Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Night Nomar was No-More

Jeter's Diving Catch in the Stands in 2004, and the Night Nomar was No-more

From "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter"

If Jeter was baseball’s most respected figure even before Trot Nixon lofted that ball over Alex Rodriguez’s head, Garciaparra was not far behind. But something changed forever the moment Jeter made the catch and turned his landing into an X Games stunt gone wrong.

A television camera caught Garciaparra alone on the bench, with the rest of his teammates on the dugout rail, while Jeter was risking life and limb. For a franchise and a fan base waiting some eighty-six years for a championship, the juxtaposition was impossible to ignore.

“It was just straight superstition that Nomar always sat in a certain place in the dugout,” Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo said. “And our fans were like, ‘Look, Derek Jeter’s diving into the stands and busting his face up, and Nomar’s sitting on the goddamn bench and not even cheering for the team.’ It was just one of Nomar’s superstitions, and he got ripped for it.”

Nomar’s decision to sit out the thirteen-inning game was not the primary reason he was traded. It was merely on the list of reasons that made a deal sensible.

“It was weird,” Jeter said of Boston’s reaction to Nomar’s no-show on July 1, “because I didn’t think Nomar deserved to be treated the way he was. I thought that was bad.”

It was now official: Jeter had outlasted the most conspicuous challenges to his shortstop throne. Rey Ordonez, who was supposed to battle him for New York supremacy, had long been traded by the Mets and had already played his final big league game. Alex Rodriguez had surrendered the position to join a winner in the Bronx. And Nomar Garciaparra had been shipped out of the rivalry and out of the American League, out of sight and out of mind.

From The Captain

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