ESPN The Magazines annual The Body issue dated July 12 will be out next week, and word has leaked that this years parade of nudies will include Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, among an eclectic array of athletes also including 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, tennis star Agnieszka Radwanska and a man Id pay big money to not see naked, 77-year-old golfer Gary Player.
You know The Body issue, right? Its where ESPN celebrates the athletic form, or, put another way, shamelessly panders to prurient interest in order to make more money. Athletes are photographed au natural but with their private parts artfully and strategically (if barely) covered.
Stanton seems a natural choice. People of both genders have told me he is sculpted, statuesque and built like a Greek god.
He is the clubs second player to pose, following then-Marlin Hanley Ramirez, who in 2011 was positioned behind an ironing board in a hotel room. The shocking thing about that photo was not that he wore no clothes, but rather the implication that Hanley actually ironed his own shirts.
In other Marlins news, the team was 14-9 the past month entering this weekend but had actually seen a dip in crowds during the upswing, dragging overall season attendance to an MLB-worst average of 17,211.
Hmm. What on Earth might increase Marlins crowds? Let me think
[Visual of light bulb going on.]
Got it! Bring Stanton straight from the pages of ESPN The Magazine to the ballpark: Buffball!
Wait. Am I suggesting Stanton play every game naked the rest of the season just to draw crowds?
Whoa. Of course not! That would be ridiculous.
Only in the field would he be completely nude.
While batting, wed let him keep the protective cup.
• Shane Larkin went 18th in the NBA Draft, second-highest a Cane ever had been selected. The night could only have gone better for Shane if hed been dissuaded from wearing that light blue polka-dot bowtie.
• Tim Hardaway Jr. went a few spots later to the New York Knicks, of all teams. During his Heat days, father Tim Sr. once said, I hate the Knicks with all the hate you can hate with. Although maybe that sentence ended with, unless they want to pay my son crazy money!
• The Heat had no pick but traded for Atlantas second-round choice, 6-7 James Ennis from Long Beach State. Thats one more guy to leap ahead of Jarvis Varnado. If poor Jarvis gets any farther down the bench hed be out of the building entirely.
• Dwyane Wade appeared on Jimmy Kimmels late-night show one day after Chris Bosh appeared with Conan OBrien. I heard MVP LeBron James was holding out for his own talk show.
• A major NBA trade saw longtime Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce going to the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn executives made the move after deciding the team needed to get a lot more old and creaky.
• Heat owner Micky Arison stepped down after 34 years as CEO of Carnival Corp. To help launch the new phase of his life, I shattered a bottle of champagne across Arisons midsection. The gesture was not received as well as Id hoped.
• Floyd Mayweather Jr. told a Chicago radio station he thinks LeBron is better than Michael Jordan. OK at last we got that settled!