Man Crush vs. Douchebag: Raul Ibanez vs. the NHL

Man Crush of the Week: Raul Ibanez 

Some guys just quietly produce their entire career. And for the last approximate 34 years that Raul Ibanez has been in the majors, he’s produced in all of them.

My friends and I have always been particularly fond of Ibanez, referring to him as either ‘Ibby’ or ‘Ibbs’ like that’s a normal thing to do. He’s a random dude without a real position but one who you could always count on to be solid-to-pretty good. There’s nothing sexy about Ibanez. He’s just one of those guys who somehow always manages to pop up whenever you think he’s gone.

Alex Rodriguez is the opposite. You always know he’s around, although he is completely unloved by every human alive. He’s has a brilliant, flashy career and will possibly end up hitting more home runs than everyone ever. He is also definitely not a True Yankee. When things go wrong, he is always the scapegoat. And this ALDS has been no different. He’s struggled to the point of the Yankees from the third spot in the order. Also, he makes more money than anyone else in professional sports. And he has a centaur painting of himself.

So the Yankees are losing in the bottom of the 9th, down a run. A-Rod, one of the most legendary players ever, is due to come up. So what do the Yankees do? Put in Raul Ibanez.

Home run, tie game.

And that wasn’t all. In the bottom of the 12th inning, Ibby, a mere 67 years old, comes up again and hits a walk-off shot to end the game.

This is what is so great about playoff baseball. Even though I’m clearly on board the ridiculous O’s winning the Yankees series, a guy like Ibanez can come out of nowhere. And of course it would be at the expense of Rodriguez, it’s the playoffs after all. And really nothing could be more A-Roddy.

Douchebag of the Week: The NHL

The regular season would have been starting this week. No one noticed. Great job NHL! The sports was pretty much destroyed after the lockout in 2004 and now they’ve slowly gained back fans and are going to do the exact same thing again.

Hockey is not a popular sport. Many of the NHL teams are struggling to stay afloat. While there are some die-hard fans, most are ‘only fans in the playoffs.’ It’s an expensive sport to watch and not one most people can identify with having never played hockey before.

The main issue with the lockout is the same as with the NBA, all about the revenue split between the players and owners. The owners seem willing to make no concessions and neither do the players to the point where if there is a season this year it will be an upset.

But who does this really hurt?

The owners might end up coming out ahead by not having to pay the salaries in a supposed money losing sport. They have little rush to get things done unless it’s done exactly their way, especially with noted owner-sympathizer Gary Bettman as commissioner. So they are pretty much doing whatever a bunch of old white dude do, probably hang out on yachts or something.

The NHL players lose a year of the career potentially, and as Mike Modano pointed out, the last lockout cost him $7 million. But this time a number of stars are already playing in their home in Europe for solid pay and against pretty decent competition. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some of the players just decided to stay over there instead of coming back to the NHL. I mean, America isn’t hockey crazy, and they can play in places that are and is also their home. It just makes sense.

So who’s left? It’s the fans. We’re screwed. Instead of having hockey to watch, we’re left with random ESPN broadcasts of the Russian games. And neither side seems to really care about the fans all too much.

That’s the problem with hockey and has been since the last lockout. They don’t realize how unimportant they are. I love hockey. I’ll miss it. But will it really have a huge negative effect on my life? Probably not. I’m sure I’ll be able to find another way to spend $50 on terrible seats or spend $200 on a jersey. This is the mess the NHL has made for itself. They’re not only going down with the ship, they’re torpedoing themselves.

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Follow Scott Bolohan on Twitter: @scottbolohan

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Manny Machado vs. The Washington Nationals 
Jack Sock vs. Lance Armstrong

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