Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Revisionist History

Think Shaughnessy can write a column on Derek Jeter without mentioning Nomar Garciaparra?

It's been more than two years since "Nomie" was the regular Red Sox SS, yet The CHB recalls those happy times like they were yesterday -- and never forgets to mention how Garciaparra watched while Jeter carelessly threw himself into the Boston stands chasing a popup.

"That was the play that ultimately made Boston realize that Nomar Garciaparra (he was sulking on the bench when Jeter put himself in the hospital) had to go," asserts The CHB. Revisionist history aside, that would be the same Garciaparra who finished in the top 11 of the MVP race six times; the same Garciaparra who was hitting .321 and slugging .500 when he was traded; the same Garciaparra who was clearly hurt that season (he was on the DL three times all told) and has spent a career fighting injuries both major and nagging; the same Garciaparra about whom Nick Carfado presciently wrote in June 2004:

Nomar Garciaparra just wants to play. Boston's All-Star shortstop is tired of the stories -- some new, others that have been around for years -- that always seem to crop up when his name is mentioned.

Some of those tales include whether Garciaparra purposely delayed his return from a recent Achilles' injury as a message to management, either in response to not receiving a contract extension or lingering bitterness over the offseason pursuit of Alex Rodriguez. He's tired of people speculating about property he's thinking of buying or selling.
Overall, it's quintessential CHB, overrating the significance of a single game in order to back up a dubious hypothesis. Who's next up for the CHB Love Machine? Brian Doyle?


koot said...

Dan's so brave now! Once again, I'll reference "Idiot" by Johnny Damon, where he explains that, after Shank wrote his famous Nomar has to go article, that Shank did not show up in the clubhouse for two weeks, until Nomar was safely traded away to Chicago and couldn't hurt Dan.

Maybe Dan doesn't realize that Nomar's in NY now for the Mets series. If you're reading this Dan, that's only a few hour drive. Better hide.

And, that makes me wonder, what would Shank do if Nomar were to approach him one day? It's a given he'd simultaneously urinate and deficate himself at the mere site of the angry Nomar, but, what happens after that?

Shawn said...

To be fair, I, along with thousands of others of people DID think that Nomar was done in Boston at that point. Let's face it, he *hated* the media and fan attention. (Was Dan part of that, yes). He did not like being in Boston.

What excactly is revisionist about his statements?

Do I think Nomar was upset about the pursuit of Slappy? Yes. Do I think he stretched out his rehab? Yes. He never came clean about how the Achilles injury occured.

What I do object to (one among many) is the part about Jeter "putting himself in the hospital" like he knocked himself silly and was in a coma for a week. A couple facial abrasions don't qualify for a hospital mention.

The Chief said...

Shaughnessy was hands-off of Nomar for his entire career leading up to that Yankees series, and even then was extra-cautious about slandering the Sox SS. Why? Because he knew the fans wouldn't stand for it. But now that the Sox have a WS win under their belt and memories of Nomar are fading, he can take his best shots.

As Carfado (who actually went near the dugout once in awhile) made clear, Nomar was hurt, and everyone from Theo Epstein on down concurred.

Nomar played part of one season with a broken wrist. I think he showed his grit -- not that Shaughnessy would ever acknowledge that.

To sum: The CHB ignores the numerous stints Nomar spent on the DL and his own lengthy praise for the ex Sox infielder. That's why it's revisionist history.

And Shawn, I don't know why Nomar would have to explain how his Achilles became injured to the fans or the media. It's really none of our business.

Shawn said...

I should revise what I said - there were many things about being in Boston that Nomar hated. I believe that, were he still on the roster at the end of the season, he would not have been re-signed. I believe that privately, Nomar had very mixed feelings about being traded, but ultimately he was relieved to be gone.

Shawn said...

It was a tendon and tendon sheath injury, not a broken wrist.

As long as the injury to the Achilles didn't stem from anything prohibited by contract, you may be right, it may not be our business. But there were conflicting stories about how it occurred coming from the Garciaparra camp - and that certainly makes people question what was going on. Why obfuscate?

I don't begrudge Nomar. Honestly, I hope he wins a ring with the Dodgers. Well, I would if that didn't mean that Grady would win one and Bill Plaschke would forever be trumpeting the supremity of the human spirit over statistics and computers.

Aug. 1, 2004 (pre-championship):
"Thank the baseball god, he's gone. We no longer have to watch Nomar Garciaparra pretend that he cares about the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox."

Warranted? I don't know. But it was much more of a blast than anything he wrote in this Jeter column. And he was certainly not being cautious about calling Nomar "damaged goods" and advocating his trade on July 3 of that season.

And from what can see, Shank never said he should go because of his skills, but because of the attitude. Ryan and others took a more mellow approach to addressing the issue, but everyone concurred that neither side was happy with the relationship.

It had to end. We got a World Championship out of it. I can live with that deal.

The Chief said...

Shawn, my reference to the broken wrist had to do with the HBP Nomar sustained in 2000, not the subsequent (and different injuries) he endured in 2004 (and beyond).

Here's what Shaughnessy wrote about Nomar on June 10, 2004:

"He has played hard for every inning of every game since he first got called up at the end of the 1996 season. . This is a guy who hit .372 in 2000. He's got the name, the game and the fame to put him in the Ted/Russ/Bobby/Larry Pantheon. All he needs is longevity. Too bad he won't be playing here long enough to take a seat with the elite."

Hardly a rip job there. Once Nomar was traded, though, he was freed to bash him, and 2+ years later he still hasn't stopped.

shawn said...

The wrist injury was sustained Sept. 25, 1999 when Nomar was plunked by Al Reyes. The injury nagged at him in 2000, robbing him of some power. It wasn't until spring 2001 that the injury worsened and surgery was finally required to shave part of the tendon sheath so that the inflamed tendon could move easier.

Again, Shaughnessy never questioned the man's skills, love for the game or determination. Even in his column the day after Nomar left town, he praised him:

"No one ever played harder, or gave more, to the Boston Red Sox and the citizens of Red Sox Nation than Nomar Garciaparra. He was probably the most popular Sox player since Ted Williams, and rightfully so; no player was more worthy of your applause."

What he has questioned, and some believe rightly so, was Nomar's desire to play for a team with whom his relationship had irreparably soured. Shank's tune has never changed on this since July 3, 2004.

Revisionist history would be if he had comdemned the trade then, and praised it now.

The Chief said...

Shawn, you got the dates right, of course. I had to look up which season he missed all the games was, and when I saw he played 140 in 2000, I assumed it was the end of that year that the injury happened.

But that is just more proof that Nomar is a tough SOB, and not the sulking wuss on the bench The CHB makes him out to be. He played 140+ games with an wrist that was so damaged that it eventually required surgey and cost him nearly an entire season.

Furthermore, CHB's revisionist history has nothing to do with the trade itself. It has to do with his effusive praise of Nomar before it, and his trashing of him afterward.

shawn said...

"Tough SOB"
"sulking wuss on the bench"

Why are these mutually exclusive? There were four years in between. What changed in that time?

* Nomar turned down a 60 million dollar contract extension
* Nomar injured his Achilles
* The Red Sox tried to trade for a better shortstop
* Nomar soured on the Boston media attention
* Red Sox were purchased and Nomar disliked the front office (related to previous item, and other things)
* Probably other things I can't remember off the top of my head.

I never said Nomar wasn't tough. If I experienced the excruciating pain of tearing my groin apart, I'd probably get in a wheelchair and be afraid to take another step again. But by the time of the Yankees game, he had already played in 17 games that season (and then played in the next nine, up until the ASB). To ask him to bat in the 11th or 12th inning of that game to avoid being swept by the Yankees and falling 8.5 back? I don't think that's asking too much.

To me that says, "I'm not putting my future on the line for this team." I remember watching that game. He sat there expressionless when the Sox took the lead in the 13th. Everyone else was on the top step of the dugout.

Shank never once disparaged Nomar's contributions to the team in the past. His criticisms (and his was not a lonely voice in the wilderness) were solely based on Nomar's attitude that season. Are you suggesting that it should have been ignored because of his history? I'm starting to become confused as to what upsets you - that Shaughnessy ever questioned Nomar after the 7/1/04 game, or that he continues to bring it up two years later?

The Chief said...

Was he asked to bat in that game? I honestly don't recall.

And I think I was clear that the problem I have with Shaughnessy's column today is that he can't simply write a piece about a player at the top of his game without dredging up something completely unrelated that happened more than two years ago.

jenny said...

Thanks for saving me the pain of doing this one, Chief. I read the first two sentences and couldn't bring myself to continue. It was too early in the morning.

Instead I spent the day at the Metrodome. Let me tell you, Torii Hunter's blown catch looked even worse in person.

DougH said...

"Remember the night he dived into the stands going after that foul pop against the Sox?"

I'm sick of hearing about/seeing that catch. Pokey Resse made a better catch in the same game, and didn't injure innocent fans doing it (I think he my have briefly threatened a few photographers) on a ball Jeter would nevr have come near.

Any form of Jeter worship, esp. from a Boston columnist, makes me sick

dbvader said...

I don't say anything until ObjectiveBruce says shit. As he knows, I hate only him.

dbvader said...

"Lie lie lie lie lie tell me why"

shawn said...

Far as I can tell, there are four versions of the story:

Nomar says the trainers told him to sit out the game. He told Tito he could pinch-hit, and tried to get loose. He was sitting alone, by himself because it was his lucky spot and the team told him to sit there. [Mnookin, Feeding the Monster]

Francona tells reporters in offseason that Nomar asked out of the game because he was upset about the three errors in the previous two games. After Pokey and Jeter's catches, Nomar asked to get into the game, but Francona refused to play someone who put their sensitivities above the team. [ibid.]

Game recap (similar to #1):
Before the game, Francona said he wanted to keep Garciparra out of the series finale for rest.

"He's played a lot," Francona said. "It's very obvious that he needs rest if he's going to go out there and be productive."

Shaughnessy, et al:
Francona told Jim Kaat that Nomar asked out. This was reported on YES and picked up by others.

Nomar told his boss he couldn't play. "I gave him every opportunity," Francona told Yankees broadcaster (and former pitcher) Jim Kaat before Thursday's game. Francona tried to qualify that yesterday, saying, "That doesn't sound like it came out like I would have envisioned. If I misled Jim, maybe I made a mistake."

Both Francona and Garciaparra tried to put a better face on the decision after the 13-inning epic -- a game punctuated by Derek Jeter's game-saving catch and stage dive into the seats. But the damage is done. The manager and the shortstop made hollow statements about Nomie wanting to play and working to get loose when the game went into extra innings.

Yankees broadcaster Jim Kaat, a longtime friend of Sox manager Terry Francona, reiterated recently that Francona told him Nomar Garciaparra came to Francona before the July 1 game against the Yankees and said he couldn't play. Other club sources have insisted that the decision was made by the Sox medical staff.

"We had a shot of Nomar," said Kaat, "and I remember saying, `If I was his teammate, I would be very disappointed he's not playing.' What I said on the air is they talked to Nomar and he felt he needed another day off. I said then that I would be disappointed if I was his teammate and he didn't play, unless he had a broken leg.
[Edes, 9/2004]

So, as in many of these situations, there are only a couple people in the world that know the truth. Believe what you will.

shawn said...

Now. Friends. Let's get back to why we are here. The dismantling of another poorly constructed column.

Paragraph the first: "when he [Ortiz] said Derek Jeter was not his idea of MVP material"

Gordon Edes has categorically stated, as he was the reporter to whom Papi was speaking, that Ortiz in no way intended to denigrate Jeter's chances to win the MVP, and that he was quoted by other media outlets completely out of context. Papi was merely drawing a parallel that if Alex Rodriguez should win the MVP while on a last-place Texas team, his offensive contributions should not be overlooked because he's a DH and the Sox didn't place in the postseason.

"He also made a spectacular play, starting a 6-4-3 double play to get the Yankees out of a jam in the third."

I don't recall the play being that noteworthy. I spoke to three Yankees fans, checked the game thread on and several game recaps. No one took much notice of the play. I also found the video highlight. Jeter took two steps to his right and backhanded the ball. It was pretty routine. Maybe a little more than routine if you were listening to John Sterling call it. If there was a spectacular play, it was regular left fielder Sheffield in full stretch at first, completing the double play.

"Anyone still want to talk about Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, or Ortiz in the wake of Jeter's tour de force?"

Or Travis Hafner? He leads the league in EqA, RARP and VORP. (credit Oh that's right, if your team didn't make the playoffs you must not have had a good year. In 2005 there were 19 players that went 5 for 5 ( It's not *that* unique of an accomplishment.

"Red Sox fans don't need a tutorial in Jeterology."

As spurious as numerology.

"Boston has finished behind the Yankees for nine consecutive seasons, and Jeter has been the New York shortstop every time."

And he's also closed games, hit cleanup, given deep-tissue massages to Mike Mussina, taken Sheffield's urine tests for him, swept Section 327 clean after every game, and cleared up Giambi's "parasite problem" with an ancient Tibetan herbal remedy he hiked through Lhasa to find. Technically, the Red Sox have now finished behind the Yankees 11 straight seasons, though not always 1-2. That happened eight times, between 1998 and 2005. Jeter is not the reason the Red Sox have finished second, and certainly not this season. Six of those ten previous times the Yankees have not won the World Series. Four of those ten they haven't even advanced to the World Series. My God. I guess the Jeteaura (see, I can do it too!) fades like the autumn sun.

"Remember the night he dived into the stands going after that foul pop against the Sox? "

I pulled out the Faith Rewarded DVD and yes, Pokey's catch was much more impressive, as he ran full speed into the wall. Jeter had time to take two and a half steps before catapulting himself into a row of $8 beers. (I would still argue that it's legit to contrast him to Nomar in that game. Or Trot to Nomar, for that matter.)

"No doubt he's one of the reasons you don't see Yankee superstars quit in the middle of the pennant race."

I think you missed this shot at Manny, Chief. CHB conveniently ignores that the Sox were out of the pennant race even if Manny were still playing. Oh, and implicitly, a shot at everyone else on the team for not pushing him up the dugout steps.

Where I agree with Chief is that Shank overinflated the importance of one game - I just think it's this one game.

Hey, credit to Jeter. He's a very talented ballplayer, and he's got his head in the right place at gametime. You can't deny his penchant for postseason serendipity. This is probably his career season. He will win the MVP, even if I disagree.

But the idea that the Yankees wouldn't have been able to replace him if he had gotten injured is completely bogus. There is a far more talented and prolific shortstop playing right next to him. One for whom Captain Intangible refused to change positions for, because that would be an affront to his ego. One whom he's thrown under the bus several times, either through words or the lack thereof. One towards whom he still holds a huge grudge against for suggesting that, as many have, Jeter would not be Jeter on a lesser team. The glue that holds the team together? Please.

What if Jeter goes 2-15 the rest of the series. Is he still a radiant god-king?

Wow, I got through a whole Jeter rant without bringing up his calm eyes! Oh. Dammit.