Man Crush of the Week: Theo Epstein

 

I wouldn't go this far, but Theo did some work this offseason.

The Boston Red Sox were able to trade for Adrian Gonzalez and sign Carl Crawford in the matter of a week, pretty much securing their position as a serious World Series contender in 2011. As a result, former “wonder boy” GM Theo Epstein is already being called “unstoppable” by certain Boston media outlets.

I’m not going to go that far but Theo has, for at least a few days, made me like the Red Sox…and for that he certainly deserves the MCOW this week. Since the whole 2004 thing, the Red Sox have really supplanted the New York Yankess as my least favorite team in baseball. They took on that air of pretension after winning the World Series and Red Sox fans immediately became more annoying than Yankees fans.

But you have to applaud Theo for what he’s done, getting two of the best players at their position in the game…who also happen to be two like-able guys. Now you’re looking at a team core of Crawford, Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis. As much as I can’t stand Youkilis, that’s a team that I can not only watch, but also root for (just a little…quietly).

What’s even more awesome about the Crawford signing is that, by all accounts, Theo just swooped in out of nowhere to make this deal. Apparently he was blowing smoke by throwing money at Mariano Rivera and Cliff Lee, all the while secretly wooing Crawford. In a world where we always get unverified stories by “sources close to the situation”, it’s amazing that Theo was able to pull this off with such stealth.

Plus I had to give out some Yale love, and Theo had a much better week than the Whiffenpoofs.

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Man Crush of the Week: Blake Griffin

 

You can't get dunked on much worse than this.

One of the drawbacks of being out of the USA for six weeks was not being able to see the NBA. Understandably, when I got back to Toronto I went nuts watching every NBA game I could find on the Rogers Satellite Dish. Unfortunately I was treated mostly to Toronto Raptors action (the promos for games literally feature Sonny Weems and Ed Davis…catch the fever!). Luckily my fiancee’s parents have NBATV and I was lucky enough to see, for the first time, a little glimpse of Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin.

I had heard he was doing well, but the first highlights I saw were of Griffin destroying the New York Knicks. As soon as I saw that Griffin was immediately catapulted into Man-Crush consideration.

The deal was sealed last week when I went home to L.A. for Thanksgiving and actually got to see the man play live on TV. Goodness.

I keep thinking back to something I heard when he was entering the draft. Jay Bilas said he heard someone describe Griffin as “a dumptruck on a trampoline.” I’m not usually a Jay Bilas fan, but that description is pretty perfect. Then again, I guess Jay didn’t come up with it so I can still hate him. Nice.

Anyway, it’s not just the dunks for me with Griffin (although if it were just the dunks that would probably be enough), it’s the fact that he’s actually good at basketball. Too often you see guys like that who are over-hyped, but Griffin is beyond legit. Plus he looks really good as a woman.

 

Don't act like you're not thinking about it.

And with the grown-out red hair he kind of reminds me of this guy from my childhood. So Blake Griffin easily wins this week’s MCOW and I’ll leave you with a nice treat to get you through your day at work:

Man Crush of the Week

 

Talk about a no-brainer.

Not only is Rafael Nadal the Mr. Olympia of tennis, but he also just outlasted the greatest tennis player of all time in the longest Wimbledon final of all-time. Nadal, in four hours and 48 minutes, effectively displayed to Roger Federer how the guns will, in fact, get you.

What a week for Spain. First Euro 2008, now this? I’m telling you now, watch out for the Gasol brothers leading Spain to Olylmpic basketball gold in a couple months.

We all have ESPN, so I don’t need to tell you what all the analysts have been saying. This is the greatest Wimbledon final, and possibly the greatest tennis match of all time. I’d like to argue that the epic three-setter that my brother and I played two years ago on the Taft High School hard courts (finished on a whopping 74 mph ace that I called out and he called in) was better, but we’ll leave that for another time.

 

Watch out for the guns

Watch out for the guns

The greatness of this match almost made me miss my flight. I was in Buffalo (on my way back from Canada) and Rafa and Roger were on the plasma in the bar, about 4 gates down from mine. It was 6-5 in the fifth set when it was time for me to board, so I walked down to the gate. Since I saw no plane I asked the lady at the desk what time we were scheduled to board.

“You want to watch the tennis game don’t you?” she said with a smile. “Just be back in 15 minutes.”

Despite the unusually friendly suggestion by a flight-related worker, I still was forced to board when it was 7-7.  My new best friend in 7A (he had a blackberry) informed me that it was 8-7 just before the flight attendant called the “writ of no electronics.” It immediately occured to me that Federer had served that 15th game, so Nadal must have broken him and was now serving for the championship.

Fifteen minutes on a prop plane later, we landed in Rochester and as soon as 7A got the all-clear signal from the flight attendant he turned around and shouted “Nine Seven!” On one hand I was disappointed I didn’t get to see the conclusion, but from what I hear the last two games were played in near darkness, so it’s not like I missed anything, right? Right?

 

Anyway, by beating Federer on a surface that you can’t make pots out of, Nadal has now turned this into an official rivalry. It’s great for both of them and, more importantly, it’s great for men’s tennis.

Rafa, with your flowing locks, bulging biceps, and propensity to teasingly wipe yourself down with a towel after every single point, you have unanimously (one vote to zero) won the coveted MCOW Award.

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