With the Dodgers trailing the Phillies 3 games to 1 in the NLCS, Sportsline’s ever timely Gregg Doyel picks up on the series’ least explored storyline (and with good reason) — the declining career fortunes of Nomar Garciaparra (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).
Garciaparra’s body betrayed him, but I’m thinking the betrayal was just like his talent — natural. Why do some guys get hurt, and others don’t? No telling, but Garciaparra goes in the category of “some guys get hurt.” He went on the disabled list in 1998, ’99, 2000, ’01, ’04, ’05 and ’08. If I missed any years, forgive me — it’s hard to keep track. Garciaparra has hurt nearly every part of his body, from his wrist to his back to his Achilles’, groin, hand, calf and knee.
Over the years, he has missed close to 400 games, or 2½ seasons. And that doesn’t include all the time he spent playing his way back into shape, sharpening his eye, and so forth. His numbers have suffered. His Hall of Fame legacy has suffered.
And his teams have suffered.
The Red Sox won two World Series after he left for Chicago. Garciaparra was a Cub for two seasons, and those were two of the three seasons since 2003 they didn’t reach the playoffs.
Garciaparra signed with the Dodgers in 2006, and they reached the playoffs that season. But they were bad in 2007, and they took off this season only after Manny Ramirez joined the team — by filling a roster spot created when Garciaparra went to the DL. Again.
In the playoffs, Garciaparra has done little. He didn’t play in the sweep of the Cubs, and he has recorded outs in the ninth inning in two of Los Angeles’ three losses in the NLCS. That included his strikeout to end Game 2, when he represented the tying run against Brad Lidge before being blown away by three consecutive sliders. He didn’t look silly. Silly would have been an upgrade over how he looked against Lidge.
He didn’t look like the Nomar Garciaparra who once dominated the game. Same thighs, same nose, same stance — but different guy. Not even close.
In other baseball news, Carl Yastremzki has lost a step or two and Ted Williams isn’t feelng too hot.