WEEI.com is reporting that former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra will sign a one-day contract with the team today and will subsequently announce his retirement as a member of the team. It's a symbolic gesture, sure, but a classy one as well. Glad to see the wounds have apparently healed since 2004, when the team surprised everyone by trading Nomar to the Cubs (you may have heard about what happened later that fall).
This may seem hard for some of you to believe, but there was a time when the Red Sox weren't the attendance-drawing, money-printing, bandwagon-fan-attracting machine that they are now. For most of the 1990s - excepting the 1995 division winner with this ragtag bunch of misfits - the team was an also-ran behind the Blue Jays in the early part of the decade and the Yankees and Orioles in the latter part. I can recall going to the park and hearing opposing players like Ken Griffey Jr. or Frank Thomas get louder and longer ovations than anyone on the home team. Nomar and Pedro Martinez, in a way, can be given as much credit for turning this team's fortunes around as anybody - it was the strength of their incredible 1999 season that vaulted the team into the playoffs and propelled the team into an ALCS showdown with the Yankees (with a big assist from the immortal Troy O'Leary), which both revived that rivalry and convinced the team - and its fans - they were closer to a championship than anyone realized. The end result was the Red Sox jumping into the big spenders category and splurging on guys like Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, and Curt Schilling, and, again, we all know the end result of that.
The point is that Nomar meant a lot to this team and this town, and so it's nice to see him acknowledged in such a fashion.