Saturday, March 07, 2009

Nomar Garciaparra: An Appreciation

Nomar Garciaparra didn't retire a Dodger, but he'll always be one of the Boys in Blue to many of the Dodger faithful. Three injury-plagued seasons with the team did little to diminish Nomar's popularity in Los Angeles—a feat not many players could pull off.

Nomar's stock was at its nadir during the Red Sox's 2004 championship season, during which he was traded to the Cubs. Yet during his tenure with the Dodgers, Nomar was nothing but a good citizen, exemplified by Nomar's Carne Asada Sundays, when the kid from Whittier threw a party for a small group of fans:

On the field, Nomar's greatest contributions may have been his tenth-inning walk-off home run to end the legendary 4+1 game and, days later, his walk-off grand slam against the Diamondbacks that kept the Dodgers in the 2006 playoff hunt.

Nomar's offensive output declined in 2007 and 2008, but by then he had already cemented his role as a player-ambassador for the Dodgers. (Cast out of Boston only to rehab his image in Los Angeles. Hmmm, where have we heard that lately?)

No matter how Nomar fares in Oakland, the Dodgers would be wise to create a community position for him once he retires. Because Nomar has proven you can come home again.

Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra.


Steve Sax said...

Great piece, Orel. Nomar definitely filled the role of team ambassador well, and he will be missed. I would have liked to have seen him in the lineup more often, and perhaps be a little more of a force restoring order during the 2007 vets-vs.-youngsters meltdown--but all in all, I appreciate his years as a Dodger. Thank you, Nomar.

Now Manny, about those shoes you need to fill...

alsodanlowe said...

Rocco Baldelli will be wearing #5 in Boston this year. I like him, but obviously liked Nomar better, especially in a Dodgers jersey, since it's essentially a home-away-from-home anyway. Nomar, Manny, Lowe, Mueller, Little, and I suppose Loretta now. Seriously.

Drew is cool in the playoffs and all and Saito is going to be insanely comfortable insurance, but maybe one of these days you'll send some of that James Loney love this way.

Delino DeShields, Sr said...

Mmmm.... Hamm