Welcome back Nomahhh!
|07.06.09 at 1:30 pm ET|
In case you’ve been living under a rock this past weekend or maybe just consumed with Fourth of July excitement, a Boston icon will be returning to Fenway tonight.
Nomar Garciaparra will play at Fenway for the first time since July 25, 2004 in a 9-6 win over the Yankees. Nomar went 1-for-5 in his last game as a member of the Red Sox at Fenway. Who can forget that fateful trading deadline day in 2004? The Sox were in Minnesota and Theo made the deadline trade that changed Red Sox history. In a multi-player deal Nomar was shipped to the Chicago Cubs for Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and Montreal Expos (we’re dating ourselves) shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Who can forget No. 5 walking down the runway inside the Metrodome with bags packed and head slumped avoiding the media frenzy while Mientkiewicz raced to switch uniforms right before the game.
That was five years ago and now Nomar is back, even if just for three games. At the time there was speculation. Was it a good trade, a bad trade? Would the Sox make the playoffs without Nomar? No one could forsee the outcome of the 2004 season that day. Sports Illustrated claimed the Sox were doomed.
We knew things weren’t good with Nomar and found out just how miserable the man was in Boston, how he hated the media and how much of a downer he was in the clubhouse. Boston turned on Nomar and all but forgot the once iconic figure that played for nine seasons with Boston. He gradually faded away from our memories and was all but forgotten during his three month DL stint with the Cubs plagued by a severe left groin injury. Then he went on to LA for three seasons with the Dodgers joining Manny and Joe Torre. And now he is back in the American League with the A’s.
The Sox may have won the World Series that year but fell into a shortstop stumble in the absence of Nomar using 18 different players to fill the hole after he left. From Cabrera to Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Pokey Reese to Julio Lugo no one could fill the position successfully. Now it’s Nick Green and hopefully Jed Lowrie sometime before the end of the summer.
Nomar comes back to Fenway tonight hitting .257 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 31 games with Oakland. The once revered shortstop has been on the DL twice this season alone and now splits time between first base, third base and designated hitter. Since Boston his career has gone downhill. Way downhill. Not only has he been riddled with injuries but he has batted above .300 only once since 2004 (2006 with LA) while batting above .300 seven times during his nine seasons with the Sox. Why did Nomar hate Boston so much?
Either way Nomar is back tonight. While we may have tried to forget him when Nomar steps up to the plate tonight and we watch that funky pre-at bat wrist bumping, toe tapping, bat kissing ritual it might just feel like a summer night five years ago before that World Series win in 86 years. Tonight Boston will either boo or cheer the name that fit so well with the Boston accent when he steps up to the plate. How could we forget Nomar?
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