Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Beginnings, Real and Imagined

Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where grand slams off Mariano Rivera happen more than once every decade.

First off, a sincere apology is necessary. It's been WAY too long since my last post. In the last five months, my job has required much more time, travel, etc., and I have another child due any day. It's been absolutely crazy, yet completely exhilarating and exhausting. But for you, it's no excuse.

Speaking of our impending arrival, it's gotten me thinking a bit about sports stars and their kids. You've read all about Shawn Kemp, Travis Henry and the other guys with tons of kids by tons of women. Their shenanigans are well documented. But what about the other extreme - the incredibly talented athletes who have built legend-like status without so much as a peep about their family lives? Granted, they have a right to their privacy, and more power to them for keeping things quiet. But who would you like to see have a child, or add that family angle to their public persona/image? Who would benefit most from a PR/marketing angle from doing so? An interesting question...

Here are a few people I've thought of:
--Peyton Manning. He's almost assuredly a Hall of Famer, and does a lot of great charity work, but he and his wife do not have kids. Couldn't you see this great QB with a little one? A great, battle-decorated gridiron warrior cradling a newborn? He's already pitching so many products - I have to imagine Huggies and Gerber would be knocking down his door if that were to ever happen. The legend would only grow.
--Joe Mauer. Being a native Minnesotan, like Joe, I know well how he's already a god-like figure locally with one of the richest contracts in sports history and a squeaky-clean image. And having spent some time with him, I can say he's just as down to earth and cool in real life as he might seem. But as a bachelor, he hasn't yet had the opportunity to start his own family. If/when he does, I think his star will only rise even more, especially around this state we both call home.
--Tim Tebow. With all the attention he gets for his personal nature, we all forget he's a two-time Heisman winner, one of the most decorated collegiate athletes of all time and a proven winner. Still, let's be honest with ourselves - he's going to always be a media darling because of his personal decisions. And when he has a wife and kids, the topic of the discussion will merely change - it won't go away.

And an honorable mention: Albert Pujols. The guy is one of the true good guys in sports, and does a ton for charity, including running an organization to benefit children with Downs Syndrome and their families, yet he's so darn good at baseball that he doesn't always get the credit he deserves. This guy is an all-around, well-rounded Hall of Famer.

Who else do you think belongs?

I'm out like the Atlanta Hawks. (then again, being out requires "being there" in the first place...which the Hawks weren't in any way, shape or form against the Magic)
(photo credit to Cosmos Magazine)