Keeping the Faith
It is now 22 days A.N. (after Nomar) and I must say that my posting break has afforded me an opportunity to digest the trade and put it in perspective. I can safely say that I am comfortable, even satisified, with it.
My initial dismay gave way to confusion as the stories flew, more detailed than before the trade, seeming to confirm that Nomar didn't really want to be here. It was alleged that he made the Sox aware that he would need periodic days off to nurse his still-ailing achilles tendon, but upon hearing about the impending trade informed Larry Lucchino that he was fine. It was alleged that he had become essentially a loner in a clubhouse full of amiable personalities, threatening to neutralize the chemistry that players believe is so important in a playoff run. It was alleged that he turned down one, perhaps two, additional contract offers, leading the front office to conclude that their chances of re-signing him were virtually nil.
It was also reported that Nomar and Mia had just purchased a large home in Boston, close to Fenway. Nomar himself claimed that as proof that he has always intended to stay here. But few players choose to live where they play, and many past Red Sox players chose to make their homes here even after they had moved on to other teams.
What finally sealed the deal for me is that Nomar's Red Sox teammates, without exception, were utterly silent in his defense. No one sprang forward to contest the published allegations of Nomar's unhappiness, his discomfort in the pressure cooker setting that is Boston sports, or the purported strain the saga of him and his impending free agency were placing on the team as a whole. As if that wasn't confirmation enough, Nomar's first ESPN interview as a Cub showed a relaxed, smiling personality that hasn't been present here in a good while.
My satisfaction, not coincidentally, is enhanced by the team's current hot streak and simultaneous Yankee slide. Under such favorable circumstances, it has made Nomar's departure more bearable. But it is also true that his replacement at shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, has finally begun to settle in here, and Doug Mientkiewicz has been the defensive wonder we were told he could be. There is no question in my mind that this trade will ultimately prove positive on its own merits.