Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Sox honor Nomar
By Gordon Edes
BOSTON -- It was one of the more unusual ceremonial pitches seen at Fenway Park in a while, as the man delivering the ball took two steps to his right, as if he were going into the shortstop hole, and whipped a throw across his body to Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.
Nomar Garciaparra saluted the Fenway Park fans as he heads onto the field to be honored before Wednesday's game.
It was a nice impression of Nomar Garciaparra's signature play when he was here with the Red Sox, and nearly six years after he was traded away, Garciaparra showed he still knew how it was done.
The Sox, who made a public show of their peace-making with Garciaparra when they signed him to a one-day contract in spring training so he could retire as a member of the team with which he began, honored him in pregame ceremonies at Fenway on Wednesday night.
All three Sox owners -- John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino -- were on the field when Garciaparra, who was accompanied by his wife, Mia, their two daughters, and his father and mother, was presented with two Fenway Park seats and an engraved watch.
"Thank you, and I love you," Garciaparra, who wore a Red Sox jersey, told the crowd, which greeted him with a warm ovation.
The Red Sox brought in some former teammates for the occasion, including Garciaparra's close friend, Lou Merloni, Brian Daubach and Trot Nixon, who received a rousing reception.
Garciaparra, plagued by injuries for much of the last decade, announced his retirement this spring and took a job with ESPN as a baseball analyst. "I think people have been surprised by how much I love to talk about the game," he said.
Garciaparra's lifetime batting average of .313 would rank him ninth among active players, just behind Manny Ramirez (.3138).
Be sure to catch the interview with Nomar Garciaparra on the ESPNBoston.com podcast, which will be posted on Monday.