There's Aly Raisman, who continually hugs the teammate who bests her, there's Abbey D'Agostino, who stops to help the fallen runner who tripped her, and there's Hope Solo, who calls the Swedes who beat her (the game ended on penalty kicks) "cowards."
Several years ago when Giancarlo Stanton became the richest player in baseball I wrote (not here) about how he was not to be envied. It seemed to me that the pressure to live up to that historically immense salary would prove insurmountable. Stanton, for all his power, had never shown great aptitude for the game's daily grind, and I wondered how sympathetic fans would be to an overpaid superstar who ended the season with a middling batting average and a clutch of meaningless if breathtaking home runs. And what, I asked, if he got injured?
Perhaps ESPN - which recently named Stanton one of baseball's most overrated players - would care to hire me as their new baseball analyst. For the third straight year, Stanton will end the regular season on the DL, after putting up mediocre stats. His popularity has not waned, owing to the fact that he seems to be an all-around nice guy (and that his season two years ago ended when he was hit in the face with a pitch), but frustration with his performance and his susceptibility to injury is, inevitably, on the rise.
I feel sorry for Stanton; baseball is an incredibly difficult and increasingly punishing game (Willie Mays never lingered on the DL), and, as noted earlier, he comes across as an upstanding young man. But I don't feel all that bad for the Marlins. Losing a clutch player who is, in reality, not all that clutch could give them the incentive they need to make the playoffs. All season they have been a team that wins just enough to give fans hope but not often enough to justify it. With a new lineup, perhaps that will change.