By Nick Bakay
Page 2

Boston purged the curse, Red Sox nation can change their diapers, and the ghost of Babe Ruth is finally free to float off to that big road house in the sky, right? Wrong. Last century's legend has one more piece of unfinished business with this century's legendary No. 3: Dale Earnhardt. They both lived fast and died young. Now it's time to green-flag the race for tertiary bragging rights.

No. 3 vs. No. 3, swattin' taters vs. Jack the bear, carousing vs. careening -- Dale and the Babe, let's see how they stack up at the tale of the tape ...

Babe Ruth vs. Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Category  
Babe Ruth
 
Dale Earnhardt Sr.
  Advantage
Titles:   7 World Series   7 Winston Cups   Push
Nickname Translator:   "Bambino," which is Italian for "baby."   "Intimidator," which is NASCAR for "that car ramming you from behind."   Earnhardt
So nice, they had to nickname 'em twice   The Sultan of Swat   The Lord of Left Turns   Babe ... OK, OK, I made Dale's up.
Where they dropped the hammer:   Whorehouses coast to coast.   The final lap.   Push -- hey, a man has many needs.
Chased:   Broads   Bumpers   Babe
Never got to see:   The Red Sox win one without him.   NASCAR's ratings skyrocket during the NHL Lockout.   Babe
Sponsor logos:   Belly by Bud   Even his dogs wore Mr. Goodwrench patches.   Dale
Myths:   Called his shot for a sick kid.   Wore wraparound shades to bed.   Babe
Started out as:   A pitcher   A hillbilly   Pass -- I can already feel the angry e-mails brewing. Or, as I like to call them, "expletive-laced, misspelled, ALL-CAPS dandies!"
Drafting:   Catcher slang for squatting behind the Babe during a day game after a night of cabbage rolls and beer.   Using the pull of the car in front of you to save gas.   Dale, slam dunk.
Following in their footsteps:   Bonds, Jr.   Dale, Jr.   Dale. I don't think Barry is getting past 714 without a huge, hormone-engorged asterisk.
Casting call:   William Bendix, John Goodman, and the Babe himself!   Barry Pepper   Especially when you remember that Pepper also played Roger Maris, this one is all Babe in a landslide.
Signature style:   Ran the bases like a pregnant seal.   Drove the course like a linebacker.   Dale
Formal wear:   Pinstripes   Basic black   Dale
Made more money than:   The President   God   Dale
Checkered:   Past   Flags   Dale
Dead balls:   The era he played in.   A symptom frequently associated with the moment his Black Monte Carlo appeared in your rear view mirror.   Dale

So there you have it; it's all so simple when you break things down scientifically. In a balls-out surge to the finish line, the advantage goes ... to Dale Earnhardt! And not just because the movie debuts on ESPN this week -- personally, if I have to hear "All I wanna do is race, daddy" one more time while I desperately watch the bottom-line scrawl for a WAC score, I'm going to weep openly. As for the Intimidator's lasting legacy? Well, he might have turned No. 3 into a brand all to itself, but we'll have to wait until 2104 to see if his memorabilia can fetch $1.26 million like the Babe's lumber did last week. Meanwhile, the Babe's work is done here, and so is mine. Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay, reminding you the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a website at http://nickbakay.com.




Nick
Bakay
TALE OF THE TAPE