Friday, November 13, 2009

Style Points

Reading The Book of Basketball has inspired me to reread The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac by those maniacs at Free Darko. It's sort of like a scouting profile of some NBA stars if the scouts were those kids that sat at the table of the cafe in high school that was the intersection of the geek set and the stoner set. Anyways, they have a manifesto, like all good revolutionaries do, and part of it is the theory of liberated fandom. Part of this theory is actually old-fashioned Grantland Rice stuff. Ya know, "It's not whether you win or lose. It's how you play the game." This got me thinking about two Massachusetts guys who were gate attractions based on more than their ability. Mark "The Bird" Fidrych and Rabbit Maranville. The Bird, would do stuff like talk to the ball, while Rabbit perfected a vest pocket catch and would often mimic umpires while they weren't watching; to the delight of the fans. I've seen old sports columns that said that he was the second biggest gate attraction after Ruth. Not sure if it was true, but some believed it. These two guys were Free Darko players. Do any current ones have animal nicknames?

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