Gordon Edes has an interesting article about Nomar Garciaparra in today’s Globe. Of note:
Nomar Garciaparra, having arrived at second base after cracking a double, comes face to face for the first time with Orlando Cabrera, an awkward convergence of memories stinging and sweet, rooted in the same patch of earth.
Look behind the glove shielding Cabrera’s face. He is smiling.
“Nomar congratulated me,” Cabrera would say the next day. “He told me I did a great job. That was it for me, that guy telling me that, the guy I got traded for, telling me I did a great job.
“That was special for me. It was a short moment, but a moment I’ll never forget.”
And most especially:
Just as Garciaparra exhibited grace with Cabrera, he expressed his happiness at what the Sox were able to accomplish in his absence. No, he didn’t watch the World Series, but he said he called ex-teammates, including Jason Varitek, before and after the postseason.
“They were great,” he said. “They called me before they went. I called them. I was cheering them on before they went. I knew they were going to get in there. I was just overjoyed for them, pushing for them, supporting them. I said I was there thinking about them, they said the same thing. It was great. I felt nothing but joy and support for those guys.”
I know he’s not “our guy” anymore and Nomar remains largely an enigma to Boston, and I would imagine, Chicago sports fans. We’ve heard viewpoints from all sides of the story. From Shaughnessy’s belittling and harsh, “He was never your friend,” to Ted Williams’ assertion that Nomar could be the best Red Sox player ever, and we still don’t know what to think.
I made up my mind about Nomar years ago. I decided I loved him. And I still want to. It’s just a more distant love now. I was upset when he was traded but I realize now, in hindsight (which, as they say, truly is 20/20), it was the right thing to do. I don’t know how things would have turned out had the Sox not won it all. I don’t know if Theo would have been burned at the stake for making the trade (something Theo himself fully acknowledges in the Faith Rewarded and MLB World Series DVDs), but I do know that I wouldn’t trade a World Series championship for anything. Not even Nomar. I hope he does well in Chicago. I truly do. I have no ill-will towards him as I’ve come to learn that reports about his selfishness and/or arrogance are either largely imagined or spawned of jealously or one’s own personal agenda. Nomar is and continues to be a hard person to know. That’s just him. He’s not Manny. He’s not Pedro. He’s certainly not Millar. He’s just Nomar. We had eight years to get to know him. I’m not sure we ever truly did. I know one thing for certain about Nomar. He could play baseball. I wish him well, wherever he ends up.