There are two great certainties whenever Nomar Garciaparra steps up to the plate. The first is that the former Boston Red Sox star will be greeted with a chorus of Beantown-inflected yelps of "No-MAAAAH" -- no matter where he plays.
The second is his obsessive, ritualistic behavior between each pitch. Garciaparra -- who may well be capping his career in Oakland this season
-- can single-handedly add 15 minutes to every game. How much additional revenue this generates for ballpark vendors is uncertain at this time -- but Oakland could definitely use the dough.
Here, in as cursory a form as possible, is Garciaparra's batting ritua
l -- which may be repeated as many as 10 to 50 times a game:
Nomar digs into the batter's box, then steps out to adjust his right arm band. He taps home plate with his bat before making a grab at his helmet bill, the tip of the bat, and, once more, his helmet bill. He may or may not choose to cross himself at this juncture.
Next, he simultaneously struts in place like a college trombone player while doing and undoing the velcro on his batting gloves multiple times -- always adjusting the right batting glove first.
Finally, while awaiting the first pitch, he continues to strut in place while twirling his bat -- counterclockwise.
FOUL BALL! Repeat. Again and again.
Garciaparra's Bay Area fans reacted by clapping three times, missing a clap, then clapping twice more. They then checked their watches, clapped once, missed once, checked their watches once more, stamped their feet, whistled a few bars of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," flicked the lights on and off 16 times, and checked all the burners on the stove. Photo | Paul Keleher