Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who's Now? Well, Who's Kinda Now? But Only In America

If you've watched ESPN at all in the last month, you will have come across a completely ridiculous and obnoxious bracket determining
Who's Now? Whatever the hell that means. I suppose it means who is getting the most buzz on and off the field of play in the world sports right now. Except they forgot one thing: The most popular sport in the world. Becks and Ronaldinho were included, but both fell behind the insane buzz that Kaka and The Fake Ronaldo created this season with their play - at least in the media. Ronaldinho was busy being called fat and not showing up in the World Cup or CL while Kaka was single handedly destroying ManU's entire back four. Or how about the offseason turmoil that Titi Henry created with his move? That isn't "Now"? The guy is hanging out with Allen Iverson and Steve Nash, and he's not creating any buzz?

Even though they opened up the flood gates with the inclusion of Ronaldinho, it's still American-based at the core. Which makes it inherently flawed (Bill Maher will 'touch' on that one later). Only 47% of the country knows who David Beckham is, the most recognizable face in the world of sports. Only 50% of Americans knew the World Cup even happened last summer. I'm assuming the poll sample they used for that one came from the local maximum security prison and The Institute for the Deaf, Blind and Plain Stupid. And I do remember discussing in Poli Sci one day in HS how less than 50% of the country knew at the time that Bill Clinton was THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And this was well into his first term. I think we should rename the US, "The Capitalist Conglomerate With Lower Than Average Expectations."

Getting back to "now," here are the current quarterfinal matchups:

Tiger Woods vs. LaDainian Tomlinson
Peyton Manning vs. Alex Rodriguez
LeBron James vs. Derek Jeter
Tom Brady v Shaq/Tony Parker

And here are some of the names ousted in the first round:

Sidney Crosby - Couldn't pick him out of a police lineup if my life depended on it.
Vince Young - One solid rookie year. He's next, not now.
Danica Patrick - Don't even get me started.
Chuck Liddell - He's 'now' if 'now' means getting KO'd in under a minute in your last fight.
Serena Williams - Is there steroid testing in tennis? She's 2 years from being put out to stud.
Matt Leinert - See: Vince Young. And I wouldn't bet the house on him being next, either. Though I would bet the house on him knocking up some Phoenix area Hooters waitress in the next 8 months. You can take that one to the bank.
Tony Parker - If not for his highly overrated wife, he wouldn't have a prayer of making this competition. Being The French Unibrow does not make you now. It makes you skeevy.

Basically, if you're waking up next to an athlete, model, Playmate, adult film star, musician or anybody else whose mug you might find in People magazine or Us Weekly, they're now. Remember, it's not what you know (or what you can do), it's who you know. How Brad Penny or Barry Zito aren't on this list is beyond me. Isn't Planet Zito dating Hillary Duff and Penny dating some actress whose name I can't remember? Zito's got that ridiculous contract and Penny's vying for the Cy. And haven't both of them taken part in the Talented Pitcher's Orientation Program, aka Shagging Alyssa Milano? That's pretty 'Now' by my book.

You know who wasn't on that list? Michael Vick. You know who is more now than anyone in America? Michael Vick. You know who is transcending boundaries? Michael Vick. You know who ESPN won't stop covering incessantly? Michael Vick. Why they are even having a poll for this is beyond me.

I won't even get started on the panel, which includes such sporting pundits as Adam Sandler, Jessica Biel and that fat guy from Queens. You don't suppose their new movie is being financed by Disney, do ya? Me neither. Combine this with the breaking news story ESPN had on one day about Paris Hilton being released from jail and I think we're about 6 weeks from Sportscenter having a live segment with the women (I use that term loosely) from
The View, hosted by Bill Maher and Lindsay Lohan - doing a satellite feed from rehab with sunglasses on and a bite block in her mouth to muffle the chattering. Personally, I blame all of this relatively newfound pop Americana on the human psyche and childhood bullies.

And my vote for Who's Now goes to Alexandre Vinokourov, because an entire sport is about to go down in flames. Excuse me, an entire competitive recreational activity is about to go down in flames. Enjoy the show.