Video Killed the Baseball Star?

Mike Trout: Major League Baseball and the Infinite Starless

By David Hauser

Who is baseball’s biggest star (or even biggest stars)?  This would be a silly question to ask in basketball and football.  To an enthusiastic baseball fan though this probably sounds like a simple question: the names Kemp, Verlander, Pujols, Jeter, Votto, Hamilton, Fielder, Trout roll off the tongue with the ease and efficiency of an effortless Joe Mauer crack of the bat.  But I offer this follow up question, would your mom or your girlfriend or wife be able to pick even one of these guys out of a visual lineup upon hearing these names?

Consider it the “metric of mom,” an advanced scientific measure developed by an overtime working, coffee induced, crack team at Cal Tech…or maybe not very empirical at all.  Science notwithstanding, it is an excellent place to start when talking about transcendent figures in culture.  Is someone so big that they defy age and gender in their gravitas?[1]

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning: I think it is fair to say they are known by grandmothers, much less mothers.  LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard: yes, yes, and yes in passing the mom metric.  We could probably even safely toss Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Drew Brees, and maybe even Aaron Rodgers into this category after their triumphant past few years.  However, I cannot come up with a single baseball player that I could say with 100% confidence that my mom would be able to identify by name or face (the closest I can surmise would be Evan Longoria, but only because he was cruel to Bree about her new husband and his practicing of cutting edge new exercise methods such as pole dancing).

Here is a simple truth: Kris Humphries has better name recognition than Albert Pujols by moms and wives/girlfriends.  Maybe this is not even particularly surprising considering Humphries is more well-known for his 72-day stint as reality-TV husband of Kim Kardashian, than for his impressive efficiency for collecting rebounds on the hardwood.  However I would go one step further and say that Humphries is an overall larger superstar amongst all ages and across both genders than Albert Pujols (the most productive power hitter in Major League Baseball over the last decade, a man who is fair to mention in the same breath as Ruth, Aaron, and Mays as one of the greatest ever to play the game).  And I have proof. Continue reading

What’s Love Got to Do With it (when it comes to Athlete-Starlet hookups)?

MarkDashian is blowing up the internet rumor mill in the "sports offseason"

Dear Headie Sports Doc,

I’m confused, why is it that athletes and Hollywood starlets always end up pairing off together?  I get that famous people want to be with other famous people, but what is it about the personality makeup of athletes and starlets that so frequently bring them together in relationships?  If I have to start watching yet another sports team (beyond already the Nets, Dolphins, Lakers, and Mavericks) just so I can keep up with the latest happenings of my Kardashian girls, I’m gonna crack!

–PERPLEXED IN PEORIA (IL)

DEAR PERPLEXED,

First off, let’s just be grateful that Kourtney seems pretty locked in to her lukewarm relationship/baby making arrangement with Scott.  So at least you do not have to get roped into tracking yet another sports team to keep up with the Kardashians’ significant others (beyond watching Scott’s occasional flirtations with the shuttlecock in badminton or squash matches with his fellow white collar, freeloading, vodka selling partners that E! sneaks into the show from time to time when they are short on content).

You make some great observations and raise a wonderful question.  Dating back to the Joltin’ Joe/Marilyn Monroe combo through the Andre Agassi/Brook Shields fling to Dennis Rodman/Carmen Electra’s bond and on to the more recent Kim Kardashian/Reggie Bush+Kris Humpries+Mark Sanchez triumvirate of relationships you aptly identified a real pattern in all of this historical pop culture data.  We could even throw Tiger Woods into this category with his love(?) affair with Hollywood San Fernando Valley “starlet” Joslyn James (okay maybe we’ll just stick with the aforementioned examples and steer clear of Tiger’s tales of lust). Continue reading