On Tuesdays, we've been doing a thing called The Sporting Equivalency. Basically, take a figure from pop culture. What athletes is he most like? We've done Seth Rogen and Jack Nicholson so far. Today, to commemorate his 54th birthday, we're tackling Jerry Seinfeld. What's the deal with sporting equivalency, anyway? And what's the deal with this?
Jerry's MLB Equivalent: Jim Leyland
Obvious first choice here is Keith Hernandez, because of the whole "Phantom Spitter" episode . However, we wanted to keep it to current players and managers. Seinfeld's humor, oft described as "observational," is somewhat subtle in nature; as a result, guys like Ozzie Guillen , Aubrey Huff , and Adam LaRoche —all noted clubhouse humorists—were out off the bat. Leyland's a pretty funny dude; back in August '06 he brought in Wil Ledezma to pitch to David Ortiz late in a game, even though Jamie Walker was pitching just fine. "I told Walker that if Ortiz came up late, he should check out the concession stand," Leyland deadpanned. If you don't think Jerry's gruff enough to be equated to Leyland, let's recall the finale. He watched a dude get mugged and laughed! Sometimes, ya gotta be heartless to get the job done, and Jimmy knows that as well as Jerry.
Jerry's NBA Equivalent: Robert Horry
Again, because of the subtle/observational nature of Seinfeld's stylings, we had to rule out guys like Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard , who are comedic, but too out there. Even the deceptively funny Kobe Bryant is a little too far over for us. Robert Horry, though—he seems like a funny guy , and he's as understated as they come. Do you know how many flippin' rings he has? It's filthy. In the last 15 years of basketball, Robert Horry has been winning titles and making huge shots when called upon. In the last 15 years of comedy, Jerry Seinfeld has been racking up accolades and massive amounts of money. We like the comparison.
Jerry's NFL Equivalent: Eli Manning
We were kinda leaning Strahan here, but here's the logic: (1) the whole Green Bay cancelling Seinfeld reruns story ; (2) the fact that Seinfeld became a top-rated show in its fourth season, and lo and behold, Eli won a Super Bowl in Year 4; (3) they both have taken a few hits but bounced back ; (4) they're both as relevant to New York over the last 20 years as Rudy Giuliani or Jay Z; (5) we have a sneaking suspicion that Abby McGrew might someday potentially write a cookbook .
Jerry's NHL Equivalent: Mike Modano
We love Modano for his consistency (18 years in one organization), which Seinfeld has also shown (how many mis-steps has this guy made since he first started appearing on Carson's show?). We love him for the fact that he's married to Willa Ford, but no one is confusing him with Prince William. All of Seinfeld's girls have been pretty hot, and he's, well, Seinfeld. We love Modano for his one line in 1992's The Mighty Ducks: "I thought you were a farmer" to Emilio Estevez. Classic. It's up there with "These pretzels are making me thirsty." Granted, Kramer said it, but we're sure Seinfeld wrote it or approved it, and that counts.