A Guest Post by Amy Lavoie
With spring training Tweets starting to clog up my timeline worse than my long flowing locks will clog up most shower drains, I can’t help but revisit a subject I am so passionate about. Baseball is a game I will always cherish watching with my Dad & Pepere (RIP), and I especially enjoy going to games. How can I not? I grew up less than an hour away from the best place to watch baseball in the country. Sorry Cubs fans, but Fenway Park wins that argument all day long. However, only AFTER The Cup is hoisted will I give my full attention to the Red Sox.
I have never played a professional sport in my life, nor do I claim to be an expert about what it takes to do so. However, unlike some people who live vicariously through athletes and feel the need to either put them down out of jealousy or hold them up to the highest pedestal as role models, I am just a passionate fan who happens to enjoy expressing my opinions about the sports I watch. People who know me well know that I am not a fan of the NBA and can’t begin to comprehend how people can watch 60 minutes of guys getting paid way too much money to put on a dunk show. The NBA has morphed into an over- hyped product that resembles next to nothing of the game I watched growing up. Remember when Bird and Magic put on a clinic just about every night…and did it rocking the short shorts?! Don’t get me wrong, the Celtics-Lakers rivalry is still alive and well but for me, hockey is by far the most exciting and adrenaline-surging sport to watch. Unless you were living under a rock last week, look no further than the Bruins/Canadians and Islanders/Penguins games. I will not digress onto a subject that can fill another 10 pages…but YES, fighting BELONGS in hockey. That being said…
I have a friend who is always putting down my love for hockey but is obsessed with baseball. This led to a conversation about which athletes are the toughest, and which sport is the most dangerous. But to clarify, I am not referring to what is the hardest thing to do in all of sports…because the hardest thing about that question is where do you begin? How do you compare hitting a 95-mph fastball to throwing a perfect spiral touchdown while a 300+ pound defensive lineman is in your face to scoring an NHL goal? After all, less than 10% of shots on goal produce a goal. Some food for thought: NHL goalies typically stop more than 90% of shots on goal. Top NFL quarterbacks complete more than 60% of passes.
Leading three-point NBA shooters hit better than 40%. But in baseball, if you can get a hit in three out of 10 at-bats, you’ll make millions…just ask Albert Pujols: turning down $25/million a year one day at a time…
As far as I’m concerned, hockey players are the most underpaid professional athletes given what they do. So which sport is the most dangerous and/or toughest given the conditions under which the athletes play and how much they are compensated? This will always be a debate amongst fans. But in true David Letterman fashion, I give you my TOP 10 reasons why hockey is more dangerous than baseball and hockey players are the toughest athletes in the world:
10. Baseball players dive into the stands to grab a foul ball where fans greet them with beer and peanuts to cushion their fall. Hockey players dive onto a hard sheet of ice upon which at anytime their heads can be cracked open. Intentional diving (refer to Sean Avery) is also at their own risk.
9. Unlike the designated hitter position in baseball, hockey players do not ride the pine for 75% of the game and not play defense. Every player on the team contributes in some way whether or not he specializes in offense or defense. (EXCEPTION: @BizNasty2Point0 actually enjoys riding the pine and Tweeting about it while he’s Twooping).
8. Hockey players start fights and finish them. Baseball players come running out the dugout, pile on members of the opposite team (or sometimes their own team) kick up some dirt and run back to the bench. In fact during most of baseball’s brawls, the managers end up kicking more dirt than the players.
I am actually really going to miss the Bobby Cox tirades this season…
7. Hockey players don’t play with balls during their games, but instead they have some of the hottest women in the world play with their balls after the game. BOOM!!!! (I am not letting my Mom read this).
6. While in the City of Brotherly Love, Terrell Owens used to whine he wasn’t getting the ball enough and said upon leaving the Eagles that “the city wasn’t big enough for two people,” – referring to Donovan McNabb.
While in the City of Brotherly Love, New York Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt was run down by an SUV while going for a cup of coffee. Witt got up, brushed himself off, and got his coffee. He also played in the game THAT NIGHT.
5. In 2008, former Rays outfielder Carl Crawford was placed on the 15-day DL with an injured right middle finger tendon and his status for the remainder of the season was unknown. He did not return until late September after which he played in 2 games but did not get an at-bat. (Note to my Red Sox friends & fans who will crush me for including this: here’s hoping he stays healthy in Boston this season.)
While working on his family’s farm in 1985, New Jersey Devils right wing Pat Verbeek had his thumb completely severed off by a corn thresher. While his brother drove him 20 miles to the nearest hospital, his father dug the thumb out of the machine and doctors were able to re-attach it. Pat went on to have a long and successful NHL career and never missed one game because of the injury.
4. In 2009 Stephon Marbury was diagnosed as the laziest NBA player by multiple team doctors. Marbury told the New York Post he has “shut everything down” and has no plans to play this season, but expects to return to the NBA in 2010-11. “I’m resting, doing what Michael Jordan did, enjoy life, do things I haven’t done in 16 years, keep building my empire.”
In January, 2004 New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens was diagnosed with a concussion by the team doctor and forced to sit out. The concussion actually occurred during Game 3 of the 2003 Playoffs when he took a slap shot to the head. Not only did Stevens score the game-winning goal in Game 4, he went through the whole summer, training camp, and half the next season before realizing there was something wrong. (For the record, I DO NOT condone or encourage athletes playing with a concussion.)
3. Baseball players carry gloves and may have a collision and fall on the grass/dirt once every month during the course of their 162-game season. Hockey players are constantly colliding with each other while wearing razor sharp skates and carrying sticks that are too often wrongly used as weapons all 82 games of their season.
2. Hockey players don’t fake injuries to get a day off, make phone calls inside the Green Monster or take a whiz in the middle of games, or take days off to get their dreadlocks colored to match their uniform. No hard feelings Manny Ramirez I truly enjoyed all your years in Boston…enjoy your renewed bromance with Johnny Damon in Tampa this season.
1. In hockey, blood dripping down the face is an everyday occurrence. In baseball, there’s only been one bloody sock in the history of the game! Thank you Curt Schilling…and to all those bitter Yankees fans, NO
IT WAS NOT KETCHUP!!!!!
So the next time your favorite MLB player is sidelined with razor burn or your NFL team’s highest paid wide receiver is on the sidelines crying “That’s my quarterback!!!” or your NBA team’s top center is out 2-3 weeks with hurt feelings, please read this and consider the hockey player.