It's December 23, and thus 'tis the season of "Best Of..." lists and "[fill in noun here] of the Year" rundowns. Bonus points for any year ending in the number 9 because that means we also get (drum roll please)....DECADE LISTS!! I am a total sucker for stuff like this; it's mindless, it's pointless...in other words, it's right up my alley.
I actually have a great deal of respect for people who branch out from the annual lists and take the gutsy plunge into the decade lists because it means that they either (a) have amazing recall, (b) have been taking copious notes for the better amount of ten years on everything that has occurred in the decade, or (c) they are to Google what Van Gogh was to the paint brush.
Unfortunately, I am none of those things, and yet here we are midway through the week of Christmas and I haven't dropped any listy type stuff on you fools yet. I could do the same tired stuff -- Top 10 Games, 5 Biggest Upsets, McGrady's 12 Most Fascinating Injuries -- but that feels lazy. Instead, I choose to capture the true essence of 2009. For it was not a year to be remembered for courageous athletic performance on the field, transcendent coaching from the bench, or the visionary architecture of great teams. No, not at all.
I, for one, will remember 2009 as the Year of Head-Scratching Extramarital Sex. Think about it -- in the span of about five months, we basically found out the following:
-- ESPN's worldwide headquarters in Bristol, CT basically has doubled as an underground brothel for the past several years
-- The greatest college basketball coach of our generation had an affair with a woman about fifteen minutes after he finished a meal at an Italian restaurant...only he didn't leave the restaurant.
-- Tiger Woods.....that's all that needs to be said.
Well, you know the old saying -- "Behind every good extramarital affair is a good skank!" With that said, I would like to use this space to recognize excellence in the area of home-wrecking, marriage-plundering, and general moral bankruptcy.
Rather than go with the list and try to rank them, because in a sordid way they are all tied for first, I want to do this awards-style. So in honor of the first athlete to have a highly publicized extramarital affair during my childhood rooting years, Wade Boggs (where have you gone, Margo Adams?), we'll call these the 2009 Boggsies.
So without further ado...
2009 BOGGSY for BEST EXTORTION ATTEMPT
WINNER: KAREN CUNAGIN SYPHER (supporting actor, Rick Pitino)
It all started so innocently on August 1, 2003. Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino was having a nice dinner at Porcini's when he was introduced to Karen Cunagin. The two clearly had a connection (I'd love to know what they put in the rigatoni there!), and when closing time arrived, they didn't want the night to end.
Good thing for both of them that Pitino was friends with the owner, because he gave them the key and said "Lock up when you're done." Next thing you know, Pitino is serving Cunagin his cannoli for dessert, if you know what I mean. The story would be bizarre enough if it ended right there, only this story managed to tack on the following elements:
-- Pitino's assistant Vinny Tatum's sticking around and listening in on Pitino's serving up the Italian sausage to Cunagin, described by Tatum as the sounds of "two people who seemed to be enjoying themselves." (Rick, do we know if she was faking?)
-- The discovery that Cunagin was pregnant, and Pitino's offer to subsidize an abortion (allegedly).
-- Cunagin's subsequent marriage to Tim Sypher, a Pitino confidant, eight months after the affair. Apparently, the three of them all went to the same parties and hung out together after that, all knowing that Pitino had dipped his pen in the Cunagin ink.
-- Cunagin (now Cunagin Sypher) finally filing a multimillion-dollar extortion attempt against Pitino to keep her quiet. It didn't work. Pitino fessed up, much to the chagrin of anyone who has since eaten at the table that he boinked Cunagin on at Porcini's.
2009 BOGGSY for BEST ALEX FORREST IMPERSONATION
WINNER: BROOKE HUNDLEY (supporting actor, Steve Phillips)
You all remember Alex Forrest, right? The psychotic executive something or other played by Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction? Well, in that movie she vows to her lover, Michael Douglas' married character Dan Gallagher, that she "will not be ignored!" Just to prove her point, Forrest decides to make an impromptu rabbit stew with the Gallagher's family pet, and then dial up some attempted murder on Gallagher's wife when the mangled rabbit doesn't get the job done.
Fast forward to 2009, in Wilton, Connecticut of all places (ironic as the Gallaghers, too, lived in Fairfield County, Connecticut), and replace Dan Gallagher with ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips, and Alex Forrest with Brooke Hundley. One of the true up-and-comers in the broadcasting business, Phillips apparently thought that flushing his career and his marriage down the shitter for an affair with a production assistant that looked like the love child of Meat Loaf and Meat Loaf's sister was a worthwhile risk.
This, of course, was BEFORE he realized that, in addition to being butt ugly, Hundley was batshit crazy. Unfortunately, he didn't truly realize that aspect of her personality until she was doing donuts on his lawn to try and escape Phillips' wife, who had come home to find Hundley poking around their front door. It would have been nice if Phillips had realized Hundley's complete whackjobbery BEFORE she friended his son on Facebook under a fake name. (Yes, THAT really happened.)
2009 BOGGSY for BEST VOICEMAIL MESSAGE
WINNER: TIGER WOODS (Supporting actress, Jamie Grubbs)
Just when everybody had their "Best of" lists done for the decade, Tiger Woods had to come in and crush everything on Thanksgiving weekend, from his marriage to his endorsement deals to the poor little fire hydrant who stood no chance against Tiger's escalade.
Tiger's inability to successfully navigate the empty streets of his affluent subdivision at three in the morning was a huge win for everyone who loves a train wreck or who roots for the exposure of people whose lives seem just a bit too perfect. About a dozen affairs of Tiger's have now seen the light of day, and I guess the only good thing you can say is apparently Tiger's vision is not as impaired as Steve Phillips'. (Hundley might be a dude, seriously.)
Tiger's father always said that Tiger would prove to be the "chosen one." He just never told us that those doing the choosing would be the Local 69 Union of Waffle House waitresses.
2009 BOGGSY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
WINNER: ALEX RODRIGUEZ
The marriage of A-Roid finally came to an end in 2008, so we can't give him an award for this year. However, his body of work in the area of adultery is so vast and far-reaching that I think it's okay to create a Lifetime Achievement Award.
So stand back, in awe, and feast your eyes on this body of work:
-- Candice Houlihan, a Boston-area hair stylist who logged time as a stripper, told the Boston Globe that she and Rodriguez had sex on two occasions in 2004 when Rodriguez was in town playing against the Red Sox. (That might explain the Yankees '04 choke job!) The day after A-Rod's wife filed for divorce, Houlihan said,"Good for her. I think she's doing the smart thing. And she'll probably get tons of cash." Yeah, probably!!
-- On May 27, 2007, the New York Post reported that Rodriguez spent an evening in Toronto with Joslyn Noel Morse, a longtime stripper who also was featured in Playboy's 2001 magazine "Playboy's Casting Calls." The Post ran a picture of the two of them on May 30, 2007. They were last seen alone together that night boarding the hotel elevator. Morse refused to say whether they had sex. (I'm sure they just played Hearts or Trivial Pursuit.)
-- The Daily News reported that, during 2006 and 2007, Rodriguez patronized hookers from madam Kristin Davis and dated Davis as well. (Again, good to know the boss.) Employees of the call-girl agency provided intimate emails between Rodriguez and Davis, including one in which Rodriguez confesses to Davis his preference for her over one of her call-girls. Athletes do know that emails and voicemails and texts...these things NEVER go away...right??
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-- Finally, as Rodriguez' wife had had about enough, rumors of an affair between Rodriguez and Madonna came to light. I guess he felt like he hadn't crossed "Mature" off his list of "Categories Banged" yet.
Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for your 2009 Boggsy Award winners!!! They certainly gave it up for you!!!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 PM weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twititer at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.