New York Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter is the most popular athlete in New York right now. Why am I leading off a post telling you that, since you probably already figured as much if you pay attention to New York sports at all?
Well, because we put the question "Who are the Top 5 Most Popular Athletes Right Now in New York" to the various SB Nation bloggers who cover New York teams, as well as our own SB Nation New York staff. The results were predictable in one way, odd in another.
The top five are names you might expect. Barely missing the cut, though, was an athlete who does not even perform in the city. Yet. That, of course, would be LeBron James -- whose impending free agency might be generating more headlines than any "non-event" in sports ever has.
By the way, a quick note about poll methodology. On each ballot, I assigned five points for first place, descending to one point for the last name on a voter's list. The point totals for each player are at the end of each blurb.
So, without further adieu, let's get to the list.
Derek Jeter -- The Yankee shortstop has probably been at the top of this list for the last decade. And why not? A five-time World Series champ. The all-time franchise leader in hits. A lock for the Hall of Fame. A player widely respected by everyone in baseball and likely the entire sporting world. A guy about whom there has never any hint of controversy, and who seemingly has dated half the Maxim Hot 100 list. 41 points.
Unless you are a diehard Yankee-hater simply filled with jealous rage, it is pretty hard not to put Jeter on top of this list.
Eli Manning -- Again, probably not a big surprise. Next to Jeter's, Manning's name is probably the most recognizable of all the sports figures in and around the city. He is, after all, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and an MVP of that game to boot. He is a Manning, which means he comes from NFL royalty. He, like Jeter, is a guy who does his job on the field and stays out of the headlines -- the bad headlines, that is -- off the field. 27 points
Mariano Rivera -- How could the Yankee closer, the best ever at what he does and one of the classiest players to ever don a baseball uniform, not be on this list?
When he retires, which will happen one day in the not too distant future, there will never be another pitcher like him. Yankee fans, and baseball fans everywhere, seem to understand that. 19 points
Mark Sanchez -- The new gunslinger in town. Sanchez is quarterback of the New York Jets, the hot team in town off last season's surprise run to the AFC Championship Game. Quarterback. USC grad. Hot team. Up-and-coming star. Already done some sexy magazine shoots. Yeah, he belongs on the list. 14 points
Alex Rodriguez -- Yes, A-Rod has to be on the list. When it comes to the Yankee star, one of baseball's all-time great sluggers, you can't quite tell if it is really popularity. Or, if Rodriguez' name is just always on the tip of your tongue because he seems to find endless ways to bring attention to himself.
Whatever it is, he is a great player. He will go down as one of the best the city, and the game, has ever seen. 10 points