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Theo: "For a long time, the Red Sox were Nomar Garciaparra"

Mar 10, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

I know it’s his big day down here in Ft. Myers and everything, but I’m gonna call b.s. on this quote by Theo Epstein:

“For a long time, the Red Sox were Nomar Garciaparra”

Nomar was really good in Boston, and often great, but I don’t know that it’s accurate to really say that the Sox were “Nomar’s team” at any given time. Seems that in 1997 it was still Mo Vaughn’s team in a lot of ways.  Between 1998 and, oh, let’s call it 2000, Pedro had quite a claim to being The Man alongside Nomar.  Two things happened in 2001: Nomar spent much of the season out with an injury and Manny Ramirez showed up, raking and acting like a madman.  In 2003 he was joined by David Ortiz.  In 2004, well, we all know what happened in 2004.

I’m not trying to be a jackass about it. Nomar was important to the Red Sox. I just don’t think it’s fair to say that the Red Sox “were Nomar Garciaparra.”

  1. Tom Horton - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Just give Nomar his day won’t you? There will be plenty of time to slam the guy when his name shows up on a HoF ballot.
    For the record, I’m not a Red Sox fan, just a guy who happens to think that giving a nice guy some nice words on the day he retires – however factually inaccurate they are – is something that should just be left alone.

  2. Josh in DC - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    That 1999 team was nothing without Nomar plus Pedro.
    Honestly, I had no idea that two superstars could have that kind of impact on an otherwise lousy team. Jimy Williams must have been an INCREDIBLE manager to coax more than 80 wins out of that team.

  3. tadthebad - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Actually, Craig, that’s how many of us remember it, just as Theo said. While not necessarily 100% factually correct, Boston fans back then really gravitated towards Nomar the ballplayer. Though it was pretty clear that Pedro was the virtuoso SP, people came to think pretty quickly that it was Nomar’s team. I’m certain a huge part of that was the endorsement of Nomar as the next GREAT Red Sox player by Ted Williams, even before Nomar became a great player. Plus, fans tend to think of position players as possessing teams, much moreso than pitchers, imo. When it became clear that Mo was headed elsewhere, it was Nomar’s team, and as RobN pointed out earlier today, his numbers in his first four seasons substantiated this belief.
    That’s how I remember it anyways…

  4. Nick Whitman - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Craig, you only bother to talk about the Red Sox when you’re baiting their fans or waxing hysterical about how they’re supposedly planning to overpay for some small market team’s star.
    You are in absolutely no position to define how important Nomar was to Red Sox fans.

  5. BC - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    Theo’s comment was about as accurate as “For a long time, I was brushing my teeth this morning”. What a twit.

  6. Luis - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Nomar absolutely was the face of that franchise for a good while. Maybe you could argue he was never the team’s best player at any given time, but that’s not at all the same thing.
    .
    And ditto on the comment about fans’ tendency to assign possession to position players rather than pitchers. For example, I don’t think anyone would really argue very strongly against Santana as the Mets’ best player. At the same time, it seems to me that the fans and/or media tend to treat the team as “belonging” to David Wright.
    .
    There may be outliers, but in general I think this is the way it tends to work. Also, given the two examples of Pedro/Nomar and Santana/Wright, some might be inclined to bring up the notion of race (or perhaps more correctly, nationality, in the case of Nomar), but I’m not really so inclined.

  7. JBerardi - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Theo is right. Remember this: http://jonathan.bare.to/fenway/nomarsbetter.jpg?

  8. jwb - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    When I was in Boston in 2003, Garciaparra’s voice was the “Hi, welcome to Boston!” greeting in Logan Airport. That’s not the face of the franchise, that’s the welcoming voice of the city.
    “client cemetary” for me. John Grisham collaborates with Stephen King?

  9. Big Harold - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Gee, I was rooting pretty hard for the Yankees in the late 90s to 2003 and it was pretty clear to me that Nomar was the face of the franchise.

  10. RobRob - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Mo Vaughn signed with Anaheim after the 1998 season, a season after which Nomar finished second in the AL MVP balloting. Pedro was awesome (it was disappointing when he *only* struck out 13-14 batters in a game), but Pedro only pitched once every five days. Nomar was at the plate driving the ball all over the field 4-5 times a game, 140-150 times a summer.

    It didn’t hurt that his counterpart in NY was quickly becoming Cap’n Jetes, Hall of Famer, Yankee for Life. It was all too easy for Red Sox fans to equate the two on that basis alone.

    Yes, Nomar was absolutely the face of the franchise from about 1998 to 2003. Once Vaughn left, that team was his team, no doubt about it. Fans didn’t really sour on him until starting in 2002 when he lost a lot of power and started hitting into a lot of double plays. It didn’t help that he was a non-factor in the 2003 playoffs either.

    But that was 2003. He *was* the Red Sox for the five years before that.

    (Nixon embarked)

  11. Old Gator - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Stephen King would be better off sticking to vampires, changelings and other revenants and one hopes he’s written has last baseball book. I am a sometimes fan of Stephen King and when he gets it right, he really gets it right – like in Misery or Salem’s Lot or Different Seasons, but most of all when he called Blood Meridian the greatest horror novel ever written.
    .
    But let’s face it, his diary of the Beanbags’ first modern championship year was maybe the silliest, most disappointing and most boring account of an earthshaking event since Cal Thomas sought to debunk the K/T meteorite impact. Jimmy Fallon could have done a better job….well no, maybe that’s too severe. But you get the point. He should have written that book about the World Cup instead. People expect books about a bunch of thoracic paraplegics running backandforthandbackandforthandbackandforth to be dull. Hell, with Tiger Woods’ wonderful impersonation of Steve Garvey, he could have written a book about golf, which is only slightly less exciting than plumbing, and it would would have been more interesting.

  12. BChadwick - Mar 11, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    Though I’m a Yankee fan, I’ve lived in Massachusetts all my life and despite the fact that Pedro may have been the most valueble player on the team back then, it’s safe to say Nomar owned New England.

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