In honor of Mad Men’s return to television, Playing the Field offers the sports equivalent of the show’s main characters:

 



Don Draper as Tom Brady: He’s a man whore, but we can root for him. He changed his identity in an effort to better his life (Brady goes from mediocre backup to Super Bowl champion. Michigan was his Korean War). One of Draper's lone struggles is with alcohol (Brady’s booze is the Giants pass-rush).





Betty (Francis) Draper as Kobe Bryant: Painfully insecure (five titles to Jordan’s six). Dwelling on the past (still feuds with Shaq even though it happened a decade ago). Universally not well-liked despite undeniable skills (hotness in Betty’s case, basketball acumen in Bryant’s).

 



Pete Campbell as Tiger Woods: Entitlement, entitlement, entitlement (Tiger’s actions throughout his entire marriage). Little respect for his elders, the establishment or the media. His skills are undeniable but instead of focusing on the task at hand, he wants a bigger office. Tiger needs more Majors to be considered the greatest but was bored and wanted to become a Navy SEAL. For his efforts, he was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet.





Joan Harris as Dwight Howard:
Undeniable physical assets. Non-stop flip-flopping (Joan with the abortion, Howard with the Magic). Weak in the clutch despite outward appearance of strength (Joan’s breakdown on Lane Pryce's couch, Howard always appearing happy despite internal turmoil).

 

Roger Sterling as Peyton Manning: Sterling killed it in the industry for over a decade with Lucky Strike much like Manning killed it in the 2000s with the Colts. It remains to be seen if either can find renewed success late in their careers. Manning did display some of Sterling’s wit when he hosted SNL (without question, the greatest SNL hosting job by an athlete of all-time … yes we know the standards are painfully low).

 

Jose Bautista as Peggy Olson: Both late bloomers. Both overlooked prime-time players. Both have been rumored to dabble in illegal substances. Pretty sure Peggy would thrive in a smaller market as well.

 

Final Four gets whacky


When your school is on the brink of winning a championship, things can get crazy. When your in-state rival is involved, there are often times nursing home fist-fights that break out.

On the other side of the bracket, at least they're promoting boobs over brawls.



Wrestling with his decision


Red Sox fans long feared their team becoming over-exposed, over-hyped and just another big market team with an inflated payroll and little results. Well, that’s exactly what they’ve become since they last won the World Series in 2007. “The Pink Hat culture,” which began sometime around the day Kevin Millar uttered the phrase, “Cowboy Up” in 2003, is a Boston term which describes ‘new, uninformed and, more often than not, female’ fans of the Old Towne Team.



Apparently some Sox fans are fed up, enough so that they’re changing alliances. WWE Superstar John Cena, who will face The Rock this Sunday at WrestleMania XXVIII, grew up a Red Sox fan in West Newbury, Mass.. But he has since morphed into a Tampa Bay Rays fan because of the pink hats.



Better marketing ploy: Bruins or Phillies?


The Boston Bruins have brought back The Bear by popular demand. The Bear commercials stirred up senior citizen rage last year when they took aim at the lack of support and geriatric tendencies of Tampa Bay Lightning fans. The Bear has always slammed the crap out of most local sports commercials across the country, but this week he came back in a 1980s style sitcom (below). It's a winner.

Marketing grade: A-



The Phillies, however, have gotten right to the point with their recent marketing campaign. That’s right, if you haven’t heard by now, they have Hooters girls as their spring training bat girls.

So far they rank somewhere between Omar Vizquel and Chuck Knoblauch in the field. Just a wonderful lack of subtlety on the Phillies part. Awesome.

Marketing grade: B+