Will I, Won’t I?

Every year as sports seasons come to an end, attention turns to the future of athletes. Who will be back and who will ride off into the sunset. Funny thing is that each year, the same athletes turn up on the list, as if they have some special lease on retirement. Will I, Won’t I is a particular class of athletes that craves headlines, and we’re happy to oblige.

Brett Favre, the Jets new quarterback, undoubtedly tops the list. His retirement turned comeback turned trade demand grabbed headlines for weeks this summer.

Now, with the Yankees all but destined for their first October vacation in 14 years, pitcher Andy Pettitte is again grappling with indecision. On Wednesday, the Times reported that the pitcher was once again considering his options.

Pettitte’s pattern of indecision follows that of his former pal Roger Clemens, who regularly held baseball hostage while deciding whether to give the sport another season. The vacillating Clemens even got a standing-ovation farewell in the 2003 World Series before returning for several more seasons.

Why is that we never hear Greg Maddux making similar public statements of indecision? When Cal Ripken was ready to retire he did just that. Yes, he gave himself a farewell tour, Ripken haters might say. But at least there was finality. There’s little doubt what class either of those athletes belong to — one that makes its home in upstate New York.

For the inevitable next round of Will I, Won’t I?, how about a collective Who Cares.

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