There was a point in time when Nomar Garciaparra was my favorite baseball player alive. And I thought he was the best shortstop around. Argued with various people that he was a better than Jeter, better than A-Rod (remember when he used to play shortstop?). I thought he would lead the Red Sox to the promised land…to that World Series championship myself and the rest of the agonizing Red Sox fan base was so desperate to win. I thought he would spend his entire career as a Red Sox player, get 3,000 hits, have his number retired at Fenway, and make the Hall of Fame.
I forgave him for not being able to hit .360 when he came back from his thumb injury. Put up with all the throwing errors in 2003 and 2004, believing that he would come through when it mattered most. Then he was traded to the Cubs in 2004 (on my wedding day, no less). And while that trade partially led to a that Red Sox World Series championship I was wishing for, there was definitely that bittersweet moment that Nomar wasn’t on the team.
Now I read this and wonder how Nomar could have fallen so far:
In one of the least fan-friendly displays I’ve ever witnessed as a baseball writer, Garciaparra spent the absolute minimum amount of time signing. He never looked up. He never said a word. When fans offered a hearty “Good luck!” or said “You’ve always been my favorite!” he either grunted or pretended the sentiment was never expressed. If someone made the “mistake” of requesting that he sign a ball on the sweet spot, Garciaparra actually went out of his way not to. Though the rope between Garciaparra and the fans was no more than half-an-inch thick, it felt like the Great Wall of China. All attempts at small talk began with a Dodger loyalist’s enthusiasm and ended with the Dodger third baseman’s body language, which screamed “I’m Nomar, you’re not — please don’t touch me.”
Read the whole thing at ESPN Page 2 – Pearlman: No love from Nomar