Friday, February 29, 2008

Lack of sports nuts? I don't think so

In his most recent “Sticky Wickets” entry, writer Robert Collins explains how he will miss the now deceased Bobby Fischer’s crazy antics. He goes into detail how sports stars don’t have enough personality and how “a little craziness would go a long way.”

With all due respect Mr. Collins – are you serious?

I understand the point of the article – sports stars aren’t what they used to be. Gun toting, binge-drinking, womanizing buffoons who would fight fans and curse at journalists, but times have changed. Ty Cobb can’t go in the stands and beat on a guy with one arm anymore. Babe Ruth can't drink a brew during his home run trot.

Also, not to question Collins’ sports fandom, but there are a ton of crazy sports stars active right now – their stories are often simply buried to keep our games “pure.” Maybe they aren’t anti-Semites like Fischer, but many of them are pretty batty.

Exhibit A: Gilbert Arenas. The guy not only gets credit for launching the first huge sports star blog – a stream of consciousness wonder that deals with everything from basketball to Halo, but he is also fond of absurd nicknames, blasting front offices and commenting of the state of the league he plays in.

Blog aside, the man has hilarious nicknames like “Hibachi” and “Agent Zero” (which is on of the best nicks ever, by the way) and a pension for ridiculous in-game antics. He draped his jersey on the court after hitting a game winner. He has made bets with fans about hitting shots. He’s said he could score 80 against Duke. All this and a thousand other wacky stories and anecdotes have come from the brain of Arenas. He’s the crown prince of crazy in sports today.

An obvious pair of crazy is the tandem of Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens. The latter may or may not have tried to kill himself with pills, did sit-ups in his driveway in front the media and strained a shoulder throwing various ex-teammates under the bus. The former is one of the few remaining entertaining TD dancers – proposing to a cheerleader, wearing a Hall of Fame jacket, giving the football CPR and controlling a TV camera, among many others.

Have you seen a post game interview with Clinton Portis? He wears what looks like cheap Halloween costumes and gives himself alter-egos with kooky names. By all accounts, he’s pretty nuts.

One of the most horrible scenes in sports revolved around King Crazy himself, Ron Artest - the Malice at the Palace. Artest went into the crowd and punched a fan who may or may not have thrown a cup of beer at him while he was laying on the scorers table. Artest’s boxing buddy, Stephen Jackson is also insane. Jackson’s craziness can be understood simply by looking at his tattoo.

How about the quote machine that is Ichiro Suzuki? Maybe it’s his interpreter having a blast, but the man has been a fountain of absurd quotes – from hating Cleveland to loving ice cream – Ichiro is pretty crazy.

Want some more violence in your crazy? Ever heard of Delmon Young? Or Elijah Dukes? Young threw a bat at a minor league ump and Dukes has some serious problems with the opposite sex.

Staying with MLB, Carl Everett doesn’t believe in dinosaurs, spit on an ump and has blown up more times than anyone can count. Manny Ramirez is still playing. He’s gone into the Green Monster to pee during games, makes odd/lazy plays in the outfield, tried to sell a grill online and will have the best Hall of Fame speech ever.

There are a lot of absolutely, positively insane sports stars playing right now. Most of them at a high level too. I haven't even mentioned Pacman Jones, the Minnesota Viking's party boat, Allen Iverson and a score of others. Although it’s a tall order to pass the delusional Fischer, I think we’re in a pretty good place in terms of sports crazies.

I would advise you, Mr. Collins to take a look over at and other sports blogs for you dose of sports craziness. I’ve only touched on the stars who are crazy, and this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

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