“Your Proximity is Disconcerting”

As I stood on the train platform waiting for the E train, a hefty woman with an off-putting aroma sauntered to the front of the platform and set up shop about a foot from me. Without a viable recourse except to be obvious and move, I thought to myself “your proximity is disconcerting.” And I don’t know if it’s a sad commentary on the inner workings of my mind of if it’s a window into the soul of a veritable genius but this got me thinking. How many players in sports are teammates with a guy that they wouldn’t be caught dead with after the game? How many players represent a core set of values, completely at odds with another player’s morals? How many players are at opposite ends of the spectrum yet play alongside each other? Below are four such situations and the respective outlooks going forward.

Yankees: Joba Chamberlain(RP) & Kyle Farnsworth(RP) One is a 22-year-old, 100 mph throwing, Native American from Nebraska who has been virtually unhittable since his rapid promotion from single- A to the majors. The other is a surly 31-year-old with a lot of talent but none of the tact that it is assumed a veteran should possess. Joba makes a minimum salary while Farnsworth is in the middle of a dubious attempt at earning a 3-year $17 million deal. This season Farnsworth called out teammates and complained about his role in the bullpen. Joba on the other hand, was such a revelation in the bullpen that fans flocked to WebMD to make sure there wasn’t a contagious bad attitude disease Farnsworth might pass to Chamberlain.

Outlook: Look for Farnsworth to be jettisoned to the Royals, Pirates, or Nationals as punishment for his crimes.

Lakers: Kobe Bryant(SG) & Kwame Brown(C)-One is one of the most dynamic basketball players alive, the other a first round bust on his second team. One has been labeled the next Michael Jordan, the other was labeled a derogatory term for sexual preference by Michael Jordan when they both played on the Wizards. Kobe has tried to strong arm his way to another team with a trade demand, while Brown breathes a sigh of relief every time he sees his paycheck in the mailbox. Kwame Brown is a perfect example of why Bryant wants to leave the Lakers. He expected management to build around him with quality players that are ready to win now and they countered with a reclamation project in Brown and a raw, straight out of high school, player in Andrew Bynum. Outlook: Brown showed signs of life in the playoffs two years ago but never really got going last year. Because of an injury he only played half the season. Maybe he will finally stop teasing of his potential and begin realizing it. Or maybe it won’t matter because Kobe will be waving goodbye as he rides out of town.

Bengals: Carson Palmer(QB) & Nine vigilante teammates(Assorted)- This really could have been a comparison between Palmer and Chris Henry because while the Bengals actually have thirteen arrests he has four of them. Chris, you’re not even trying at this point. But seriously how sad is Palmer at any given time? He is one of the most underrated players in the NFL and though three schmo’s named Manning, Brady, and Favre get all the pub he is definitely a player of their caliber. Regardless, Carson has nine….nine teammates who were arrested last year. An NFL team has 53 players. I’ll pause for perspective. This means the Bengals could nearly field a team that has better familiarity with the back of a squad car than the playbook. Poor Carson can probably predict the following day’s police blotter after hearing plans for teammate’s whereabouts in the locker room.

Outlook: You mean besides Palmer becoming the first quarterback to openly weep in the huddle? Palmer’s prime ticks away while management foolishly refuses to change the makeup and culture of the team. Look for some of these bozos to get the boot and for the team to draft players based more on character than on talent. Based more on integrity than proficiency in taking shots of mace to the face without flinching.

Isiah Thomas(GM/HC) & Stephon Marbury(PG)- Oh who am I kidding! Thomas exploits as a player are a thing of the past and the man in his current incantation has shown himself to be a bumbling general manager and now head coach. He is teamed with a dubiously motivated former star player. If anyone saw the show they put on during Thomas’ recent sexual discrimination trial you now know that these two deserve each other. But I actually feel bad for Knicks fans. When the top off-season revelation about your team is that a woman in the company of your head coach and your most recognizable player has just drastically increased her chances of being degraded or whistled at then maybe it just isn’t your team’s year.

Outlook: For Knicks fans this might be one of the best years since Ewing’s lumbering prime, when a crunch time play always and without fail resulted in Ewing posting up, dribbling twice and shooting a fade-away jumper. But I digress. Either the Knicks make the playoffs this year with the acquisition of Zach Randolph in the inferior Eastern Conference or Thomas fails again and thankfully gets the ax, with Marbury soon to follow.

And you know what? For his sake and in the spirit of all the affected and downtrodden good teammates above, lets hope Lebron never walks into the locker room before a game to see a grinning Thomas or Marbury saying how much they can’t wait to be around him all the time.


1 Response to ““Your Proximity is Disconcerting””

  1. 1 Varun
    October 23, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    You got to add to the don’t fit together list – jeff garcia and basically anyone in the NFL. If kwame brown is a homo, what does that make jeff garcia? His resemblances to the guy who repeatedly rapes Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption are uncanny. Ok fine, I’m clearly still bitter about the Jeff Garcia/TO show against the giants couple years back in the playoffs. Also, on the note of homosexuality in sports, you gotta love how randomly everyone decided that Mike Piazza was gay even though he has kids. How does this shit start?

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