Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sportsman of the Year

I'll try not to toot my own horn too loudly about this, but back on October 30 I wrote a post about the amazing October enjoyed by the San Francisco Giants, one which just happened to include a line predicting that Madison Bumgarner would be Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.  Indeed, at the time I wrote that he was the obvious (and only) choice.

So I'm happier about this than any sane 54-year old (no comments from the peanut gallery, please) has any right to be.  For someone who started subscribing to SI almost 45 years ago, Sportsman of the Year has always been a big deal to me.  You can ask my mom how I reacted in December 1975 when I came home from school expecting to see Jack Nicklaus on the cover, and found Pete Rose smiling back at me instead.  (Things got a little better three years later when Jack was indeed the man).

I'm not even saying that SI always gets it right - in fact, they probably wish there were a few they could take back after the fact (Sosa and McGwire, perhaps?  Lance Armstrong?).  But for the most part, their selections over the years have been solid - and do in fact include an element of sportsmanship to go along with the purely athletic achievements that play a huge role in winning the award.

What's cool about this from the standpoint of a longtime Giants fan is that it feels almost like the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" on the historic nature of what the Giants have accomplished - and what Bumgarner accomplished over the course of 29 remarkable days.  Being named Sportsman of the Year places one in very heady company, and there is no shortage of legends up there on that stage - names like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Billie Jean King, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Derek Jeter, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, The 1980 Olympic Hockey Team, Jim Ryun, Chris Evert, and all the others.  Great stuff...historic stuff.

So congratulations to Madison Bumgarner...Sportsman of the Year.

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