Alex Rodriguez carried the Yankees to the 2009 title. He was their biggest bat, he had the most clutch moments and he finished with one of the better statistical postseasons in a while. If that's not enough, he dumped the Crossover Superstar quest and just concentrated on playing baseball, hanging out with his girlfriend and that's it. Even his teammates seem to like him this year. Damn it all.Wow! It's always shocking when a sportswriter does such a 180. But for Red Sox fan Simmons to do so is pretty stunning, given all the anti-A-Rod stuff he's written over the years. Simmons even described the Yankees as having "good chemistry"!
That's not all. Nearly three years after Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts - and Simmons, who was covering Super Bowl Week for ESPN.com, somehow never got around to writing a post-Super Bowl column about the game - he finally acknowledges that Manning isn't the choker he thought he was:
Peyton Manning is clutch. He's a champion. He's the heart of the Colts, and for all we know he's coaching them, too. You cannot wager against him, especially in night games. He's the most important player in football. Take Manning off the Colts and they disintegrate into dust. If that's not enough, he has proved to be a likable, engaging guy with a sense of humor. Damn it all.A little - make that a lot - late, but still a huge concession for somebody who wrote a hundred "Peyton Manning Face" columns over the years.
And finally, Simmons praised Kobe Bryant, writing:
Kobe Bryant won a title his way -- by establishing a Kobe and the Kobettes dynamic that actually worked -- becoming one of the ten best NBA players ever and proving he could prevail without Shaq. If that wasn't jarring enough, Shaq's exit from Phoenix marked the fourth time he left a team on bad terms, making everyone re-evaluate the whole "Was Kobe really the bad guy in the Shaqobe Divorce?" saga that had been buried years ago.I'm still trying to figure out why Simmons made such huge concessions. Is it to get people to buy his new tome The Book of Basketball? Who knows? It's all very strange. Never expected him to write any of this, especially not on A-Rod.
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