08/27/2004 3:11 PM ET
Hamm brings Garciaparra gold
Cubs shortstop watches wife win soccer gold in Athens
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Nomar Garciaparra wasn't in Athens physically to watch his wife Mia Hamm win a gold medal with the U.S. women's soccer team, but he was there in spirit.
|Mia Hamm (left) and her teammates celebrate their gold medal in Athens. (Kevork Djansezian/AP)
Garciaparra, the Chicago Cubs shortstop, was playing several time zones away at the same time Hamm and the U.S. team was facing Brazil for the gold in the Summer Olympics.
"I didn't know whether they won or lost. I made sure I recorded it and went right after the game and went in there and watched it," he said Friday. "It was like watching it live."
The U.S. women did win the gold, although they needed two extra periods to beat Brazil, 2-1.
"Nomar, we have one for the family," Hamm said to the television camera in Athens after the game.
A cameraman tried to tell Garciaparra the result because the soccer match ended during the Cubs' game Thursday against Houston, but he waved them off. He didn't want to know until he watched it himself -- and he was thrilled at the end result.
"Absolutely, I got excited," he said. "You have a loved one you're watching and you're following them and you're hoping, you're praying and you're on the edge of your seat."
Garciaparra isn't sure what's up next for Hamm, 32, who plans to retire from the game after this Olympics.
"That's for her to decide," he said. "Right now, her focus was winning the gold and she got that."
Told that Hamm said she planned to spend the next few weeks as a Cubs fan, Garciaparra laughed.
"That's great," he said.
They've talked by phone but he's anxious for her to get back to the United States.
"I just can't wait to see my wife, that's for sure," he said. "That's what's great. That's what she is to me. She's my wife. She's awesome."
Did he ever worry about her safety?
"You worry about all that, but I found out a lot of the stuff with the security that was going on so I knew they'd be OK," he said. "Everything will be better when I get to hold her."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.