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The New Yorker Reviews This Summer’s Sports Theatre

(ed. note – while much of this site’s information is garnered through interviews, well-founded information and press release, it should be noted that a surprising 2% of its source material comes from things we find in the garbage and read. Thus it was, then, that I was foraging in a Times Square dumpster on Tuesday and came across this prospective piece for a recent issue of The New Yorker. While I firmly believe no good piece of writing should go to waste, it is reprinted for you here.)

Alex Rodriguez Has An Affair With Madonna

In director Sam Wood’s immortal 1942 classic The Pride of the Yankees, an ailing Lou Gehrig addresses his Bronx crowd with the now-famous adage “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” I only wish I could echo the great and former first baseman as I watched, flinching, at the tired and hacky mess that is current Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez’ latest tabloid saga.

As far as sequels go, this is none but a retread of the original, casting pop queen Madonna in the role previously performed by a Toronto exotic dancer. And to be fair, she pulls it off fairly convincingly – her cuckolding marriage to a macho, gangster-tale spinning British director is a nice nod to the many ways our current society both celebrates and emasculates the notions of violence and hooliganism as role model.

Faring far poorer, however, is the performance of Rodriguez’ wife Cynthia — are we the audience meant to believe his disloyalty is so shocking? Set against the backdrop of the chic celebrity-addled fad religion Kabbalah and making great use of many of the Upper West Side’s most refined and dimly-lit late night eateries, Rodriguez’ attempt at tragic heroism is hobbled by an unsympathetic performance. Not since Martin Lofsnes’ recent Lower Manhattan rendering of Maktub have I seen such hamhanded self-delusion and stumbling footwork.

Brett Favre Asks to Return/Be Released from the Packers

The chiseled jaw and squinty eyes of classic American football quarterback Brett Favre belie a quiet honesty. As the story opens, a once monumental and now hangdoggedly retired sports icon realizes a life pitching blue jeans isn’t how he pictured his golden years and decides to return to the field. His dilemma soon presents itself — his former team’s owners, repudiating him as Falstaff to their corporate Prince Hal, both refuse to grant him return to his first-string position and ignore his desires to be released from their servitude.

While the rushed introduction of an enigmatic cell-phone which may or may not have been licensed to the Packer organization plays a large part in the third act, the piece challenges our notions of what makes a hero and what makes a villain, blurring the lines between right and wrong. As the smoke begins to lift, the audience is left wondering if a hero can also be in some ways a villain, and if a villain is ever justified in his antagonism. It is the strength and long-lasting ghosts of these questions that make the production an ultimately satisfying, if self-effacing, glimpse into the human condition.

Greg Norman Blows the British Open

The scene is vintage United Kingdom as the windswept fairways of Royal Birkdale play host to golf’s tapestry of majesty and the greatest to swing the clubs descend into the dewy morn. Our hero, Greg Norman, is known worldwide as “The Shark,” and his clothing fits this image, because it depicts tiny logos of a shark. He is the great underdog, the hero with the world to prove, and he’s closing in upon his great trophy.

But just as the heros of 1981’s epic Clash of the Titans are pushed into their places by Olivier’s manipulative Zeus, Norman is left to face the world alone, hobbled, with nary a robotic owl to be his companion. A mangled subplot concerning a spontaneous marriage to Chris Evert threatens to distract from the goings-on but can’t save this albatross-ridden production, which leaves us to reflect upon the nature of greatness and our own limitations as a once-hero falls into the mist of the heather. Norman may be one of the mightiest golfers of this generation, but as the gods will attest, he is not – and never will be – Harry Hamlin.

Article written by C.M. Tomlin