Calling Your Own Shots… Just Like Babe Ruth

25 06 2008

My last post was about athletes who navigate the blogosphere and create some context for their personalities and how that’s not always possible in the confines of a :30 TV ad. Well, I’ve given some more thought to the idea of sharing personal insights to build one’s own “brand”. I’ve decided it’s something I wish athletes could’ve done years ago.

While we’re left with having to rely upon historical accounts and newspaper articles that may or may not be representative of the athlete’s true thoughts on a topic, wouldn’t it have been great if the ability to blog existed for the past hundred years? This notion leads me to:

“The Top 10 Athlete Blogs Never Written”

10. Jesse Owens – The four-time gold medalist was actually more critical of President Franklin D. Roosevelt than he was of Hitler after Owens’ success at the ’36 Olympics. Getting his point of view and inviting conversation about his experience would have been amazing in the pre-WWII era.

9. Magic Johnson/Arthur Ashe – The opportunity to open up a dialogue to a social issue such as HIV during the 1990’s would’ve been an outstanding use of a blog.

8. Jim Brown – One of most outspoken athletes of the past century would’ve taken full advantage of the blogosphere just as he took advantage of slow linebackers.

7. Wilt Chamberlain – Actually, between playing basketball and taking full advantage of the L.A. social scene, I’m not sure he’d have time to write a blog. But, if he did, it would probably be a colorful one.

6. Bill Buckner/Vinko Bogotaj – For years Buckner took the brunt of the blame for the 1986 World Series when the Red Sox lost to the Mets. Personally, I blame the relief pitchers (Schiraldi & Stanley) for the Game 6 loss and not Billy Buck. However, that moment was all about “The Agony of Defeat” which will forever be linked to the image of Vinko Bogotaj’s ski jump crash on the ABC’s Wide World of Sports. If anyone deserved a forum to share their points of view, it’s these two men and any other athletes who are unfortunately known more for one error than a career of success.

5. Tonya Harding – As a follow-up to #6, all I can say here is that some people should ONLY be known for errors in judgment.

4. Joe DiMaggio/Ted Williams in the Summer of 1941 – Imagine the daily posts of two of history’s greatest hitters as they played through the summer of ’41. Williams became the last man to eclipse .400 but DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games and became the MVP of the season despite Williams’ effort. Perhaps if Ted had a blog, MVP voters would’ve been more enamored with him and named him the MVP instead of DiMaggio.

3. Muhammad Ali – A cultural icon for his work as a social activist and one of the most quotable athletes ever, an Ali blog might be the champion of all sports blogs.

2. Babe Ruth – Almost a mythical character in so many ways on and off the field, the Babe’s blog would be one of the most colorful ever written. We might even know if he truly called his own shot in the ’32 Series.

1. Jackie Robinson – Can you imagine the regular observations of a man responsible for breaking the color barrier in baseball? I wonder how an online journal would’ve impacted his image in 1942 and how his postings would be evaluated and discussed today.

There are probably better cases for 25 other athletes if we kick it around long enough. I sure know it was fun to talk about over lunch the other day. Your locker room talk is welcome too!


Redefining The Sports Pages

10 06 2008

I’m Eric Montague, VP in the PR group at Mullen. Being a sports fan in The Hub of the Universe has its advantages such as trips to the World Series, Super Bowl and NBA Finals within a nine month period. There’s always a hot ticket to track down for the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox or Boston Celtics and if you can’t attend in person, high-definition TV makes watching a big game from the comfort of home an outstanding alternative. I do a little of both and truly appreciate the crest of the wave we’re riding upon here in New England as much as any sports fan.

Recently, I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time watching the NBA playoffs on TV. I’ve been exposed to doses of Charles & Dwyane, Michael & Cuba and a series of promos with the vertically dissected faces of NBA players so disturbing they’re reminiscent of Face/Off (Travolta/Cage), a disturbing movie for so many reasons I dare not list them all. That said, it’s safe to say I’m looking forward to the end of the season if only to move on from these ads.

However, I started thinking about some of the best ads involving athletes from past and present and read a great article by Bryan Curtis in June’s issue of Play-The New York Times Sports Magazine which explores the way athletes add context to their often unknown personalities through advertising. However, in the framework of a :30 spot, this image is highly contrived and we can’t be sure if it truly captures the essence and personality of the athlete or just delivers the key messages for which they’re being paid to deliver. At best, it’s a little of both.

Then I remembered Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has his own blog where he boldly goes where few athletes go by providing readers with his points of view on everything under the sun. And, I’d heard some good things about Gilbert Arenas’ blog too. The ability to build one’s own image through a blog is something athletes can do off the sports pages and off the field.

Which athletes do you believe have the most authentic blogs?