Ray Allen is a Lot Like George Brett. No, I’m Serious.
The man on the television appeared to have aged dramatically since we’d last seen him. Just how old is this famous person, we wondered aloud?
“I’m going to say sixty two,” said one of my friends.
“No, I think he’s sixty” said another.
Eventually, we decided to settle the debate as gentlemen, and four dollar bills were placed on the bar. Guesses ranging from 58 to 63 were placed. I had the low number of 58, which was determined in true Price is Right fashion. I quickly pulled consulted my blackberry for the answer and was stunned by the result.
George Howard Brett was born on May 15, 1953, which makes him 54 years old. Always a fan and media favorite, Brett was being interviewed while attending a basketball game last night. We all marveled at how much he had aged over the last few years and then speculated on the cause of his accelerated wear and tear. Was it booze, floozies or some other fast and regrettable lifestyle that had aged the silver slugger so quickly? Or maybe it the well-publicized bouts of hemorrhoids that did him in? Unfortunately, this subject (aging, not hemorrhoids) acted as a smooth segue into a debate of the play of Ray Allen. Much like Brett, Ray Allen is a terrific offensive player as well as a fan and media favorite. Unfortunately, the similarities don’t end there. But before I present my case, a quick aside:
The initial plan was for me to write this column about attending my first game of the season. I would comment on the atmosphere and how it has changed as opposed to the last few years. I was not twenty feet from the mouth of the Green Line when the changes were abundantly clear and in evidence. By my count, there were nine scalpers standing and chirping along Causeway Street, which obviously represents a dramatic change from years past when there were maybe one or two sad looking guys making the rounds. Speaking of those guys, I always found it funny that they would always stand near the “Jesus Saves” guy. It was almost as if they were in business together. And maybe, in a sense, they were because one would wonder about the most assuredly damned soul of someone who would actually purchase a scalped ticket last year. Anyway, there really isn’t a need to speak any further about the changed atmosphere. You can turn on ESPN and wait for the Denny Green Coors Light commercial to get my feelings on the subject. For me, the play of Ray Allen was more compelling than the surrounding atmosphere. Specifically, I came away truly amazed that, almost halfway through the season, we have a shooting guard that shoots this poorly. Here are some numbers to illustrate the point:
Player A, as you probably guessed is Ray Allen. Player B is none other than George Brett, last year at the YMCA. Just kidding. Actually, Player B is Dominique Wilkins in 1994-95, his lone season with the Celtics. It was a season that has become a derisive punch line to many Celtics fans over the years. It serves as a litmus test of failed Celtics’ signings. And the scary part is that the Celtics didn’t owe Wilkins $34 million for the next two years like they do with Allen. The reasons for Allen’s decline so far have been well documented. That’s the beauty of being a media favorite. Anyone that watches this team realizes the guy is not 100%. Effort is not the issue and neither is character. No, the sad realization is that Ray Allen is a lot older than his age states and will likely not become a lot healthier over the course of the long season.
That is not to say that he can or will not rebound this year or next. In 1984, at the Age of 31, George Brett hit .284 with an OBP .344 while appearing in 104 games. In 1985 he rebounded to hit a career high in home runs while hitting .335 and winning his only gold glove. We can hope that Ray rebounds the same way, although unfortunately, it won’t likely be this year.