I still remember like yesterday the day Darryl Strawberry left the Mets for the Dodgers. I was waiting to get a haircut in fifth grade when the news on the television at the barber shop told me Darryl had jumped ship. I melted out of my chair and sank to my knees.
Straw was my first sports love; it was as if my best friend had moved away. (That actually happened a couple years later, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t recall it hitting me nearly as hard as losing Darryl.)
Going through that was rough when I was 11, but it was a necessary lesson about two years into being a sports fan: Nothing lasts forever. Players leave, teams change, eras come and go. I eventually came to grips with it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ years later, I even bought a Dodgers Strawberry jersey.
Now somewhat jaded at 32, with Dan Marino and Patrick Ewing and LeBron James the Cavalier in my rearview mirror, this sort of thing honestly doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t faze me anymore. Our teams are inextricable parts of our identities, but the players on them shuttle in and out like friends from various chapters in our lives.
As such, I always just have to shake my head at peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s knee-jerk reactions when a star player leaves for another team. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re 12, sure, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a crushing blow. But if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been watching sports for any legitimate portion of time, how canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you know by now this is the way it goes?
Floyd Mayweather messed with Manny Pacquiao for so long that he completely played himself.
The biggest surprise with the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather drug testing argument is that I actually at one time hoped this fight would come off without a hitch. I guess that plays into my desire to have a big fight happen for once with none of the nonsense and posturing that usually goes into this sport. But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unrealistic.
Now donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get this twisted, I actually very much respect Derek Jeter. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an excellent baseball player, keeps his name off Page 6, does a lot of charity work and has a work ethic I admire.
But Jeter as Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year? Either it was a slow year, or that Ã¢â‚¬Å“awardÃ¢â‚¬Â is a sham.
And it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a slow year.
After the Yankees won the World Series on Wednesday night, Alex Rodriguez spent some time gleefully saying that he was now Ã¢â‚¬Å“just one of the guys.Ã¢â‚¬Â That he had earned his pinstripes, so to speak.
This, to me, is wishful thinking on A-RodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s part. His salary, his very public personal life, hisÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ interestingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ personality Ã¢â‚¬â€œ none of these dictates someone who will simply blend in.
So if heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that, what exactly has he become?
After the TwinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ phenomenal victory over the Tigers tonight, the playoff field is set. Though I mostly tend to talk about other sports on this site, truth be told, I watch a pretty decent amount of baseball, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll give this a go. Remember, if you use anything I say here to gamble with, may the lord take mercy on you.