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November 21, 2008 at 7:07 am ET
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These Sportsmen Ain’t S#!t #2: CC Sabathia, Hope Solo, Abhinav Bindra, Fresno State Baseball, Joey Cheek

These Sportsment Ain't S#!t

Jon Heyman has nominated Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon for Sports Illustrated’s 2008 Sportsman Of The Year. I trust that by now all of our readers know the many, many reasons why Joe Maddon would be the most deserving recipient of this award — EVER. But I thought it would be fun and in character to take a look at the other nominees and demonstrate objectively and conclusively that….

All the other nominees AIN’T S#!T COMPARED TO JOE MADDON….

CC SABATHIA

Luke Winn’s case: “when the Brewers ended that drought by clinching the NL wild card on the season’s final day, there was no player who had poured more of himself into the playoff bid than Sabathia. His stats were Cy-worthy — 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 130 2/3 innings pitched — but his actions showed a level of devotion disproportionate with his status as a rental.”

Why CC SABATHIA ain’t s#!t: I think Sabathia deserved the Cy over the child in San Francisco they gave it to, but his impact pales in comparison to Maddon. It’s also impressive that CC overcame his low sperm count. Sabathia did a helluva lot in a run to make the postseason, only to get rocked by the Phillies in the first round. If the Brewers had made the playoffs last in ’02 instead of ’82 nobody would’ve noticed. I still don’t think it’s anything to go urinating all over yourself about. Maddon made the Devil Rays good all year, and put them in a position to be good for years to come. Sabathia made the Brewers good for a couple of months, and now he’ll leave and they’ll go right back to being shitty. And Maddon did it in the AL East against AL teams, not in the shitty NL Central against shitty NL teams. If CC’s dumb enough to come back to the AL, he’ll see he ain’t shit compared to Maddon on a regular basis.

HOPE SOLO

George Dohrmann’s case: “behind Solo’s story of redemption is a more layered one about women’s sports in general. As my colleague Grant Wahl wrote before the Olympics, the Solo affair raised many questions: ‘Did Solo’s outburst violate a team-first ethos that was a cornerstone of the U.S. women’s appeal and success, or was that mentality naive in the first place? Did her punishment fit the crime? And would it even have been imposed on a men’s team?’ …. The answers Solo provided with her star turn in Beijing have moved the women’s game to a better place. …. The U.S. won because they had the most talent and they played as a team. The ‘friends’ angle was just that, an angle.”

Why HOPE SOLO ain’t s#!t: I’m all for male and female athletes expressing themselves and not being crucified by the press for maybe hurting the feelings of their coaches and teammates. Since I don’t watch any women’s team sports I didn’t even know this was an issue. Still I have trouble seeing the far-reaching impact of her performance. She played well for a team that nobody was shocked won the gold, but let’s not go making her Billie Jean King just yet. I’d wager Joe Maddon has a better chance of being a cultural force with the mohawk and other crazy shit he’s done that you wouldn’t expect a manager or coach in any sport to do. In terms of sports culture or sports achievement, Hope Solo ain’t shit compared to Maddon.

ABHINAV BINDRA

Alexander Wolff’s case: “With his performance in the 10-meter air rifle, Bindra became India’s first individual Olympic gold medalist ever. That makes him a canary in the coal mine of one of the most fascinating countries in the developing world. …. After he picked up a rifle a decade ago, Bindra’s wealthy family sank millions of rupees into his career. …. A nation prosperous enough to give an athlete decisive advantages — advantages that led him to claim the ultimate prize on world sport’s greatest stage — is by definition no longer a global backwater. …. We should get used to Indians bowing, and not doing so in subservience.”

Why ABHINAV BINDRA ain’t s#!t: Saying anything here seems like overkill, but…. dude is not fucking Ghandi. Who suddenly shed their racist impressions of a nation of a billion people because one rich kid from that nation became the Yankees of 10-meter air rifle at the Olympics? Who the fuck even knew 10-meter air rifle was an Olympic event? Don’t they have ballroom dancing and rythmic gymnastics and snowboarding and synchronized swimming in the Olympics? Shooting an air rifle ain’t a fucking sport either. Fuck the Olympics (especially the Summer Olympics) and fuck Alexander Wolff.

FRESNO STATE BASEBALL

Lee Jenkins’s case: “They played six elimination games — and they won all six. By the time their pilgrimage ended, five weeks later at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, they had won one of the most unlikely national championships in the history of college sports. Fresno State made the Tampa Bay Devil Rays look like preseason favorites.”

Why FRESNO STATE BASEBALL ain’t s#!t: I don’t care if Matt Garza went there, children play with metal bats. Children are not sportsMEN. If it was college basketball, maybe you could compare it to MLB. But they play with metal bats and a sizable amount of the decent college-age baseball players are playing in the minors. Getting on a nice lucky streak at the end of the year ain’t like beating the Yankees and Red Sox with only a quarter of their payroll. I care more about the Caribbean World Series than the College World Series and so should you.

JOEY CHEEK

Jack McCallum’s case: “[Three-time Olympic speed skating medalist] Cheek last made headlines for something that happened off the ice — the Chinese Embassy revoked his visa shortly before he was set to leave the U.S. for the Beijing Olympics. What prompted China’s action was Cheek’s involvement in Team Darfur, an organization of international athletes he co-founded to bring awareness to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Cheek’s intention — and he made no secret about it — was to talk to athletes, the media and the public in Beijing about China’s financial support of a government that has brutalized Darfur’s people. The visa revocation was news for a day or two but it died quickly, partly because IOC and USOC officials gave Cheek zero support.”

Why JOEY CHEEK ain’t s#!t: I’m totally for athletes making political statements. (Well, maybe not Curt Schilling.) But a former athlete who tried to make a political statement and failed should be Sportsman Of The Year? Seriously? Jim Brown does great work to stop gang violence — maybe he can be the 2009 Sportsman Of The Year? I make political statements from time to time here on Bugs & Cranks, can I be Sportsman Of The Year? Or is, I don’t know, participation in some sort of competitive sporting endeavor in this calendar year some kind of unfair prerequisite?

Previously on Your Sportsmen Ain’t S#!t Compared To Joe Maddon….

#1: Tiger Woods, The Boston Celtics, Central Washington Softball, Bernard Hopkins, and Nnamdi Asomugha

Coming soon to Your Sportsmen Ain’t S#!t Compared To Joe Maddon….

On Deck: #3 Barack Obama, Brian McBride, Jimmie Johnson, Anderson Silva, Padraig Harrington

In The Hole: #4 Josh Hamilton, Kurt Warner, Stephen Curry, Nick Lidstrom, and the Anderson Monarchs

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