Man Crush vs. Douchebag: Barry Zito vs. Lane Kiffin

Man Crush of the Week: Barry Zito

In 2003 I went to San Francisco and risked my life to head into Oakland to see Barry Zito start a game. He was everything cool about baseball. Long hair, high socks, huge curveball. And he was super good, winning the Cy Young the year before. At the time, he was my favorite pitcher in baseball.

That was super long ago. Since then, Zito signed one of the worst contracts in baseball history with the San Francisco Giants and has been essentially the West Coast A-Rod (just without all the A-Rod off-the-field/in the dugout activities). And he never let it affect him. He was left off the playoff roster when the Giants won the World Series in 2010, and has been in and out of the rotation since. This year was his best season as a Giant and it was really pretty average.

He got shelled in the NLCS against the Reds but dominated the Cardinals in a huge Game 5, throwing 7.2 shutout innings basically out of nowhere. In a year full of crazy stories, this might have been the most surprising.

But he wasn’t done yet. He somehow ended up as the Game 1 starter for the Giants against Justin Verlander and outpitched him to earn the win. He threw 5.2 innings of one-run ball. And even had an RBI single against Verlander, all while throwing 85 m.ph. fastballs.

Which is what makes Zito so awesome. He’s fallen so far from where he was but hung in there, a type of comeback people hope for in their own life (especially if they’re making $126 million doing so). And that’s kind of what makes the Giants so great too. They are much less talented than the Tigers, their rotation is a mess, their lineup is not intimidating, and yet, here they are.

And Zito is leading the charge.

Douchebag of the Week: Lane Kiffin

If you’ve ever lived in New York City you start to earn a bit of disgust for the area around Times Square. It’s so full of tourists and Applebee’s that t starts to make you physically ill when you have to go through it.

Lane Kiffin is the human equivalent. Just a slimy, gross, disgusting person probably trying to sell you a knockoff handbag.

And this week Kiffin reached a new low as USC took on Colorado, a game expected to be within about 40 points or so (and one that ended 50-6). During a two-point conversion attempt (because, you know, the Trojans needed that extra point), Kiffin sent out their backup quarterback wearing number 35, the usual number of the punter, instead of his normal number 6.

Sure, you might be saying, ‘Hey, it’s college sports, people change numbers. There’s lots of quarterbacks who wear 35.’ Which was basically Kiffin’s defense, saying, “We change jerseys all the time with our guys. We’ll change some more this week. Everything’s within college rules.”

Except when the backup quarterback went in later game, he was back to wearing his usual number 6. This was probably done to make it easier for Colorado to identify him, right? No way that could be an attempt as deception on the two point conversion. Because that would be illegal, and just about the lowest, Mighty Ducks-level of cheating there could be.

But really, should we expect anything less from Kiffin? At least he has a hot wife, although I would be worried about him cheating if I were her.

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Follow Scott Bolohan on Twitter: @scottbolohan

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Phil Coke vs. Alex Rodriguez
Raul Ibanez vs. The NHL
Manny Machado vs. The Washington Nationals 
Jack Sock vs. Lance Armstrong

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