Aug. 30, 2010
By Jon Cooper
Nomar Garciaparra is the measuring stick for Georgia Tech shortstops.
The 1992 ACC Rookie of the Year, a two-time first-team All-American, two-time Academic All-American and two-time All-ACC performer, Garciaparra was a crucial piece of the Yellow Jackets’ 1994 College World Series season, with a year that ranked second all-time in school history for singles, doubles, triples, and total bases (teammate Jay Payton actually set the school career marks that season).
Garciaparra chose to forego his senior season, leaving Tech for the Major Leagues after being selected 12th overall in the 1992 June Draft by the Boston Red Sox. He had a distinguished 14-year career with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Oakland A’s, winning the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year, earning six All-Star berths, winning two batting titles (1999 at .357 and 2000, hitting .372) and finishing runner-up for 1998 American League MVP.
A Georgia Tech Hall of Famer (class of ’04), Garciaparra retired from baseball in 2009, and is now an analyst for ESPN.
He took time out prior to Monday night’s series opener between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets at Turner Field to talk with Sting Daily about a his burgeoning broadcasting career, Georgia Tech baseball and head coach Danny Hall, and which game on the Yellow Jackets football schedule is most important to him [Hint: It has something to do with his wife, former superstar soccer player and North Carolina alumnus Mia Hamm].
STING DAILY: How did your broadcasting gig with ESPN come about?
NOMAR GARCIAPARRA: I started at the beginning of the season. I’ve been enjoying it. They had mentioned it before and then when I was thinking, `What am I going to do? this off-season (the winter of 2009)?, this season?, the rest of my life?’ I called them. I auditioned and it’s worked out for the best.
SD: How does it feel being on the other side of the camera?
NOMAR: It’s a lot to learn. I didn’t take it for granted. I didn’t assume that I’d be good or they’d want me. I had a lot to learn and I’m still learning an awful lot. I think that attitude’s definitely helped me, especially with the people I work with.
SD: How closely do you follow Georgia Tech baseball?
NOMAR: I keep in touch with [Danny] Hall. It’s tough for me to follow the Jackets as much. It’s always tough when you’re out there in L.A. to get the stuff going on here, but I do keep in touch with him. I got to work the College World Series this year and I was really hoping that Tech was going to make it. I was even hoping that they would make the Super Regional because I was probably going to work that as well.
SD: Did you get to see Derek Dietrich?
NOMAR: I didn’t get a chance to really follow him or watch him at all, other than just hearing the name, especially with the College World Series coming along. But I’m sure they have a lot of good infielders that come through there. Coach Hall does a good job. He’s done a good job over the years, a consistent job over the years. That’s why they continue to get good players.
SD: What makes Coach Hall so effective?
NOMAR: I think what he does is he really helps you develop. He has an infielder background and really focuses on helping you develop as a player. I know that helped our team. When we finally went to the College World Series under him, he was what we needed especially on the fundamentals, to fine tune everything and get to the next level as a player.
SD: Are you excited about Georgia Tech football?
NOMAR: That is picking up. We have a rivalry in our household. As long as they beat North Carolina, I’m happy. (Laughs).