Former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra -- now in his current reconfiguration as an ESPN baseball reporter -- has bought himself a new pass to his old team's clubhouse with his tearful reconciliation with Theo Epstein, John Henry, and Larry Lucchino.
Here is the formerly vaunted superstar sitting elbow-to-elbow with the aforementioned suits, all smiles and bouquets as if all his notorious past transgressions have been forgotten and absolved, as if nobody remembers that it was his banishment to the Cubs five years ago -- like the excision of a cancerous tumor -- that so revitalized the then struggling BoSox that they were enabled to come back from the dead to reach the World Series.
Say what you will about those old, unsubstantiated inferences that his body broke down due to the effects of performance enhancing substances, or that he had exaggerated his alleged inabilities to play due to injury and laid down on the job at the critical moment when he was most needed during the 2004 drive toward World Series immortality.
Those in the know fully understand that the heart of the matter was actually Nomar's mercenary position in a proposed $60 million, four-year contract extension negotiation. The team's intransigence had left him bitter and recriminatingly resentful of what he perceived as a lack of appreciation for his previous stellar accomplishments -- accomplishments, by the way, of which he was no longer capable and which failed the acid test in the harsh light of good, old-fashioned New England good sense and frugality.
Though Garciaparra's tarnished relationships with writers have left a cloud over his chance of ever reaching Cooperstown, his Hall of Fame hat logo none-the-less remains at stake, so team has once again clutched him to its bosom and allowed him walk among the players' lockers with the rest of the reporters without seeming to be the interloper that he would be otherwise.
It's a pity that everyone has such a short memory. Rather than appearing with Garciaparra in a scene vaguely reminiscent of John Voigt's love scene in the motion picture "Deliverance," Epstein, Henry and Luccino might better have asked: "Nomar, what have you done for us lately?"