Which Athletes Are Worth the Price of Admission?

Who Would You Pay to Watch Play?

6/28/12 in NFL   |   Wards_Page   |   248 respect

Jan 7, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) eludes New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper (41)during the 2011 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Lions 45-28. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIREYou hear athletes say it all the time: "This is a business. I'm in the entertainment business," and so forth. Though I tire of hearing those words every time contracts come up for renewal or players decide that they have outplayed their current deal, to a degree, they're right. Sports is a form of entertainment. I can remember going to maybe one Giant football game a year with my Dad when I was a kid and we were always careful to pick a game that featured a player we really wanted to see. Most of the time is was a dynamic running back, such as O.J. Simpson, at the end of his career, gaining his last few yards as a 49er years before he tried to outrun the LAPD. But we also saw guys like Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith, and even Walter Payton in 1977, as his attempt at a 2,000-yard season came skidding to a halt in an ice storm in New Jersey. Hey, he they only played 14-game seasons back then. Anyway, I've been thinking, who are the players today that you would go out of your way to see play live?

Since football is my favorite sport, I'll start there. It's funny, but the days of the workhorse 300-carry monster running back seem to be going the way of the Dodo, but there are still a couple left. If Adrian Peterson fully recovers from his knee injury, he's got to be on the short list. Not many more at that position though. Sorry, LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster. Barry Sanders, you guys ain't. Speaking of Lions though, wide receiver Calvin Johnson is definitely a must-see kind of player. Quarterbacks? Hmm. Lots of good ones these days, but so many that maybe no one stands out among the group. Aaron Rodgers? Drew Brees? Tom Brady? They just don't seem to have that overwhelming "wow" factor. Cam Newton needs at least another season under his belt too.  Don't even say the "T" word Jets fans. We know what you're thinking.

Basball used to be full of players you wanted to see play. In fact, before interleague play, the All Star game was a whole lot of fun. Just watching guys from the AL face pitchers like Fernando Valenzuela and Doc Gooden for the first time and NL batters taking their chances against Randy Johnson, was great theater. But who are the 2012 players that are really worth the price of admission? Tough one, right? Let's look at the big off-season acquisitions first. Jose Reyes is hitting .269 for the Fourth-place Miami Marlins. What does it matter though? The Marlins don't have fans unless they're in the Series or there's a Jimmy Buffett show and free BBQ after the game. Meanwhile Albert Pujols is hitting .260 with 12 homers for the Angels, which is actually awesome, compared to what he had been doing. Right now it seems most of the buzz is around Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Joey Votto of the Reds, and always the Rangers' Josh Hamilton. I've been touting R.A. Dickey of the Mets too, until he came back to Earth a bit against the Yankees on Sunday. But I still think he can rise above Lin-sanity status and be a truly amazing story this year. Time will tell.

Speaking of Lin-sanity. Who are the NBA guys you would pay to watch play? I'm a Warriors fan so please excuse my ignorance on this one. I assume the usual names like LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Rondo, Derrick Rose, and Blake Griffin would be the easy ones. Who else makes the cut?


Soccer's current guy is Lionel Messi. At least until the next single-named Brazillian wunderkind comes along and takes his place.

Hockey doesn't have a Gretzky anymore, and that's not such a bad thing. You've got guys like Crosby and Ovechkin, but mostly what you would go out of your way to pay for is not an individual but playoff hockey. There's nothing like it.

Now, when it comes to Cricket...

OK, let's just call it quits here. Please chime in with guys and gals you would pay to see play.
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