Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Gives Me Hope

"I was always impressed by his verbosity. He's a skilled writer. However, it's what he wrote about and how he framed his opinion that was absolutely disgraceful. His arrogance is galling. His attempts at being funny by injecting pop culture into his columns were embarrassing. He doesn't deserve to write in a sports town like Chicago."

If you're like me, you were hoping that the final word in that quotation was Boston and Dan was leaving the city.

No, the people of Chicago are today the lucky ones, as Jay Mariotti is leaving the Sun-Times. And his old employer doesn't much care. A fellow writer ripped him and the newspaper published the gleeful reactions of its readers, which the above quotation is taken from. While reading the comments, remember those are the ones they could publish. Think of all the profanity laced, personal attacks that must have been held back. Maybe some Sun-Times editor will leak some of the funnier ones.

I am posting in part to remind people that Dan is part of a larger problem in sports media today. Lazy, vindictive columnists abound and Dan is not close to being the worst. Dan does some legwork (Mariotti apparently doesn't like to go into clubhouses to back up his tough guy talk), and for the most part avoids the most odious elements of sports media, like sportstalk radio and this month's ESPN insult to fans.

EDIT: I forgot to give credit to Boston Sports Media Watch and Deadspin for the links.

EDIT2: Here is another attack on Mariotti by one of his colleagues. Mariotti is, in the words of Lou Henson, the classic bully.

After some thought, I realize that the problem with my Marrioti-Shaughnessy comparison is that the latter is way too smart to leave a lifetime sinecure like a columnist's gig at the Boston Globe. Dan will be carried out of Morrissey Boulevard mumbling something about Red Auerbach, Grey Poupon, a curse, and Theo and his minions. Let's just hope he doesn't have the genes of my grandparents.

EDIT3: The 'I swore he was dead' Roger Ebert rises from the crypt to rip Jay.

Will anyone stand up to defend him?

It's depressing. Dan's sins pale in comparison to Mariotti's and it took years for Jay to be booted. How long will it take for Dan to leave?


Anonymous said...

Holy Cow--Shaughnessy sounds like he should be a Pullitzer prize winner compared to Mariotti. For your own colleagues to rip you so openly is pretty telling and it is pretty sad.

Chris said...

You could write a thesis on this, but the 'larger problem' you speak about is that the 'oldsters' within the sports media cabal are just as incensed as can be that 'their' world-order of things has just evaporated. Theirs was a one-way discourse of venom and anger, but the Internet (read: blogs and message boards) gave birth to a two-way discourse. The venom and anger started coming the other way, sort of like what happens when you piss into the wind. And they don't much like this 'new order.' They don't like people saying 'mean things' about them and ridiculing their profession and motivations. It used to be, a perfunctory 'Letters to the Editor' section was the only outlet for readers. An eyedropper to their fire hose. Now we've got a fire hose, too. The cherry on the cake, of course, is the burned wreckage of the traditional media outlets that provide these hacks with paychecks. In short, these are good days for people who have been waiting for the media to get kicked in the seeds.

Anonymous said...

Here’s an interesting perspective by a journalist trying to understand the problem with “sports journalism”:

The problem with sports journalism? It’s the athletes.
Pat Jordan, who wrote about the difficulties of trying to interview Jose Canseco on, does it again for, this time with Josh Beckett, who declined the honor of a New York Times’ profile.
“This has become the curse of modern sports journalism. Writers and fans alike no longer get to know the object of their affections in a way they did years ago. Athletes see us as their adversaries, not as allies in their achievements. They are as much celebrities as rock stars and Hollywood actors are. They live insular lives behind a wall of publicists, agents, and lawyers. They don’t interact with fans or writers. They mingle only with other celebrities at Vegas boxing matches, South Beach nightclubs, and celebrity golf events, all behind red-velvet VIP ropes. We can only gawk at them as if at an exotic, endangered species at a zoo.”

He goes on to state:

“A veteran sports writer I have chatted with bemoans the way things have changed for his profession. In the old days, he told me, players and writers were relatively equals when it came to salaries. This is obviously no longer the case and he felt that had a lot to do with the disconnect.”

The problem isn’t the athlete; it’s the journalist that wants the same notoriety as the athlete. They are not equals, they are different.

The fan respects the talents of the athlete when he performs between the lines. The fan can choose to participate by observing sporting events, we can see, and hear the event (TIVO) so what is the purpose of the journalist?

The journalist will lose all relevance once they try to impose their will. The fan has options to understand the athlete/sport and the local beat “typist” is a dinosaur in the current era.


roger bournival said...


Mariotti’s habit of using huge blocks of quotes from athletes, coaches and GMs despite never talking to those athletes, coaches and GMs increasingly made him a subject of derisive jokes at his own shop. It also made it easy for the rest of us in the business to disrespect him.

He routinely criticized the rest of us for failing to ask tough questions yet I can’t remember the last time I heard him ask a question at all.

Gee, this sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Chris, I may not always agree with your politics (being one of those granola crunching, left-wing liberal communists, haha), but you are dead on about this one.

Writers like Mariotti, Bayless, Paige, (wow look at all those ESPN personalities) are what I think of as "Shock" writers. They are not there to investigate or to give honest, well balanced opinions. These writers are paid (big money too) to come up with the most negative reaction possible. I find it interesting that various media outlets continue to hire them, becuase they believe more people will read or tune into them. I think that theory is the same with Shank to a degree. The only thing that keeps him out of that category is that - as Dave said- every once in a while he'll put in SOME work.

Does anyone else seem to notice how most of these shock writers are white, middle-age, and male. I don't think thats a coincedence.


ObjectiveBruce said...

Nobody who rips Ken ".239" Harrelson can be all bad.

dbvader said...

Leave it to OB to defend Marrioti. I no longer think he works at the Globe. He has to be a Mob lawyer. Nobody else goes to the lengths he does to defend the indefensible.

All joking aside, when I read about the Harrelson-Marrioti feud I was rooting for mutually assured destruction.

Anonymous said...

I'll give Shank one thing, he still goes into the club house even if he can't get players to talk to him. Mariotti was a chicken shit. Other then that, they sound very similar arrogant, vindictive and petty.