01 August 2004

What a Weekend!


I have no words for this- there are so many factors still in the air regarding an analysis of what happened- baseball-wise, the Red Sox got hosed. Was there more at play though? Reports are surfacing from a legion of sources that Nomar approached the trainers letting them know he was going to have to sit for a number of days and that he may have to go onto the DL in August if he were to be primed for the September push (edit: now, to my count, this story has been reported at BDD.com, by Dan Shaughnessy, Bob Lobel, Peter Gammons, Gordon Edes, Jayson Stark, Jerry Remy and NESN- Nomar denies the story...). This allegedly happened in the last few days, supposedly, but when Larry Lucchinco called to inform Nomar about the trade and inquired about his heel, Nomar told Lucchino it was "fine." Couple this with what has been interpreted as a less-than enthusiastic attitude towards playing in Boston- and maybe Epstein was forced into the deal.

Nomar strokes it in 1993 Cape League game as a member of the Orleans Cardinals. Jason Varitek is the Hyannis Mets catcher.

But was he a clubhouse issue? And even if he was, was it worth it to rid yourself of a Hall of Fame shortstop that was the face (albeit reluctantly) of the franchise the last 7 years? If Nomar was so upset, was it his own doing, or can we at least in part (if not in whole) blame the ownership for making the franchise player so bitter and angry he nearly grimaced his way out of town? Who's telling the truth about the Nomar/ Lucchino exchange regarding DL time, etc? Are all those media members reporting Nomar's less than savory handling of his injury saying so at the behest of the Red Sox? Are they simply reporting what the Sox are leaking to put a better spin on an awful trade- and is that right? Lots of unanswered questions, and I am inclined to believe, for now, something right down the middle. Nomar Garciaparra and Lucchino/ Henry/ Warner was not a match, and it ended ugly. Theo, in the end, did what he had to do. Pedro seems to think Nomar was fine as a teammate.

"I didn't think it would happen. But if he's going to be happy, I'm happy for him," said Martinez. "If it's going to work out OK for the team, it's going to be OK. It's always sad to see a guy, a superstar, a gentleman, leave like that. Especially knowing that me and him and [Tim Wakefield] were probably the last old goats to survive. I'm kind of sad for him and I imagine he's a little sad. I've been with him long enough to understand he's a little sad.

"I just asked him if he was going to be happy, and that's all that matters. I told him I would keep in touch and he said he would keep in touch. That's pretty much it. I wish him well, I really do. Nomar's a great teammate and a great person, a great human being."

It would seem to me that the Nomar issue was one that finally came to a head, on both sides, and this more or less was the best avenue for both sides. This, of course, does not change the fact that the 2004 Boston Red Sox, on the field, indeed got worse and probably could have improved in more pressing areas. Here's how the trade shook out:


BOSTON gets:
  • Orlando Cabrera, SS (from MON)

  • Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B (from MINN)

  • CHICAGO gets:
  • Nomar Garciaparra, SS (from BOS)

  • Matt Murton, OF (from BOS mL)

  • MINNESOTA gets:
  • Justin Jones, LHP (from CHI)

  • MONTREAL gets:
  • Alex Gonzalez, SS (from CHI)

  • Francis Beltran, RHP (from CHI)

  • Brendan Harris, INF (from CHI)

  • The inclusion of Matt Murton to the Cubs was especially grating to me- without him included, it felt like we got taken. But one of our best minor league positional players given up for the right to... give up Nomar? When initial reports came down including Lowe to Minnesota and Clement to the Red Sox as part of the deal, I was ecstatic- though we were downgrading offensively, we would have been upgrading dramatically via starting pitching. Not so now, and all I see is a downgrade offensively and an artificial upgrade in defense- Cabrera is better at SS than Nomar and Mientkiewicz at 1B is the MLB best- but this shoves Millar into the OF, where he severely downgrades the defense. Or shall we play Kapler in RF? Further hurt the offense?

    We shall call him..."Eyechart"

    I must say, even if all is true about Nomar's bitter nature and his seemingly brazen disregard for playing time over spite, I'll miss him. As a player, he was the one that nearly singlehandedly brought me back from the anger I held towards baseball post-strike 1994. He made me invest myself in the Boston Red Sox again, full bore, and he was an absolute joy to watch when he was on. I hope him the best, and if he was actually tanking to spite management- I hope he's going to a place he's happy enough that he doesn't feel it necessary to do that. I'll always be a Nomar fan, unless of course, something changes and he pulls a Hillenbrand.

    We also acquired OF Dave Roberts from the LA Dodgers for minor leaguer Henri Stanley. Though I would have liked a more permanent solution to the RF problem (I would be in favor of shutting Trot down until 2005), Roberts will be a good bat off the bench with some speed. Furthermore, hopefully Scott Williamson's rehab somes along well, and he resumes pitching as effectively as he had when healthy this year. Our bullpen could use a serious shot in the arm, and certainly could have used a trade deadline addition.

    Moving on, The Broseph and I had occasion this weekend to see two films- The Bourne Supremacy and The Village.

    Firstly and foremostly, The Village was one of the most insulting, absurd, horribly miscalculated films I can ever recall seeing. If M Night Shyamalan feels the need to turn every one of his films into a masturbatory exercise in surprising his audiences with one of his patented late-screenplay "twists," he's going to need to actually try in order to assume the reputation he's so actively cultivating for himself. You'll never read a director so impressed with his own questionable gifts and crafts, and you'll not see a more head spinningly stupid/ underwhelming twist ending the rest of your life. Shyamalan phoned this one in- or maybe The Sixth Sense, a great movie, was the abberation. Either way- the entire tone, content and structure of his screenplay was shockingly terrible for someone so roundly lauded. Sixth Sense was great. Unbreakable was OK. Signs coasted on the strength of it's opening but was done in by it's ending- The Village completes the slide- the guy is flat out of tricks, but blowing smoke up his own ass, still.

    You could almost see smoke coming from The Broseph's ears as he watched the movie unfold...

    The bad guys looked straight out of "Dungeons and Dragons," the dialogue style of the entire movie was just a cheap set up, the filler between very little thriller was mind numbing, and the entire product made "embarassing" seem a polite assessment. Utterly terrible in every regard, and Peter Travers ought to have his head examined. "Butt-stupid" is right.

    From Roger Ebert's one star review:

    Eventually the secret of Those, etc., is revealed. To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes. It's a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It's so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don't know the secret anymore.

    And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we're back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.

    The Bourne Supremacy, on the other hand, was pretty fun. Not nearly as good as the excellent original, but a good action flick nonetheless. I was telling the Broseph this- there was a really great clarity to the action from director Doug Liman in the first, The Bourne Identity, but Paul Greengrass decided to go with the drunk guy with a handheld look on this one, and I think it suffered as a result. Matt Damon was predictably good, I didn't hate Julia Stiles for once, Joan Allen was cool as always, and Brian Cox continues to play the same basic character over and over- better than anyone. Pretty good movie overall. Made a lot better by seeing The Village a night later.

    Finally, if this entry is not long enough, please blame my new iPod, my new iPod, to which I am likely making love somewhere as you read this.


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