In a sport shrouded by steroid controversies and primadonna stars, it’s nice to see someone like Nomar Garciaparra make a strong comeback.
His career was over. Boston, the city who used to love him, had thrown him out with the garbage (he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a couple of no-names). In Chicago, he was injured all the time. He even tore his groin. Who tears their groin? Seriously, had you ever heard of that injury before it happened to Nomar? I’d heard of strained groins, pulled groins and even groined groins, but I didn’t know it was possible to tear it. Nobody had more bad luck than this guy. And sure, the steroids rumours swirled around him. Maybe he was a juicehead? Maybe he even deserved a torn groin? Maybe his groin ripped because of the steroids? Who’s to say? At this point, you just have to assume that everyone was doing them (except Bernie Williams… because it’s been scientifically proven that people who cover Kansas songs on a classical guitar are physically and emotionally unable to take performance-enhancing drugs). This is how I truly feel.
But let’s get back to Nomar, or as they used to call him up in Beantown, “Nomah”. He was signed in the off-season to be the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman. Something that, at first glance, almost seemed like a dig. Here was this once proud shortstop, I guy who hit .370 one season, being asked to play first base, the ugly duckling of infield positions. Nomar Garciaparra was never a gold glove shortstop but he was also no ugly duckling. In fact, rumour has it that Mia Hamm thinks he’s fairly attractive. (They’re married, in case you didn’t get that).
So let’s talk about Nomar’s year. He started off in a very familiar way: he was placed on the disabled list.
But he didn’t stay there too long; something funny was happening. By the all-star break, he was actually one of the league’s leading hitters. He’s was playing first base in Los Angeles with his former Boston coach Grady Little and former Boston teammate, pitcher Derek Lowe. Something fishy was certainly happening in sunny, southern California. In fact, when Pedro Martinez came to LA with the New York Mets to match up against Lowe and Garciaparra, the date was none other than 6/6/6. And Nomar took Pedro deep in his first at-bat. Strange.
These were Nomar’s final numbers: .303, 20 HR, 93 RBI. Not too bad if you think about the time he missed. He also hit several clutch homers during the final, crucial stretch. And he’s helped get his Dodgers into the playoffs. As a Yankee fan, I never liked Nomar when he played in Boston, but I always respected him (especially the year he hit .370). It’s just nice to see a talented athlete come back the way he has. It’s nice to see the smile because in my heart I can see that smile reflected on the faces of a thousand Californian children and that’s all that really matters.
Steroids in sport? It’s called chitting! Simple as that – and I was always p***ed off when my beloved sports hero turned out to be a doper!