I’m amazed at watching the now former governor of Illinois continue his media tour. It is just incredible theatre. On Letterman last night he knew he was the joke, was in on the joke, and yet got to deliver his campaign message multiple times. “I’m innocent,” “I will be vindicated,” “the truth is on my side,” all got delivered over and over again. By the time we get to the actual criminal trial he may have convinced 1 out of every 12 people in the country that he is not guilty, and that is all it will take for him to beat the rap.
So, I haven’t posted in a long time, mainly because I’m horribly self-conscious about writing this thing. Many of the blogs I read are like this which I find very clever and interesting and humorous. When I think of adding a new post I tend to think it just isn’t worth anyone’s time. I often doubt that anyone would want to know my thougts about anything. Of course, there are a lot of blogs that I like that aren’t particularly insightful but I like to read them because they are written by friends or colleagues and its fun to read what is on their mind. The other problem with my blog envy is that many of the blogs I roll through are like this the sheer amount of information that Joe can produce is simply daunting. I mean I like baseball but I don’t know what half of the statistics even mean in one of Posnanski’s pieces. So, while I think Jeff Kent is a Hall of Famer, I can’t for the life of me come up with something even close to what a true baseball freak can to argue the case, pro or con.
Finally, as the new title of this blog implies, I’m kind of lazy; leave the blogging to someone much more driven than me. If I don’t write for a week or two, I feel kind of guilty. Then I see some of the post that get thrown up and I really have nothing to feel bad about. Hey I’m a busy guy, if I don’t feel like writing, I probably have a pretty decent reason, like I’m tired, or working (like now :-)) or I’m with my family, or I’m playing Call of Duty. Even so the Lazy Blogger seems to take the pressure off. While the orginal post still contains some truth, it no longer tells the story of how I got here.
I was a regular listener of the “Jay Mariotti Show” on WMVP before he had a falling out with management and was abruptly taken off the air in December of 2004. I called in a number of times, won a few contests and enjoyed the show when Jay wasn’t talking down to his co-host, Marc Silverman. One day, Mariotti explained, perhaps without even knowing it, why he is such an angry, miserable man. Jay announced that he was never a fan of any sports team. You may ask, “that’s it? that explains all?” I think it does.
Jay Mariotti was born and raised in Pittsburgh, a teen in the 1970s. Think about that for a second: He was a teenager in 1970s Pittsburgh. Was there a better time to be a young man in Pittsburgh? The Steelers were the kings of the NFL. The Pirates were always competitive, winning two World Series in the decade. And yet, Mariotti stated emphatically he was never a fan. Though that seems impossible, he was quite convincing that he never had a rooting interest in any one team. A lot of words come to mind about this state of affairs, but the one that rings most true is tragic. Too be surrounded by all of that greatness, all of that winning, and yet not be excited by it, not feel connected to it, not be a part of it, simply tragic. This explains why Mariotti never relates to current fans of sports, he doesn’t understand what it is to be a fan. He is still disconnected from the emotion, the passion that makes sport so intoxicating to the rest of us. It is also why he holds the majority of fans in such contempt he just doesn’t get it. This lack of fandom for Jay also explains why he comes off as so angry most of the time, why he always sees the worst in sport, as opposed to any of its positive attributes. By never being a fan, never feeling that passion, yet covering sport for a living must be a horrible existence. Mariotti constantly refers to sport as a “cesspool” or similar words. Is it any wonder that he feels this way? He is working at a job that he doesn’t particularly like. Day after day, year after year, Jay must watch games that others are enjoying, living and dying with and he doesn’t understand what it means to feel that excitement. The vast majority of people in a sports arena experience euphoria, Jay sulks. Every day he exposes himself to the “cesspool” and writes about it. Is it any wonder that so much of what he writes is terribly negative?
What’s more, is it a mystery that he doesn’t seem to have many friends in his profession? He has an obvious dislike for his fellow Sun-Times columnist, Rick Telander. He and Rick Morrisey have an ongoing feud. Most telling, however, was the lack of support he received when Ozzie Gullien, manager of the Chicago White Sox, referred to him as a “fag.” The sports world rightfully chastised Ozzie for using such a slur, but the secret came out that Jay never went to the clubhouse or locker room of the teams that he covered. The vast majority of columnist supported Ozzie’s sentiments, that Jay was a coward and a fraud, just not the language he used. The division is more acute when almost to a person, sportswriters mention at some point in their career the teams they supported. Sportswriters got into the profession because they were fans first. On some level, they get what sport is all about. Mariotti is an outsider to them as well as the ordinary fan. So, the next time you get upset at a Mariotti column, remember that he was never a fan. Remember that he is covering something that he is disgusted by every time he looks at it. Remember that he is an isolated, lonely figure, working at a job like Willie Loman, being worn down every day by a task he hates. Simply tragic.
I need to thank Bob Costas for giving me the name for this blog. Bob derided the internet for being devoid of shades of gray, that everything is black and white. I think the black and white problem goes well beyond the internet, but Bob has a point. The truth is, I like gray. I like to ponder. I’m deliberate which my dad defines as slow, but that is a matter opinion. So I’ll take my time and tell you what I think. This may not be the most up to date blog ever, but it won’t be reactionary. One more thing: The one thing that seemed to offend the sensibilities of Bob and the rest of the media for that matter was the bawdiness of internet. Again, I don’t think this is limited to blogs and the internet, but it is a valid point. Therefore, I promise no dick jokes. Leave that to Deadspin and Fire Joe Morgan.