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SI's Sportsmen of the Year.... The BoSox


I give up. This board is too hard to understand.


Who else?
Red Sox and their fans make Sportsman of the Year choice an easy one
Posted: Sunday November 28, 2004 5:33PM;

Hard to believe, but a few weeks ago, our Sportsman of the Year selection hung in the balance. Oh, there were deserving candidates. A wealth of them. And that was the problem.

Would you bestow the honor on the human parable that is Lance Armstrong, winner of a sixth consecutive Tour de France? Or Roger Federer, who played peerless, lights-out tennis, all the while comporting himself like the consummate gentleman? What about Ichiro Suzuki, who used his bat with surgical precision as he set the all-time record for hits in a season? But was he really more deserving than Diana Taurasi, who became the standard bearer for basketball excellence (gender be damned)? Then there were Olympians such as Michael Phelps and Carly Patterson who prospected so much gold in Athens.

Just when the discussions started to rage, a group of self-professed idiots and their long-suffering and adorning fans made our decision clear cut. Already, the story has taken on a biblical ring, but we like retelling it anyway. It had been -- all together now -- 86 years since Red Sox Nation had won the World Series. During that time the Boston franchise found new and creative ways to perpetuate the Curse of the Bambino and tatter the soul of its followers. The Red Sox didn't merely reverse the curse in 2004 -- they made a mockery of it. Down 3-0 in the American League Championship Series against their pinstriped rivals from New York, the Sox mounted an unprecedented rally to win the pennant. By then the fates had written the script and Boston simply crushed St. Louis to win the World Series, consecrating the most stirring victory in New England since 1776.

Collectively, the Sox were Sportsmen in the truest sense -- professional, collegial, colorful athletes who were easy to root for. The word heroic might get tossed around too blithely in sports, but how else to describe Curt Schilling's surpassing pitching on a mangled ankle? David Ortiz, who played the role of the clubhouse cut-up, redefined the term clutch hitting. Keith Foulke -- previously known for postseason jitters in Oakland -- emerged as a reliable stopper. Lambasted by the Boston media, righty Derek Lowe pitched the clinching games in all the postseason series. Johnny Damon was the free-spirited lead-off hitter in terminal need of a haircut and shave.

"Since Red Sox fans are so intense and baseball's a long, 162-game season, it helped that this team was as loose as it was," says Theo Epstein, the team's 30-year-old general manager. "If this team was as intense as its fans, it could have been too serious, too overbearing for everyone."

After the final out of this unlikely season, as rapture was overtaking Red Sox Nation, a group of fans paraded around Boston with shirts reading "It's Over." The slogan, of course, referred to the exorcism of the curse. But, lucky for us, it also applied to any further Sportsman of the Year deliberations.
Many good available options to choose from there. SI should award a "Team of the Year" in addition to a "Sportsman of the Year."

My problems with the article are more with the other nominees who came close to winning, but didn't. SI is trying to appease certain marketable demographics rather than honor a couple sportsmen who had very rare years.

Specifically, I find it interesting that Diana Taurasi and Ichiro Suzuki are mentioned as close runners-up, but people like Vijay Singh and Pat Tillman are not. I understand Taurasi is a great women's bball player, but was her year so great that it stood out as being the best among all athletes in all sports? I didn't get that impression at all. Additionally, Ichiro may have set the record for hits in a season--but he's a lead-off hitter who doesn't take walks, had over 700 at-bats, and slaps most of his hits in the purgatory between the outfielders and the infielders. Again, he is an elite athlete and that is quite an accomplishment, but I don't think I'm alone in saying that it didn't make me, as a fan, sit back in wonder with a loss for words to describe what I was watching. (Was he even the MVP?).

Mr. Singh and Mr. Tillman did leave me at a loss for words. Granted, what Pat Tillman did was sacrifice his life for his country, and that didn't come on the field of play in a sporting event. I don't care. What he did was unfuckingbelievable in today's self-centered, what's-in-it-for-me world. He has my vote for Sportsman of the Year, and it's not even close.

Now on to Vijay Singh. He had one of the greatest seasons that his sport has ever seen (much like Federer, who was mentioned in the article). 9 tour victories, consistently spread out throughout the season, including the PGA Championship. He joined a very elite group to win that many events in a season, joining the likes of Tiger Woods and Sam Snead. He's the first $10 million dollar man, and he crushed the competition. He came from a very modest background, and got a later start than his peers. But his age and minority aren't as marketable as others, and thus he doesn't receive the same recognition that a golfer of his caliber should.

That's it--just felt like doin a little rantin'. Congrats to the Red Sox, who left the Cubbies as the last cursed MLB team!
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JohnnyCock is absolutely right.

In the world of sports, we've often been taught that it's "always about the ball." Or is it that "It's not always about the ball."

Fact is, the ball has nothing to do with it. Pat Tillman was the hands down winner of this award, and the "rag" that is "SI" dropped "the ball" big time on this one.

Congrats to The Red Sox for showing the Yankees that it is still possible to buy a championship, only if you spend your money wisely.

Bigger Congrats to the Tillman family for showing all of us that raising a son to have morals and fortitude beyond what any of us here could ever imagine is still perceived as great in our society. Pat was a "stud" on the field. He was a bigger "STAR" off of it.
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Mili: "This shouldn't even be up for discussion. How can anyone even half-seriously not consider Tillman?"

These stupid 'Sportsman of the Year' Awards are a joke anyway. Remember when Tyrone (Now Fired) Willingham won TSN's Sportsman of the Year in '02?

The same season, mind you, when Tressel did a much better job and won the National Championship.
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I think the SI curse worked backwards since the World Series.

I know the BoSox won, but who would've thought that John Kerry would ever be on the cover of SI? That's why he lost the election a month earlier, the SI curse was another one 'Reversed' by the Red Sox.

If you want to find him, look between the 'B' and the 'O' and follow all the way over to the left edge.

Last cursed baseball team?
Cleveland? 1948 isn't nearly as bad as both Chicago teams.

1908 and 1917, both even longer than Boston's wait had been.

Of course the White Sox cursed themselves in 1919 when they darkened their Sox.
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I was also suprised Tillman didn't win. But I think SI took some "heat" from readers several years back when they had Ashe winning. Ashe like Tillman was an amazing person whose personality overshadowed everything he did as an athlete. Ashe won his "Sportsman of the Year" award decades after he stopped playing tennis and when he was found to have AIDS and died shortly afterwards (I forget if he had already died when he was awarded). So it's somewhat similar to Tillman who also was no longer an athlete.

Arthur Ashe and Pat Tillman also have another parallel. The media and public idolized them only after they died. If Ashe never had gotten AIDS and Tillman had never had the bad luck to have gotten killed, would that make them any less of a hero?
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Good point Tibor-I agree. Tillman would have joined the military whether or not he played in the NFL. His being a football player makes for good media coverage, but would he be any less of a hero if all he did was drive a concrete truck or deliver pizza? Some might say yes, because he gave up a million dollar career, but that shames the sacrifices of all of our soldiers over there,IMO. SI is like ND-the last time they were actually relevant was in the 80's/early 90's...............
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stxbuck said:
Good point Tibor-I agree. Tillman would have joined the military whether or not he played in the NFL. His being a football player makes for good media coverage, but would he be any less of a hero if all he did was drive a concrete truck or deliver pizza? Some might say yes, because he gave up a million dollar career, but that shames the sacrifices of all of our soldiers over there,IMO. SI is like ND-the last time they were actually relevant was in the 80's/early 90's...............
great post, but im sure every person driving a concrete truck or delivering a pizza would knock some years off the back end of their life to be million dollar athlete like Tillman was, but for Tillman to give up all of this (a 3.6 million daollar contract for a 17,000 dollar a year job) and put his life on the line just like all of our troops out their fighting in Iraq, is truly an accomplishment.

RIP #40


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