I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a hard time picking a Man Crush of the Week. And I blame that on the week leading up to the Super Bowl as arguably the worst week in sports. It just brings out the worst in people. Like, I don’t know, Ray Lewis doing steroids/talking about God, homophobic talk from random football players, the now never-ending Manti Te’o sort of live triangle, Dan Marino has a love child, and even more steroid news (see below). Dwight Howard got hurt, but that’s not really Man Crush-worthy.
So I thought I’d get a little old school with the Man Crush choice and go with Tiger Woods.
The fall of Tiger has been truly incredible. In fact, the struggles of Tiger has been going on for so long it’s basically overwhelmed all the amazing times he had. So when something actually goes well for him it kind of gives you a little reminder of what life was like during simpler times.
In many ways, Tiger Woods is the Lance Armstrong of golf. He was dominant to the point he overshadowed everyone else in the sport, often being the only participant people would know. And it was fun. Greatness is something no matter how much you may not like the actual athlete, you have to at least respect (something becoming harder to do these days, see below). And Tiger was for a while one of the best things in sports. Ever.
So him winning the Farmer’s Insurance Open by a solid margin only bodes well for his future. Golf is certainly a better place when he does well. And it goes for sports too. We need people to amaze us. I think that’s why his scandal was so incredible, because he seemed invincible. Winning one random tournament isn’t the biggest deal in the world or anything but it gives a little hope in a week full of just the worst stuff in sports.
At the same time though, if Tiger Woods went on another cocktail waitress binge, it would be pretty funny this time, right?
In 1997 I went to Tiger Stadium in Detroit early to watch batting practice. The Tigers were playing the Mariners and I went for the sole purpose of trying to get Alex Rodriguez to sign a baseball for me. After all, he was the most exciting and possibly best player in the sport and his future seemed unlimited.
It was a rainy day and hardly anyone else was there besides my dad and I. A-Rod was one of the last people off the field as the rain started coming down harder, but before he left, he stopped and signed an autograph – on the sweet spot no less (this exciting if you aren’t an autograph nerd) – before heading into the clubhouse. I remember how big he seemed and how young he looked. I loved A-Rod ever since.
At least until it became completely impossible to even sort of like A-Rod. His days of being a superstar are gone, and now A-Rod is known for being just the worst person and making a ton of money for not doing a bunch of good stuff. I’ve talked here before about all of his unlikability, but the new steroid report suggests that even after he swore he stopped using steroids some 10 years ago, he has been still using performance enhancing drugs. This is the exact problem with A-Rod, who thinks he can get away with anything and doesn’t care what it does to him or anyone else.
A-Rod has fallen to the point where the most popular scenario for his future is the Yankees basically telling him to not play again while he still collects his money and they Yankees get most of it covered by insurance. This is the best baseball player of my lifetime we are talking about here. And the thing that would make everyone the happiest is if he would just disappear.
The Yankees recently called and more or less begged me to re-up my ticket package for next season (I didn’t, by the way). I can see why. This is going to be a miserable year for the Yankees. And yet the increasing possibility of A-Rod never playing again for them somehow makes the year more exciting. How did we get here?
On the bright side of all of this, I can talk about A-Rod’s centaur painting again.
Follow Scott Bolohan on Twitter: @scottbolohan
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