Nomar Mr Nice Guy

In the Boston Globe story linked in the subject line, Nomar talks about being comfortable playing in L.A. and playing for his former manager, Grady Little. It’s a nice piece, bound to make any of Nomar’s Boston fans feel happy that the former All Star finally seems to have some peace.

It’s no secret that the Boston media hounded Nomar relentlessly while he was in Boston. And when he wouldn’t give them that pound of flesh they demanded, many of them turned on him. They wrote stories about his attitude and about how he didn’t want to play in Boston any more. None of which ever proved to be factual – not that the media in Boston cares about being factual.

Early in 2004, or maybe late in 2003, I had a discussion with one of my ‘sistahs’ about Nomar and the Boston sports media. We were both convinced that if Nomar left Boston, it would be because the press pushed him out.

Little did we know what Theo had planned for the 2004 trade deadline.

I often wonder if Nomar really knows how the fans were affected by that trade. In 2004, the trade deadline was on a Saturday. There had been rumblings about Derek Lowe being traded for Matt Clement…a few people speculated that Nomar would be traded, but no one really believed it. I spent that morning and afternoon online at the Red Sox Fan Forum message board, discussing possible trades while watching ESPN News.

When the news came that Nomar was traded, no one could believe it. And then the tears flowed and people were angry. My mother, my sister and I pretty much cried all weekend long. We didn’t care about the guys we were getting and we didn’t buy Theo’s explanation of ‘improving the defense’. We felt like Nomar was the scapegoat for a struggling team.

Eventually we got over it to the extent that we embraced the guys who came to the team. Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz ended up making sizeable contributions to the team. (Dave Roberts, although acquired at the trade deadline, is usually, incorrectly connected with this trade. Dave’s acquisition was totally unrelated to ‘The Trade’ as it’s still known in Red Sox Nation.) What a lot of us never got over was losing Nomar.

Contrary to what you might hear from the likes of Johnny Damon, Nomar was the last true face of the Red Sox. He was active in the community, he was in commercials, his one word name was a household word. You’d be hard-pressed to find a home in Boston that didn’t have something Nomar-related in it.

SO what makes me so happy about this article in the Boston Globe today? This paragraph:

One of Garciaparra’s ex-teammates in Boston said the Dodgers and Yankees made the same offer, but Garciaparra chose LA because, ”He always considers himself a Red Sox. That’s one thing people don’t understand about Nomar. He would have never signed with the Yankees because he always thought of himself as a Red Sox player.”

That last line says it all. At least for me it does. I follow many ex-Red Sox players, but never Nomar. Some people think it’s because I didn’t like him, but it is quite the opposite. Nomar was such a huge part of my life, I can’t imagine him anywhere else. I couldn’t watch him as a Cub and I have a difficult time watching him as a Dodger. I’ll always believe that “The Trade” was a major reason that the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, but I’ll also always be sad that Nomar, although he has a ring, wasn’t a bigger part of that season.

And now I know that Nomar feels the same way. I can’t wait until he comes back to Fenway (whether with a visiting team or, by some stroke of luck, as a Red Sox player once again!).

Johnny Damon could learn a lesson or two.

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