Baseball Thinking

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It’s Clear About Nomar Garciaparra

I read the MLB news notes recently and found a tidbit that was far too common. Dodger first baseman, Nomar Garciaparra, found his way back to the DL on Opening Day. It appears he pulled a rib muscle the day before, swinging away. I don’t claim to be a member of the medical profession, but I find it curious that all of his muscles seem to be detaching themselves from the bones in his body. My, what could this be related too? Bad bone structure? Not enough milk mustaches? Maybe soccer training with Mia? Call me skeptical, but I think, and I am going way out on a ledge here, but it might be, could be, possibly be related to the juice. Yes, that juice. As I mentioned, I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV. Let’s just call it a hunch. NESN (New England Sports Network) recently had a show featuring Jerry Remy bloopers, and Nomah was in one of them. He was a skinny shortstop, really skinny. In literally weeks one winter, he put on 35 pounds of muscle and adorned the cover of SI. Hmmmmmmmm. Call me skeptical.
Don’t get me wrong, I was with all of you screaming “Nomah” at Fenway. I still have his 1999 All Star shirt stashed away in my extensive sports collection. But come on. You can’t feel bad for this man. How bad can you feel for a guy who’s made more than 50 million clams during his career? What did he spend this money on? I think it’s “clear”. This is the same guy who reportedly turned down 60 million smackers at the end of the 2003 season. What a bonehead move that was by his agent, Arn Tellem. Irrational thinking. He will never come close to that figure as his career winds down exponentially. He has played in only 143 games since the end of the 2003 season.
One distinctive moment that stands out for me is during a Sox/Yankee’s game in 2004, the same night when Derek Jeter and Garciaparra defined who they are. That moment happened on a warm July evening at Yankee Stadium, in a 13 inning masterpiece. You know the game. During the 12th inning, Derek Jeter raced from the shortstop position into foul territory, diving into the stands to make a catch and coming up bloody. That same evening featured a sulking Garciaparra sitting in the dugout, refusing to pinch hit for his manager. That is the lasting memory I will have of Garciaparra, as he was traded 30 days later to the Cubs. And yes, he missed almost half of that season due to his wrist injury.
The next time, if there is a next time, Garciaparra is on a televised ballgame, take a close look at him. Watch his bat speed. See if you can hear the hissing as his nostrils flare or see the tiny horns growing out of his head. And when he swings, listen to hear what pops out next. As the roid investigation continues, we should see his name crop up once or thrice. The truth is clear.


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