Best Flack (2010)

Ignacio Rodriguez, public relations manager, FC Miami

Ignacio Rodriguez's title for South Florida's chronically anonymous pro-soccer team is a bit oxymoronic — like being a real estate agent to the homeless, or head of the Israeli shellfish harvesters' union. Attendance at the team's tin-bleachered Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale rarely exceeds the single-digit thousands, and the front office has taken to frequent gimmicks in order to stave off extinction: They signed elderly one-named former fútbol demigod Romário and then two recently defected Cuban phenoms, and the players volunteered to shave their heads if fans showed up. But the bleachers remained nearly empty. Through all of these thwarted shenanigans, Rodriguez has remained friendly, attentive, and upbeat — the kind of flack who literally won't let us off the phone until we promise to show up at either media day or the season opener. Given that most sports flacks act like they're guarding a stable of 25 popes rather than a bunch of dudes who get sweaty on Sundays, its awfully refreshing to deal with a PR shield eager to make even the most audacious press requests happen, and always prefers a sit-down lunch to an email exchange.

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