Shaq and Kobe = Ruth and Gehrig


This is the story of two teammates.
One was larger than life, both physically and in his personality.

He started his career in one city and had some success there but some people questioned his focus and discipline.

He moved to another city where he relished being in the spotlight. He did endorsements, appeared in movies, and became a beloved big kid who was having more fun than anyone could imagine.

Sometimes he was out of shape and some people wondered if the game had his full attention. But nobody could doubt his production. He put up numbers that were as gigantic as his body and personality. And multiple championships followed.

He was paired with a teammate who was also great. His teammate was focused, educated and had an unmatched work ethic. He did endorsements and appearances but never seemed to embrace it. He just wanted to play, play hard and win.

He may not have been the larger than life physical specimen that his teammate was, but he never broke down, played day in and day out and put up amazing numbers on his own.

Eventually the two teammates became estranged and no longer talked to each other.
The big fellow moved on. Free from the large shadow, the more focused teammate had his best years.

No longer the sidekick, he became the MVP and led his storied team to multiple titles on his own with a brand new cast of characters.

Meanwhile the larger than life guy was a broken down shell of himself, playing out the string in Boston when he called it quits. But when he retired he was a champion in two different cities, put up amazing numbers and was the most fun to watch player of his generation.

Who was I talking about?
Shaq and Kobe?
Or Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

With Shaq’s retirement, there was an insane conversation on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles of whether or not Shaq underachieved. (As if being in the top 5 of scoring, winning 3 Finals MVPs and leading 3 different franchises to the NBA Finals and winning the NBA MVP is the resume of a slacker.)

But people who criticize Shaq based on his weight and based on his being kind of a goofball are missing the joy that was Shaq and probably would have trashed Ruth for all of HIS off field antics.

They were both big kids who LOVED being who they were.

They were big, positive and fun. And backed it up with winning and piling up championships.

There is something to be said about being substantive on the field (or court) and being a big crowd pleaser as well. Yes we love to have players who are all business and eat, breathe and defecate their sport.

But having a showman who can back up the bravado is so much fun. They were not the equivalent of, say, Brian Bosworth who had the brash self promotion but couldn’t translate it onto the field.

They were the epitome of “It isn’t bragging if you can back it up.”

And lest we forget, these are fun GAMES and Shaq and the Babe were having FUN playing games. And I know it was fun to watch Shaq, even when he was a Laker.

If the more serious player is more of your style, then you are probably a Kobe lover… or would have preferred Gehrig.

Kobe was raised all over the world, speaks different languages and has a singular purpose… winning basketball games.

Likewise Gehrig was Ivy League educated and refused to take himself out of a game.

But their contrasting styles to Shaq and the Babe were also aesthetically pleasing. Two very different kind of superstars, both physically and in personality.

For Laker fans I am sure it was fun to see Shaq and Kobe together.
No doubt it was fun for Yankee fans to see Ruth and Gehrig together.

And let’s be thankful that both kinds of superstars can exist.

Ruth and Gehrig patched up their differences when Lou was dying.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that with Shaq and Kobe.

I have written a blog post that is basically a love letter to Laker and Yankee greatness.

If you will excuse me, I am going to throw up.
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A guide for Red Sox fans in picking a playoff team to root for

So the playoffs are starting and the Red Sox are on the golf course.
Does that mean we Red Sox fans should just NOT watch the playoffs?

Of course not… just because our team is dead doesn’t mean our interest should be.
Seeing that I was too young to remember 1975, I never saw the Red Sox play in October until 1986, when I was 14. Yet I never missed a post season… I would just temporarily adopt a new team to root for.

It’s fun and involves a lot less pain if they lose.

So here is a guide for Red Sox fans to help you make a decision in picking which of the 8 playoff teams to root for.

CINCINNATI REDS

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Reds

– It is nice to see storied traditional franchises win. (Do we need ANOTHER Marlins World Series winner?)

– A title would be the icing on the cake for Dusty Baker, a great baseball lifer who had near misses with the Giants and the Cubs.

WKRP in Cincinnati was a great underrated show.

– Old friend Bronson Arroyo is still pitching for the Reds. How can you not love Bronson?

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Reds

– I don’t care how many titles we’ve won since… the Sox should have won the 1975 World Series and seeing Cincinnati celebrate again would be too much to handle. Seriously, watch the Ed Armbrister play again and tell me you are rooting for Cincy!

– I’m still bitter that all we got for Bronson Arroyo was Wily Mo Pena. We got snowed.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Giants

– The fans have been tortured in a “Pre 2004 Red Sox” kind of way.

– They lost a World Series where if Willie McCovey hit a ball a foot higher they would have won.

– They lost a World Series because an Earthquake hit. Forget the Bambino… they had a FAULT LINE trip them up.

– You know who… Mr Juicer… is no longer there.

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Giants

– How much suffering can those fans really be going through? Even in their WORST day, they are living in the San Francisco Bay Area!

ATLANTA BRAVES

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Braves

– Winning a title without Glavine, Maddux or Smoltz would shut up the critics of Bobby Cox.

– Jason Heyward is a great budding super star and baseball needs super stars front and center.

– The Braves were once a Boston team… and rooting for them is as close to rooting for a Boston team as we are going to get!

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Braves

– Wasn’t there… ahem… domestic charges against Bobby Cox? And now I’m supposed to root FOR him?

– Braves fans couldn’t even sell out NLCS games and their playoff tickets are always available minutes before first pitch. How can you root for a team whose fans don’t even support them?

– The Braves broke our hearts when they left town… and has Boston sports ever recovered? (OK, yes, but still. They dumped us!)



PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Phillies

– It would be nice to see a dynasty in baseball outside of New York. It might even tick off New York fans which is always fun.

– It’s easy to root for Charlie Manuel. He’s like Grady Little, but with a backbone.

– It’s impossible to NOT root for Ryan Howard.

– A pitcher as good as Roy Halladay deserves a ring.

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Phillies

– Hey! If there is going to be a bunch of insecure Native Northeasterners with a New York inferiority complex having a baseball dynasty, it had better be US!

– Not that we Red Sox fans are angelic Boy Scouts… but doesn’t it seem like every time there is a knuckle head fan being tazed or doing something stupid like vomiting on a little girl, it tends to be in Philadelphia?



TEXAS RANGERS

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Rangers

– They are the only franchise to never win a single playoff series. It’s fun to see a team finally reach the top and know you are witnessing the best moment in the team’s history.

– It is a nice redemption story for both Josh Hamilton and Ron Washington. Hell, you can make the feel good sports movie right now!

– Nolan Ryan runs the team and says “to hell with pitch counts.” If they win, maybe everyone else will follow suit.

– The Rangers most famous fan is George W. Bush… a native New Englander.

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Rangers

– So, Vlad Guerrero sunk the Red Sox last year and sent Papelbon into a tail spin and I’m supposed to root for him now?

– As I addressed in my video, do Ranger fans even care? Would Game 7 of the World Series in Arlington be preempted there for an interview with Tony Romo?

MINNESOTA TWINS

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Twins

– Nice people in a nice outdoor park and a cute name… what’s not to love?

– 9 years ago they were going to be contracted. Now they are in the playoffs for the 6th time since then. Winning it all would be the icing on the cake (and a wonderful f— you to Bud Selig.)

– Joe Mauer is a great superstar and having players like him win a ring can only help the sport.

– Jim Thome has played for 20 seasons and played in October now 9 times… but still is ringless.

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Twins

– There are teams with real legit title droughts… this would be the third World Series title in 23 years for the Twins. Spread the love to Chicago or Cleveland!

– Jim Thome… the guy with 7 post season homers against the Red Sox… I’m supposed to root FOR him now?

– I miss the trash bag right field wall of the Metrodome.

– It might snow in Minnesota. Do we REALLY need to see that?

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Rays

– The greatest turn around of a franchise would be complete… before inevitable cost cutting tears the team apart.

– The Rays can be the answer to anyone who whines about a salary cap and how unfair baseball is.

– Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and David Price are the kind of stars baseball should be promoting. Having them all shine on the big stage can only help baseball.

– It will take some of the sting out of the Red Sox not making the playoffs.

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Rays

– I hate the Rays. Don’t YOU hate the Rays?

– I’m still bitter about 2008. Why couldn’t the Red Sox score a few more runs off of Garza???

– How can you root for a team whose fans need to be handed free tickets to attend a big game? Even their own players crap on their fan base!

NEW YORK YANKEES

Why Red Sox fans should root FOR the Yankees

– You want to test your own personal threshold of pain by watching the Yankees AND Lakers repeat as champions. If you can survive that, you can survive anything.

– You are convinced Joe Girardi is leaving after this year for the Cubs. Winning the title and leaving would be a wonderful f— you to the Yankees.

– You lost a bet.

Why Red Sox fans should root AGAINST the Yankees

– They are the New York Yankees.

– Derek Jeter would be happy.

– It would make the Alex Rodriguez deal look wonderful.

– You will have to interact with that Yankee fan friend of yours who will be saying “28 TITLES!” all winter long.

So go ahead… pick a team. Cheer them on and have a fun but stress free October.
Heck, a lot of fans rooted FOR the Sox in 2004 and AGAINST the Sox in 2007.

Let’s return the favor.
(I’m rooting for San Francisco… who are YOU adopting?)

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