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Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The Pink Hats respond appropriately to a legend's return
If you are a male, around my age (25) that grew up in New England, odds are your favorite baseball player was Nomar Garciaparra. He was a lethal hitter, a slick fielder and a guy that played the game the right way (ie. hustling 24/7) as the old timers like to say.
He was an AL rookie of the year, a five-time All-Star, a two-time batting champion, MVP runner-up and yet since he left the Red Sox his career took a complete U-Turn that few would have ever imagined. Injuries have limited him to a role player and he can't seem to ever stay off the DL.
His path to Cooperstown which seemed inevitable now seems impossible at age 35. Since the Sox made the stunning trade in 2004 and Nomar went to the Cubs, he's bounced from Chicago to LA and finally Oakland.
It's hard to believe that A) it's been five years since the face of the franchise was traded (I remember exactly where I was when I heard that unbelievable news) and B) that he hadn't returned to Fenway again until last night.
Such was the backdrop of last night's Red Sox-A's game. I'm sure Kevin Costner has already bought the rights to some whimsy script about the emotional event.
When Nomar came to the plate in the top of the second against John Smoltz, he received the longest standing ovation I can remember at Fenway. It must have lasted over a minute. It was truly a goosebumps inducing moment.
That was about the only memorable thing from last night as the A's (35-46) completely shutdown the Red Sox (49-33), 6-0 behind the outstanding pitching of rookie Brett Anderson.
In the best game pitched against Boston so far this season, Anderson threw a complete game, two-hitter. He walked two and struck out nine.
To much less fanfare than Nomar, Smoltz was making his Fenway debut in a new uniform and it wasn't a good one. In six innings of work, he gave up five runs on ten hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Nomar (2 hits) actually produced the first run with an RBI single in the fourth. Mark Ellis (2 hits) added a two-run double in the frame and Adam Kennedy (3 hits, 2 RBIs) scored Ellis with an RBI single.
Kennedy made it 5-0 with an RBI single in the sixth which scored newly-acquired Scott Hairston.
Another old friend, Orlando Cabrera (who should have never left) hit a solo homer in the ninth of Takashi Saito.
If the game happens tonight (it's pouring at the moment), Josh Beckett will take the mound for Boston.