Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Counterpoint: Fond farewell for Nomar Garciaparra

Squawker Lisa, while you are throwing up over Red Sox Nation embracing Nomar Garciaparra as he signs a one-day contract so he can retire in a Red Sox uniform, I say, good for them. Unlike the Yankees, who have had so many great players that some of them have to share retired numbers, most teams have far fewer fan favorites to celebrate.

And while the Red Sox do seem to trash most of their stars as they are leaving town, even the most beloved stars rarely get to leave on their own terms. Even a Bernie Williams had an awkward parting with the Yankees.

For years, the Mets organization distanced themselves from Dwight Gooden and failed to embrace Darryl Strawberry, Davey Johnson and Frank Cashen. Some Mets fans (including me) looked back at Gooden, and to a lesser extent, Strawberry, and lamented what might have been rather than celebrating what actually happened.

Now, almost a quarter-century after 1986, these cornerstones of the title team are finally being inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. And I know I will have at least one game to look forward to this year.

It is great to see the Mets finally embracing their championship past. And it is great to see the Red Sox mending fences now rather than waiting until the 20th anniversary of 2004. Perhaps Pedro Martinez can have the same farewell. (Though I wouldn't mind seeing him finish up with the Mets!)

The player whose farewell I am most looking forward to is Johnny Damon's. In the morning, he would appear, clean-shaven, in the Bronx, professing his love for all things Yankee. In the afternoon, Damon would roll into Fenway, remove the false chin and short-hair wig to once again sport the caveman look.

Unfortunately, Damon's agent, Scott Boras, would want to award Damon's one-day retirement contract to the highest bidder, which is why we could well see Damon getting all teary at a news conference in Kansas City, pointing out that they gave him his start and he played more seasons there than anywhere else.

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