Tuesday, July 07, 2009


On Monday night when Nomar Garciaparra stepped up to the plate for the Oakland A's at Fenway Park he was met with a standing ovation that lasted a minute or more. It was Nomar's first return to Fenway since his trade to the Cubs in 2004 during days that for him were far from happy. Nomar, long a hero to the Red Sox faithful, had become something of a malcontent by July 2004. Worse, perhaps, injuries had limited his range and reduced his speed. We could not have known it then, but one of the potentially truly great baseball careers (he was every bit the equal of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, which is easy to forget given the way Nomar's career fell off a cliff) was on an inexorable spiral to the point where Nomar practically had to grovel just to get a chance at a backup spot for the Athletics this season. When healthy, he can still do things with the bat. But the halcyon days of 1997-2002 are a distant memory. Still, Red Sox fans once again reminded the world that when they strip away the bombast they are still the best in sports. Nomar is just another guy now. But last night it was 1999 again and he was the golden boy bathed in the lights of Fenway and the glory of the crowd.

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