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  1. #1
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    Boston Globe: Words don't do justice for Garciaparra

    Words don't do justice for Garciaparra
    By Dan Shaughnessy, Globe Columnist, 7/23/2003
    http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/20...iaparra+.shtml

    He turns 30 today. Still hitting .325, still running out popups, still carrying out his obsessive/ compulsive rituals, Nomar Garciaparra is officially done with his roaring 20s and bound for glory in a new decade of life.

    ''To me it's just another number, another day,'' Nomie said before the rains came last evening. ''You move on. I'm fortunate. I look at my life and love it, every minute of it. It's been great. My 20s were awesome. My 20s were unbelievable. Hopefully my 30s are just as great. I know my future's looking great already. Things have changed in my life that are unbelievable and I'm looking forward to it.''

    He hit three homers and knocked in eight runs on his birthday last year. He's never seen a tape of the game.

    ''I don't look back on many games,'' he said. ''It's not me. I have a memory, that's good enough for me.''

    He's in the moment. He doesn't look back and he doesn't look forward. Probably the Red Sox' most popular player, Nomar isn't going to say much about what will happen when his contract expires at the end of next season. He's not like Mo Vaughn, who gave us a Doppler radar update every day. Garciaparra's reluctance to talk about himself, coupled with his sometimes stalking around the clubhouse like somebody just stole his glove, has led many in the media to presume he's unhappy and wants out.

    So, Nomar. Are you happier now than you were last year?

    ''I don't know,'' he said. ''I can't answer that question. It doesn't matter how I answer it. Somebody's going to perceive something. I don't wish to answer it. Whatever. 'Cuz it doesn't matter how I answer it, somebody's going to go out and write that he's not this or that. They're going to interpret anything they want.''

    It has become increasingly clear that Garciaparra loathes the local sports media. This can only make him more popular with an already adoring fandom.

    ''I never said the media was deliberately antagonizing me,'' he explained.

    Fine. But do we impede your work?

    ''I never use anything as an excuse or blamed anything. I'm not going to start now. It's a small clubhouse. I can't get to my things sometimes, I have to talk around people. I have a routine. I don't know what you're getting at.''

    I told him that, in my opinion, we often are in his way. I told him that I sometimes worry that we're interrupting his routine and upsetting his game. Life's got to be hard when you have to eat the cheese sandwich at the exact same time every day. Wapner at 6 and all that.

    ''I don't think you guys do worry about that,'' he said. ''I'm glad you do. My mission, day in and day out, is not to facilitate your job [absolutely true and fair]. My job is to go out there and play baseball and that's all I do. I'm a simple man. People try to figure me out and it's not that complicated.

    ''I'm going to continue playing hard. I've done that my whole life. I love the game. Like I said, I'm simple. You guys try to figure me out so much, I'm like. `Gosh, darn, if you only knew.' I just want to play. I just play baseball and go home. It's not that hard. I grew up, I went to the beach and I played baseball, then I went back to the beach. Simple. Sun, beach, what else is there?''

    One could interpret Nomar's ''sun, beach'' remark as a sign he wants to play on the West Coast. The West Coast has sun and beach. We have clouds and Nantasket. The guy simply cannot win for talking.

    ''I've never said that [don't like Boston]. But somebody will write something that I don't. I don't worry about it.''

    OK, but are there things here you don't like?

    ''It's like that everywhere,'' he said.

    Are there things here that would make you want to leave?

    ''I'm just worried about what I'm doing right now. I'm not worried about anything else. I'm not going to say anything else, I'm sorry.''

    Does the Sox Star System -- big-name players asking for and getting special privilege -- bother you?

    ''Is that what they're saying now? I'm not commenting. You guys are unbelievable. I don't know what you guys are talking about. They're going to assume what? I laugh. You guys assume the way I'm thinking. You guys put stuff in my head or my mind. You guys are going to continue. It doesn't matter what I say. It's nothing to talk about.

    ''My future right now is that I have a game to play and another game tomorrow and I know what uniform I'm wearing. That's all I'm concerned about.

    ''I'm not even worried about [the next contract]. I'm not even thinking about it. It's not even on my mind. I've always said that. I've never said anything different. I don't worry about the business part of my game. I just worry about my game. I've got other good people that worry about that.''

    Garciaparra is a great player, inching his way into the Williams, Yastrzemski Red Sox pantheon. He has more talent than most players and plays harder, consistently, than anyone. Sox fans love the guy. Good pick.

    This is his 10th professional season and his eighth year in the majors. He's still thrilled when he sees people wearing his jersey around ballparks across America.

    ''It's awesome, just unbelievable,'' he said. ''I don't know how to describe it. What a great honor, the fact that someone would want to wear a shirt with your name on it. It's such a huge compliment and honor. I never wore anybody's when I was growing up. We couldn't afford putting `Garciaparra' on the back of a shirt. We had to put `Nomar.' ''

    We're never going to know how he truly feels about this Boston baseball experience. He's giving us his game and that is enough. Enjoy it as long as it lasts. And hope the Red Sox find some way to re-sign the birthday boy. If his 30s are anything like his 20s, Nomar's halfway to Cooperstown and in the middle of one of the great careers in hardball history.

    Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.

    This story ran on page F1 of the Boston Globe on 7/23/2003.
    © Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

  2. #2
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    I'd have to agree that it seems that he wants out. Hopefully the management can change his mind by either changing his environment or giving him a good contract.

  3. #3
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    Just a point of reference:

    Dan Shaughnessy is the anti-christ.

    Everything he writes should be shunned but this article says nothing about Nomar wanting out. Where he plays in 2005 has nothing to do with scenery, weather, the media or anything else. It's about getting the contract that he wants. If the Red Sox give him an acceptable deal he will stay. End of story.

  4. #4
    NYYFans Member Stick Michael's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pedro's cuff
    Where (Nomar) plays in 2005 has nothing to do with scenery, weather, the media or anything else. It's about getting the contract that he wants. If the Red Sox give him an acceptable deal he will stay. End of story.
    A few minor mitigating factors aside I concur with your opinion. If Nomar gets a big contract from the Sox, which he likely will, he'll stay.

    James

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by Pedro's cuff
    Just a point of reference:

    Dan Shaughnessy is the anti-christ.
    Was he the writer that Nomar got pissed off at last year? I seem to remember some incident last year that got Nomar really pissed off.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Carissa
    Was he the writer that Nomar got pissed off at last year? I seem to remember some incident last year that got Nomar really pissed off.
    If I remember correctly, Nomar got really pissed off when a reporter wrote that Nomar called the official scorer to get an error changed, when Nomar said that he didn't do it, and that pissed him off. I'm trying to remember who that might have been, Steve Buckley maybe?

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Jeter&Johnson
    If I remember correctly, Nomar got really pissed off when a reporter wrote that Nomar called the official scorer to get an error changed, when Nomar said that he didn't do it, and that pissed him off. I'm trying to remember who that might have been, Steve Buckley maybe?
    I think that you may be right. Now that I see that name, it looks more familiar.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Stick Michael
    A few minor mitigating factors aside I concur with your opinion. If Nomar gets a big contract from the Sox, which he likely will, he'll stay.

    James
    How big a contract? They've still gotta keep together:

    1. Pedro ($17.5M in 2004)
    2. Manny ($20M average over 8 years)
    3. Nomar
    4. Tek
    5. Trot

    Mueller and Millar are big contributors, but making <$3M, so who knows what they'll make next season.

    All that said & done, they could have some problems affording everybody. I still think that Pedro's insistence that Boston renew his contract when they had until November to do so forced their hand deeper into the pockets.
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  9. #9
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    It was Steve Buckley who not once, but twice has gone after Garciaparra like a rabid dog in the last year. The scorekeeper thing was made up by Buckley based on a rumor and was the beginning of his "run Nomar out of town" campaign. He doesn't have the intellect to know better and is therefore beneath my contempt. Shaughnessy does know better, which is why I heap scorn on him whenever possible.

    They have Mueller on a 2 year deal with an option in 2005. I believe Millar is 2 years with an option in 2005 that is guaranteed if he gets 800 PA's in 03 and 04. Varitek is a FA after 2004 but he will be 33 year old in April of the 2005 season. They're looking at Shoppach as their catcher of the future so he may be ready by 2005. I think their first priority is Nomar over Pedro. They can sign both of them but in order to contend, Epstein will need to plug holes with $2-3 million players who give the team value, like Millar and Mueller. I don't know if they want to pay Nixon 7-8 million. His trade value has never been higher than it is right now though.

  10. #10
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    Cuff, when does Nomar become an FA? After this season or the next? By keeping both him and Pedro happy, if he's an FA next season, how much will he likely get, since Pedro's already scratched in to make $17.5M next season?
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  11. #11
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    Nomar's a FA after 2004. I think they'll make a push to get him signed this winter and not let it become a media circus(which it is bound to).
    I don't think he gets Arod or even Jeter money, but I would guess that H/W/L open the bidding at 5 years/ 15-16 mil per and go from there(option years and performance bonuses etc.). I'm thinking something on the order of what Thome got.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Pedro's cuff
    Nomar's a FA after 2004. I think they'll make a push to get him signed this winter and not let it become a media circus(which it is bound to).
    I don't think he gets Arod or even Jeter money, but I would guess that H/W/L open the bidding at 5 years/ 15-16 mil per and go from there(option years and performance bonuses etc.). I'm thinking something on the order of what Thome got.
    He should be worth that much, but can Boston afford this? Since they spent all that $$$ on Manny and Pedro, and since they saved lots on Millar and Mueller, will they be able to afford all this?

    I'm saying they may have to shortchange somebody, and I'm wondering if he'll be asked to take in the $12-13M range, but at the same number of years (5). Not hoping, just wondering.
    Dr King (1929-68): Make the Dream a Reality.
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    Personally, I think the guy to get shortchanged is Nixon. Whether he does depends on whether you believe this is nothing more than a career year, or that Nixon is one of those guys who matures and is a better player in his 30's than his 20's(see: O'Neil, Paul). I really haven't seen anything to help me make up my mind.

    As to whether they can afford it: of course they can. I read a quote last week(Paul Beeston?) that any accountant can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss and get it approved by every CPA in the country. The money is there.

  14. #14
    R-I-P, Mr. Nelson Mandela Jersey Yankee's Avatar
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    Cuff, thx. I was just wondering before he gets chased out of town, that Theo would allow some fierce bidding war on Nomar.

    I don't know if Trot would get shortchanged or not, but they'd need someone playing out there. Unless Theo can get someone in the $2-5M range, I dunno.
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  15. #15
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    Based on what he's doing this year, Nixon could conveivably get as much as $8 million next year(he makes around $4 mil this year). That's a $37 million starting outfield. That's frightening. If they could unload Damon's deal(Manny's untradeable IMO) that would clear 16.5 over the next 2 seasons. But not a lot of teams want a leadoff hitting centerfielder with low OBP and a below average arm.

  16. #16
    Nomar is a Red Sox that is very very hard to dislike. He does all the right things. I don't understand the whole Buckley & Shaughnessy thing - it's like they have it in for him and I can't understand why.
    "He knew, as he went after that ball, that he had a decision to make," said Tony Clark, who watched the play unfold from first base. "Either you let the ball drop and try to minimize the damage, or you make the catch and pay the consequences. He knew that, no doubt about it, and he chose B."

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