wrist injury. His overall power, speed, and defense, although superior to the days of the Luis Rivera, Spike Owen, Mike Lansing, and John Valentin, diminished. For reasons unknown, he struggled during the stretch run and playoffs, especially the American League Championship Series in 2003. The first pitch swings, formerly line drives, became popups or just flails.
Call it 'counteroffering' if you want, but Garciaparra rejected the Red Sox monster offer of four years and sixty million dollars. Whether ownership hurt him irreparably with the failed A-Rod trade, or whether he simply tired of being asked to be something he was not (a private man asked to be the public face of the second greatest franchise in baseball) he wanted a change of scenery.
The African proverb says 'it takes a village to raise a child, but a child can destroy the village.' The achievements of the Oakland Athletics of the early 1970s and the 1978 Yankees remind us that a baseball team doesn’t have to be Pleasantville to win. However, Dave Cowens’ admonition that "nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm" also rings true.
Players and ownership always tell us that "it isn’t about the money." Players don’t earn fifteen million dollars in Kansas City, Minnesota, or Timbuktu, not because money isn’t there. The same passion doesn’t exist. Green Bay is the city of millionaires, but not the Baseball Hub. In a country where poverty, homelessness, and medical disenfranchisement still exist, baseball megastars have relatively few locales demanding both excellence and winning, with ownership willing to satisfy their vainglorious quest. From a baseball standpoint, the dollars follow the passion.
Our six-year old nieces and nephews cry after the departure of their idol. Maybe it happens in Minnesota when the Mientkiewiczs, Reardons, and Aguileras move on. Maybe small fry in Dallas mourn the loss of the Siamese basketball twins, Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. I doubt it. Whether Bostonians want to believe it or not, Nomar Garciaparra wanted out of his failed marriage with the Red Sox. We should wish him and his family well. He deserves no less. He too should understand that his candle here had burned down. The Red Sox lost Nomar’s desire not to play, but to care. There is no crying in baseball. Good is not enough in Athens or Baseball’s Athens.
-- Ron S.
OCD and OBP
Hench's Hardball Redux -- 5.3.03: Does anyone remember the old Nomar?
The bigger the situation, the harder he'd hit the ball. Everything was a rope. Or a bomb. Remember those two playoff series against the Indians? Or the ALCS against the Yankees? In 54 postseason plate appearances he has an impossible 1.399 OPS with a .383 BA, .463 OBP and a .936 slugging percentage. These numbers just don't happen in October.
During his back-to-back batting title seasons of 1999 and 2000 I'm sure Nomar popped weakly to the right side on a pitch out of the strike zone a couple of times. I just can't remember it. Now it seems to happen every time he comes to the plate with a runner in scoring position.
Can it all be traced to Sept. 25, 1999 when Baltimore's Al Reyes dotted Nomar on the longitudinal tendon? Nomar played the entire 2000 season with the tendon fraying, hit .372 and, most encouragingly, drew a career high 61 walks. But then the dam burst, the tendon split and all the progress he had made in raising his OBP from .345 his rookie year to .439 in year four was seemingly wiped away. When he came back, he was jumping at the ball, swinging at everything and resolutely refusing to draw a walk as he posted a .352 OBP in 21 games.
But 21 post-surgery games was hardly a fair sample to gauge just how much Nomar had regressed in his hitting approach. So we all waited with bated breath for 2002. He had almost 700 plate appearances last year and walked 41 times, repeating the .352 OBP he had put up in his abbreviated 2001 season. The strength certainly seemed to have returned to his wrist as he piled up 85 extra-base hits, including 24 home runs. But the modicum of patience he was slowly starting to develop over his first four seasons was gone.
Compounding the OBP problem, Nomar was no longer killing first pitches. Why?
Gooooooooal! CBS-4's Bob Lobel Reports That Former
Red Sox Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra Hurt His Achilles Heel Playing Soccer Prior to Coming to Spring Training
"You (Ted Wayman) and I talked about that off the air, I'm not going to report on who he was playing soccer with, because I don't know that. I'm not going to say that." -- Bob Lobel on CBS-4 News/Sports
"At some point, don't be surprised if the Red Sox take legal recourse over this." -- Michael Felger on FSN NE Sports Tonight
Is No more, Nomar, No Mas
a Cause for Celebration?
Or is This the True Cause of Nation Frustration?
The Grim Reality: Sox 10-1/2 Games Behind
New York Yankees and the AL HR Leader.
The 32% Speaks: We were told he had to go.
8.7.04: "We were told that he no longer cared about the Red Sox, and was polluting the clubhouse. We were told he was going to miss 25-30 games after he expressed his desire to rest a couple times during a six-game turf trip in Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
On Friday night, the Red Sox sent out Orlando Cabrera batting third, and Doug Mientkiewicz batting seventh vs. former 21-game loser Mike Maroth and the Detroit Tigers. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs sent out Nomar Garciaparra batting second vs. Cy Young favorite Jason Schmidt and the San Francisco Giants.
Cabrera and Mientkiewicz combined to go 0-9 with no walks, the only two members of the Red Sox lineup not to reach base. The Red Sox left 19 men on base en route to a 4-3 loss, and almost half of them -- 9 -- were stranded by Cabrera and Mientkiewicz. Meanwhile, Garciaparra had three hits against Schmidt, including two doubles, and finished 3-4 with a walk. Though the still took their first defeat with Nomar, he showed that it takes special talent to hit special pitching.
For the "No More Nomar" crowd, the rest of this season is a win-win. If Nomar plays poorly in comparison to Cabrera, the trade justifies itself. If, however, Nomar's production continues to dwarf Cabrera's as it has for seven years, the No More Nomars will simply say that Garcialiar would have dogged it for the Sox, had to go, and was only motivated to perform by their trade of him. Sounds like Dan Duquette to me.
The truth is that Nomar Garciaparra loved the fans of Boston a lot more than he loved the management and media, but those two have joined forces to influence the shaken Nation against their former star, who this season was the same lonely soldier he had always been, with less romanticizing and more villifying of his quirky ways.
This weekend in San Francisco, Nomar will take a day off to rest his Achilles. If we're lucky, so will Cabrera."
Mike Mitchell Branford, CT
Lobel Blows the Cover off Nomargate at 6:20pm on CBS-4