It's easy to find athletes we don't like. For some, there are personal reasons behind their dislike. For some, they just don't like the way a guy/gal looks or acts. For some, they just disagree with choices they've made. All are valid reasons, because sports don't require true rationale. What we feel about sports is what we feel, and no one is required to explain themselves to anyone. The great part about that, is that it can lead to some very strange grudges.
Personally, my feelings on my least favorite player have changed as time has gone on. Until about two years ago, it was Alex Rodriguez. No contest. Hands down. The former superstar, home-grown Seattle Mariner was set to be the greatest shortstop the league had ever seen, and was going to do it while bringing the Mariners to glory. He and Ken Griffey Jr. would build on their 1995 ALCS run, and bring Seattle to the forefront of Major League Baseball.
Obviously, it didn't quite happen that way. Griffey moved on to Cincinnati, and A-Rod chose to take the biggest contract in sports history to make the move from Seattle to his former division rival, the Texas Rangers. Granted, the Mariners still wound up winning 116 games the season after Rodriguez left, but can you imagine that team with A-Rod at shortstop instead of Carlos Guillen (no disrespect, Carlos)? Wow.
The move to Texas, strictly for money, made me hate him enough, but his move to the money-grubbing, evil empire that is the New York Yankees, cemented that hatred. Seeing his name on the backs of t-shirts all around my hometown, which sits about 45 minutes from New York City, made me sick. But then, after five or so, frankly, dominant seasons in New York, he started to fade. His steroid bust became public news, and he sat out the entire 2014 season. Yankee fans started to turn on him (although some had started turning a little sooner than that), and I started to be struck by the empathy I felt for him.
Call me soft, but I feel for guys who have the entire world crashing down on them (which is partially what drew me to Sam Ficken back in 2012). He still had all the money he would ever need and still could hit a baseball a mile, but seemingly everyone hated him. When he finally made it back to baseball, and every day since then, everything he's done has felt like he's trolling Major League Baseball. Thanking the league that banned him for a year after getting hit number 3,000 was just the icing on the cake. I no longer look at A-Rod with vitriol as I once did. Now, I see this jubilant young kid jumping into Griffey's arms after a walk off Edgar Martinez double to take down his current employer back in 1995.
I guess I still haven't answered the question, though. So currently, my least favorite player is Ben Zobrist, for the simple reason that I was at a Rays-Mariners game once, and Jarrod Washburn had a no-hitter going in the 6th inning. To break it up, Ben Zobrist bunted down the third base line and beat it out, breaking one of the unwritten rules of baseball.
Now it's your turn. Who is your least favorite athlete and why? Share your story if you have one.