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?
Now most of you have dismissed this before you even read it. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be lucky to get any of you back. To paraphrase my man Billy Hoyle, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to write it anyway.
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.
Fresh off this site proclaiming him the "Baseball LeBron" — the highest praise we can offer — Joe Mauer played on Sunday night in the TwinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ extra-inning loss to the Rangers and had the first 0-for-6 game of his career. He also lost the AL batting lead to Ichiro Suzuki (.363), dropping to a pitiful .358.
Then Monday night, Mauer had a routine night off and collected a pinch-hit single, but his team blew a 12-2 second-inning lead to the AÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and lost, 14-13, on a horrendous call at home plate in the ninth.
Now, the last thing we want to do in the early stages of SportsAngle Version II is to get a reputation like those Madden video games and Sports Illustrated have. (Is it any wonder that SI is struggling big-time right now?)
Look, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just consider this a huge coincidence. MauerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s having an awesome season, and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still going to cash in big-time sometime in the next two years, so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not like we could have destroyed him like the Madden Curse does. Besides, he was on the cover of SI just a couple of weeks ago, so if he totally drops off the face of the earth, I think we can just blame them.
Of course, right after this, LeBronÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s DunkGate kicked off.
So if we find thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something to this Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Lance Armstrong falls off his bike tomorrow or something like that Ã¢â‚¬â€œ we may have to go back on hiatus for the greater good of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s athletes.
Or even better, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll limit ourselves to coverage on guys we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like Shane Victorino.
Nobody is ever content to just enjoy what they have in sports. It’s always about finding what’s “next.” ESPN has a whole magazine devoted to this every year. Everyone searched for the “Next Jordan” for years and years, until LeBron James came along. Then it almost immediately became about finding the “Next LeBron.”
Of course, other sports had to have LeBrons of their own.Ã‚Â So this year we have Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State and Team USA mound phenom who was the first pick in this year’s baseball draft. Never mind that Scott Boras is extorting the Nationals for $50 million (!), the team apparently hasn’t even communicated with Strasburg, and no young pitcher is ever even close to a sure bet.
Then we get Sports Illustrated’s cover story on Bryce Harper, some 16-year-old catcher out in Vegas who apparently is like a baseball version of Paul Bunyan. He hits 600-foot homers, throws 96 on the gun, does volunteer work and gets good grades. He sounds like me in high school, except for, well, pretty much all that stuff. We’ll see how it goes.