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Easy to Love Some Braggarts

Easy to Love Some Braggarts

It’s already my favorite time of the year again, when Major League Baseball rolls around amid spring training, which I still like a lot more than the NFL. Go, Cubs, go. Baseball takes me back in time to a more relaxed period; whereas pro football reminds me how fast-paced life has become. To say I hate fast-paced would be an understatement. If this were a column about psychology instead of sports, the question would be: why can we tolerate some world-class braggarts and not others? Why can’t I stand LeBron James when he says, “I’m the best player in the world?” Why does Jerry Jones always rub me the wrong way even though he hasn’t had much to brag about these days, and hasn’t yet answered the question: why did you keep Jason Garrett around for more than two years? I can tolerate, however, Yankee great Reggie Jackson when he said, “I am the best in baseball.” Maybe, because in my opinion, James isn’t the best basketball player in the world, but at his peak, Reggie Jackson was the best player in any ballpark. Maybe it’s because a real braggart may indeed be one, but he’s earned it by his or her many accomplishments, especially when the game is on the line, and the team needs a clutch player. Whereas, a phony braggart is more of a legend in his own mind. Every time baseball season rolls around, it’s hard not to Every time baseball season rolls around, it’s hard not to start already thinking about the World Series. When I do that, it’s easy to go back in time to all the great series I’ve witnessed go by since I started following baseball as a little kid, rooting for my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, while throwing pointed barbs at the opponent. Turns out apparently, us grown men still root for our favorite team with a vengeance. I saw a study recently that studied heart attack rates in cities where sports teams are competing for the championship. The incidence of heart attacks is actually higher in the cities that suffer a loss. Can you believe it? Some men get so out of whack over their team’s loss, they have a heart attack. Talk about a true fan. Cardiologists are on standby. For me, the all-time greatest World Series clutch player has to be Reggie Jackson, half black, half Puerto Rican (he was fluent in Spanish), who was known throughout ...

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