â†µThe Yankees held Jason Giambi mustache day at the stadium on Wednesday, during which they handed out 20,000 fake pieces of lip fur to the crowd. Of course, fans ate it up because fans love when athletes sport ridiculous hair anywhere about their face and/or head. This got us thinking: Aside from hilarious hair, what are the five best ways for athletes to endear themselves to fans? The results: â†µ
â†µBe Fat. This might not apply as well in football, where at least half the population is encouraged to be overweight, but think about the sports in which fitness is expected, if not required. Think of every fat baseball player, for example, and I bet you like them. As a D.C.-area native, Dmitri Young is my favorite, but try any of the other fatties: The Fielders, Mo Vaughn, John Kruk (before Baseball Tonight), Tony Gwynn, Rich “El Guapo” Garces, Kirby Puckett, CC Sabathia, David Wells. Okay, maybe not David Wells, but you get the idea. Fans love fat players because -- being the normal, fleshy humans we are -- we can easily relate to them. Also, they're easier to catch for autographs. â†µâ†µ
â†µBe in a S****y Local Commercial. You know what we’re talking about here: The low-budget commercial that was filmed in one take, usually features the third or fourth best player on your team and is only shown in your market. There are a wide variety of products for which athletes are useless pitchmen, but for whatever reason, they’re almost always shelling automobiles. This is probably because they get to drive that E55 with the 24-inch rims around town for free simply by showing up in a 30-second spot. But that matters not to you, the loyal fan, who just loves to see his favorite player(s) make a mockery of himself for your enjoyment. Take it away, Eastern Motors: â†µ
â†µBe a Womanizer. Womanize on the DL and you'll get raked over the coals as a slimy, disreputable reptile. Do it brazenly, however, and women will not only throw themselves at you -- they'll make referrals. The line between being a lothario and "ladies' man" is a fine one, and its border is honesty. Just come right out and declare yourself open for business. It worked for Derek Jeter, after all. â†µ
â†µBe Scrappy. Do you want to be loved? It will only take a skull fracture or two from diving into the outfield wall, the loss of all your teeth from diving in front of a screaming puck going a hundred mph, or some other damaging act of reckless abandon to secure a place in the hearts of the average fan. Fans want to think that, like you, they could be out there making up for their lack of talent by trying twice as hard. Nevermind that most fans would blow an ACL at the first sudden movement, or that even the most mediocre athlete on a pro roster is still in the 99th percentile of human performance. They love you, Scrappy McMediocrity, because they think you kind of suck, and that kind of reminds them of ... themselves, actually. â†µâ†µ
â†µBe Drunk. Who was more popular than Mickey Mantle? Or John Daly, to be more modern? Drinking makes a player identifiable to fans for a simple reason common to all of these: The player seems more easy to identify with if, like many of the people watching the game, he is a) drunk, or b) sitting through an annoying but necessary break from being completely plastered. Throw in the additional marvel of performing at a high level athletically during prolong periods of alcohol abuse, and you've not only become a fan favorite, you're pushing the boundaries of science and human endurance, friend. And for that, we'll buy you a round. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.