Boy am I torn. I adore Scott Gomez. He’s partially responsible for the “snowman” nickname. I was reminded of that again tonight when I packed up my golf clubs and noticed the NHL Charity Event 2003 bag tag, the time and place at which Gomez remarked on my carding an eight on the first five holes. He has never failed to tap the glass when he sees me at practice, or at a game, or even stop on his way out of practice to talk about that golf game that’s now four years (and one Stanley Cup) distant. He talks with the boys in the local diner; he respects his parents; he speaks out on behalf of autism. So many things to like. Until tonight.
Tonight, he’s no longer the Gomer. He’s a goomer. As in the phrase emergency room doctors use for whiny, cranky, not-really-hurt patients who are taking up space and time. Goomer = “get out of my emergency room”. Not just because he signed for $7.3M a year over 7 years. Not just because he signed with the much-hated, cross-river evil empire New York Rangers. He did it after impltying in the press that he couldn’t envision going to the Rangers; he did it after expressing how much he loved the Devils. Clearly, as has been reported, he made up his mind about this a while ago.
So be honest. Tell the fans you’re going, and you’re going for more money. That’s a 50% pay raise over this year, and it’s “screw you” money if he plays out the contract. Unfortunately, the “screw you” is directed right back at the fans on this side of the Hudson. I simply wish that professional athletes would dispense with using the media to gain empathy, and instead just tell the truth. Scott and Lou didn’t get along, Scott wanted more money, the Rangers ponied up, and now he’s a blue shirt.
Tomorrow I’m disassembling the Devils wall in my office. The Gomez signed pictures I’ll keep, but they’ll go in my autograph and photo scrapbook, to be shown at random times when we can explain away jerseys as a function of time and loyalty. The clipping that Gomez inked for me, from a 2000 Sports Illustrated article on his standout rookie year, will be interesting for all of those facts, including the fact that I thought to save it when I still subscribed to the swimsuit and pro football focused magazine. I’ll keep the picture of us at the NHL Charity Event, but it’s no longer the banner wallpaper on my cell phone. The signed jersey is coming down, and I’ll find something else to replace it.
Here are some recently jilted Gomez-lover ramblings, made in the heat of the moment and at the depths of rejection:
I don’t wish any sort of ill fate on Gomez, because he is a good guy, and I do believe he acted in his best financial and career interests. It’s painful — downright painful — that as Chris Drury and Gomez opened on Broadway, the best Lou could do was get Johnny Oduya back to the contract table. But such is life in the world of free agency. The Devils have big holes on defense and at center, and we need to get some bodies into those emergency rooms.