A trio of well-deserving Tribesmen are locked in a death-duel the likes of which the sports blogosphere has never encountered. Jake Westbrook, Matt LaPorta, and John Rocker each received a princely sum of seven votes en route to their claim to the deserved moniker of County Peach Passion.
Here, I restate the case by which each man is most deserving of the honor up for grabs. First, by examining each nominee's "Countryness" — as noted by place of origin, population size, and geographical location. Next, by detemining each man's level of "Peachness" — his proximity to stone fruit production, his affinity for the delicate sweet yet tart flavor produced by said fruit, and his median amount of facial hair. Finally, I calculated each man's "Passionness" — a risky endeavor employed by a Google keyword search of each nominee's name and the word Passion. (I maintained a reasonable level of Safe Search parameters.)
Peruse each carefully, for this is a task not to be taken as lightly as it was previously on this esteemed site.
Jacob Cauthen Westbrook.
Place of Birth: Danielsville, Georgia
Country indeed. The 2000 Census lists the current population of Danielsville at a paltry, yet undoubtably charming 457 occupants, including one Doctor Hollywood, I presume.
I was forced by the internets to delve into the horrid bowels of Microsoft PowerPoint to thoroughly examine a ghastly document entitled _Peaches.ppt. What I found may or may not sway your decision:
Georgia, even though it is known as The Peach State, ranks 3rd in U.S. peach production, behind California and South Carolina.
Madison County, home to Danielsville, is not one of the top 5 peach producing counties in Georgia.
Peaches contain vitamin A, which helps us see in dim light, which may or may not be good for night games.
Westbrook's Peachness appears to be questionable, given these results. He also can muster a full beard at a moment's notice. Coincidence?
A search of Jake Westbrook Passion produces the following article:
In which, Westbrook declares his passion for playing for the St. Louis Cardinals: ""I was with the Indians for nine years and had a great time," Westbrook said. "But to get traded from there and go to the Cardinals and have a chance to win was huge for me. You can’t describe it. Just playing baseball in St. Louis is something else."
Westbrook may just be a passionate man no matter where he plays.
Matthew Vincent LaPorta.
Place of Birth: Port Charlotte, Florida
46,451 inhabitants and a maritime climate on the Gulf of Mexico, 100 miles south of Tampa make calling Port Charlotte "country" a stretch.
Florida is not one of the top 10 peach producing states. That said, peach production is changing:
Thanks to the University of Florida, there are a variety of "low to moderate chill" peach trees that grow well in many parts of Florida, from the Panhandle to Immokalee to Miami.
There are many varieties of peaches, and some, in particular, do well in Central Florida, such as Flordacrest and Tropicbeauty.
Baby Smooth. Fuzz potential: HIGH.
Cleveland fans never lose hope. Indeed.
John Loy Rocker.
Place of Birth: Statesboro, Georgia
Country? Perhaps. Over twenty-eight thousand Georgians call Statesboro home, but it's smack dab in the middle of Sherman's March to the Sea. The third Google search result term is for the Ora Gun Club, which I unfortunately misread as the Oral Gun Club. Make of that what you will.
A fellow Georgian, Rocker's home is closer to the main peach-producing region of the state. However, one would be loathe to describe the controversial pitcher's demeanor as "peachy." As for facial hair, I'm not sure anyone really wants to get that close to Rocker to verify.
I was most fearful of the 'John Rocker, Passion' Google expedition.
The real Mouth of the South, Rocker is most notoriously known for comments he made concerning his experiences in New York City as a visiting member of the Atlanta Braves. Rocker's response hit the jackass trifecta — considered racist, homophobic, and sexist.
The poster boy for misguided passion and fury, at least Rocker can look back on his legacy and passionately want to hurt himself:
"I wish 37-year-old John Rocker could go back and punch 23-year-old John Rocker in his face."
In related news, John Rocker is for sale.
There you have it. A brokered convention of sorts. All that's waiting is for you to cast your all-important vote — hopefully before lunch so we can all move on the next glorious nickname.