As a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers' famous Sausage Race ever since the contestants were itty-bitty links, I'm always amused when another major league team tries to sell us a knockoff (which is different from a knockwurst).
The Pirates race Pierogis. The Nationals trot out the Presidents. And there are others.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, desperate to give fans something other than the current team to watch, recently introduced a Legends Race. D-backs? Legends? The franchise was born in 1998. Usually, greatness + time = legendary (and often, not even then).
That aside, I'm open to anything that includes 10-foot, big-headed sausage-like caricatures that run around and stuff. It's ... amusing.
And guess who won the inaugural race? It figures that the Big Unit would take home first prize the first time around.
The remaining D-backs Legends include Luis Gonzalez(notes), Matt Williams and Mark Grace — like Johnson, all members of the 2001 World Series championship squad. It's nice that the D-backs have changed uniform designs about half a dozen times in their brief history, so each Legend gets his own distinctive outfit. You gotcher teal, your sleeveless teal, your black and your Sedona red.And they have some personality. The Gracie character, to his credit, stopped mid-stride and sprayed Manny Ramirez(notes) with silly string during a recent race. Manny looked real happy about it, too.
But Gracie needs eyeblack. And Matt Williams needs a removable cap so we can see his shiny natural dome.
Gonzalez, even though he turned out looking more like Nomar Garciaparra(notes), makes sense. He put up some monster numbers, got the winning hit against Mariano Rivera(notes) in '01. Plus, we can all make jokes about his big head (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).
But here's the thing: Williams and Grace are current employees of the team. Grace is a broadcaster, Williams is a coach on manager Kirk Gibson's staff. How can the these guys be legendary when they are already there, in your face, every day?
Also, why not a B.K. Kim Legend? He's the guy who can "always lose," like Teddy Roosevelt in Washington.
Going outside of baseball, Alice Cooper and John McCain would make fine Legend contestants (though with McCain still active in politics, that's probably out).
What about Kurt Warner? BRENDA Warner! Wyatt Earp. Cotton Fitzsimmons! The list goes on?
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- Matt Williams
- Mark Grace