Friday, January 19, 2007

(Dirt) Dog Gone

Trot Nixon, the original dirt dog, is now a Cleveland Indian. Trot signed a one year 3 million dollar deal with the Indians after the Red Sox decided not to offer him salary arbitration.

After playing the last 10 seasons with the Sox Nixon remains one of the defining players of my time as a fan.

The Red Sox teams that I really remember following from grade school to now consisted of a lot of different players (at one time Tom Brunansky was my favorite Sox 1) but the core was Pedro, Nomar, Varitek and Nixon. Obviously now it’s Manny, Ortiz, and Tek (to a lesser extent Youk).

Most of the games I can remember watching had that core. 2004 saw Nomar leave, which hurt but Orlando Cabrera really fit into the 2004 team better than Nomar did and they won. After the World Series Pedro left and Manny and Ortiz along with Damon (grrr) and Millar had come in and taken over the clubhouse making the transition smooth. Through it all Tek and Nixon have remained.

Maybe it’s because Trot was home grown. Maybe it was the fact that his dirt dog mentality caught on with the 2003 and 2004 teams and they really rode it to a World Series. Something about Trot Nixon just resonated with the fans. He is a blue collar guy, always worked hard, he had some solid years and he had some down years with injuries but he was always adored by the fans.

I was fortunate to be at his last game as a Red Sox which was pretty cool. Terry Franconia had him bat lead off so he would get his curtain call since it was pouring out. Franconia also took him out so that he would get another standing ovation. I know Nixon’s not hall of famer, he’s not one of the best players I’ve ever seen.

Trot Nixon will however remain one of my all time favorite players. I’ll miss his varying facial hair (honestly when is the last time you saw a Fu Manchu) and the way his helmet and hat are some how always dirty, seriously always. Top of the first, first game of the year his hat was covered in chalk, dirt, dust, pine tar and God knows what else 2.

There have been a number of sox players that I was sad to see go. Nomar, Pedro, Damon, Bill Mueller and Todd Walker just to name a few but Nixon will be a tough loss. Even though JD Drew (who I don’t like) will put up better numbers than Trot would have it will still be odd not seeing him patrolling right field all summer.

As the Nixon number 7 t-shirt jerseys begin to fade away and Trot finishes his career in a foreign uniform and a foreign town. He’ll always be remembered as the Dirt Dog, one of the guys that defined a team and anytime he steps to the plate or sprints out to right field at Fenway it will bring me back to some of my best memories as a Sox fan.

All the best Trot, all the best.

1 – What is the singular form of Red Sox/Sox? I know that the spelling comes from phonetics, sort of, cities like Boston and Chicago’s papers used to use phonetic spellings to help immigrants read, like using thru instead of through. If it’s said Red Socks then the singular would be Red Sock. In my personal opinion I think Sox is both. A little bit squirrelly I know but how else would you do it?

Trot Nixon played for the Red Sox. Trot Nixon was a Red Sox…we need an official ruling on this?
2 – Isn’t it interesting how the condition of some ones hat can give you an insight into how big of a fan they are. For example if you have a brand new sox hat there are a couple things that says.

a - New season you follow the team you felt like getting a hat, nothing wrong with that.

b - You just jumped on the band wagon and having a red sox hat is the cool thing to do in the summer in New England.

c - They came out with a new style of hat that you like so you bought it.

Now if you have a Nixon hat then everyone knows you mean business when it comes to being a Sox fan. Since he has now departed ‘Nixon hat’ or simply a Nixon will now be my official term for any hat that is worn out, faded or in general disarray from extended use and age.

To qualify as a Nixon said hat must be discolored (most likely by way of sun fading), must be navy blue or red with just the B on the front (no non team color hats qualify). Bonus points for any tears or ripping on the hat.

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