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Can Brooks Laich really win Sportsman of the Year?

By Nicole Weissman

Readers of this blog know I love Brooks Laich. Unsuspecting fans riding Metro home from the game know I love Brooks Laich. Anyone watching the game within 15 feet of me at a bar, restaurant or apartment I will never be invited to again knows I love Brooks Laich. But even I was surprised, albeit pleasantly, when Laich was Michael Farber’s nominee for Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Does he have a shot at it? I’ll break down the competition, as well as a few recent winners, to determine whether Laich has any likelihood of being selected when the winner is chosen on November 30.

Brooks Laich – Farber’s nomination centers around the famous tire-changing event, and ends with “Laich was a gentleman. This is something of which we never tire.” I’m worried we’ll lose because of that pun alone.

Roy Halladay – Selected for his season pitching for the Phillies (which included a perfect game and a post-season no-hitter), but also for elevating his team above himself by declining solo media opportunities.

Greg McElroy – Lars Anderson admits that McElroy isn’t the greatest college QB out there, but insists that McElroy is deserving of this award because he’s hard-working, articulate, and a nominee for a Rhodes Scholarship. 

Butler Bulldogs – Nominated because they almost beat Duke, despite having a fraction of the budget ($347,108 as compared to Duke’s $13,873,859) and an old-school approach that includes 6:30 a.m. practices scheduled to avoid conflicts with classes.

Lorena Ochoa – The Mexican golfer who managed both to win 27 LPGA tour events and to give back to her home community over the course of her eight-year pro career, before retiring in April.

Rafael Nadal – In a year full of remarkable Spaniards, Jon Wertheim nominated “el mejor,” the humble tennis player who this year won three Major titles – the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.

Kevin Durant – The Oklahoma City Thunder star who became the youngest ever NBA scoring champion without becoming a hot-shot, avoiding endorsements and LeBron-esque announcements.

A look at recent winners may shed light on who’s most likely to take home the prize. Winners over the past few years include the Boston Red Sox, Tom Brady, Dwyane Wade, Michael Phelps, and most recently Derek Jeter. The only recent winner not to notch a championship (or eight Olympic gold medals) in the same year was Brett Favre, who in 2007 won for “his perseverance and his passion,” which to me is code for “an awesome season, but also an anticipated retirement.”

By that pattern, the most likely winner this year would be Rafael Nadal, who has the most trophies to show for his performance in 2010. I hope that this year will break the trend – many of this year’s nominees made their greatest contributions off the court/field/ice/course – but if Sports Illustrated stays true to form, Laich is not likely to take home the prize. 

Who gets your vote for Sportsman of the Year? Do you think Farber makes a strong case for Laich?

By Nicole Weissman  | November 10, 2010; 12:07 AM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman  | Tags:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman  
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The lovable man spider still gets my vote. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: ALKM | November 10, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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