In case you might have missed it, during a recent downturn some White Sox player(s) took slump busting to a different level. They put a couple of blow-up dolls in their visiting clubhouse in Toronto. Well, it was no big deal to the beat writers from Chicago, as they realize that it was a pretty harmless joke. I mean as long as Bobby Jenks didn’t jump on one, who was it going to hurt?
Well, it was newsworthy to the Toronto media and then became an issue for the Chicago Sun-Times. If you don’t live in the Windy City, you are probably unaware of the bad blood between the paper and the Sox. Most of this stems from douchebag columnist Jay Mariotti. Mariotti is a person so vile that even Will Leitch and Buzz Bissinger could agree that he’s a hack. Now I appreciate edgy writers who are willing to be contrarians, as I think it helps push the dialogue on issues in a different way. This is rarely what Mariotti does,though, as his general stance in putting together his column is who can I slam for the day, if they deserve it or not.
Mariotti seems to have a specific vendetta against all things owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, with the White Sox his favorite targets. Considering that Ozzie Guillen is the manager, this is a pretty easy mark, as Guillen is always offering up something to comment on. Most of the writers in Chicago realize that Ozzie is a fountain of copy. They also realize that he is a fun-loving guy, who grew up in a locker room, not an Ivy-League, human sensitivity lab. I would agree that Guillen crosses the line of good taste sometimes, but in a world where corporate interests generally determine that all public comment must be sanitized, it’s refreshing to my ears to hear a guy who is willing to not just tip-toe up to the edge, but leap over it at times.
Located in Mariotti’s latest commentary on Guillen included this comment. (I won’t even link this garbage, as if you want to find it, go ahead and do it on your own time.)
I’m just wondering how he’s still employed. If this was bad standup comedy, I’d understand why a trashy nightclub might hire him to humor drunks for $5.50 an hour.
Just another hack effort by Mariotti, throwing my profession under the CTA. I’m not about to claim that what I do for a living is on the level of being a doctor in a Children’s Hospital, but I do know my trashy comedy leaves people with a lot better feeling than the one they get after finishing a Mariotti column—you know, having the need to scrub themselves down like a rookie porn star after doing her first scene with Ron Jeremy.
Even the worst standup comics, who as a group I generally don’t defend, at least have to do one thing that Mariotti never does. They have to face their audience. This is the beef that many of his critics, and fellow journalists hate the most about the guy. Mariotti spends most of his time hidden away in his dirt-filled coffin, sticking his fangs in whatever victim he can suck the most blood out of—only leaving his lair occasionally to convalesce with the other vampires which appear on ESPN’s Around the Horn.
The one up-shot that has happened from the dreaded blow-up doll event is that others in the media have put it in perspective. It has even created a fun little newspaper war of words, as some on the Tribune staff have called out the Sun-Times for their hypocrisy. My favorite was written by the Trib’s Mike Downey. This is the beginning of his column.
• Naked Dancers: Peep Show, $20 for 1/2 Hour"
• X-Treme Body Massages with ‘Hotties’ "
• Hot, Wild, Fun—Blonde or Brunette?"
— Ads that ran in Wednesday’s sports section of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Awwww, isn’t it sweet of the Sun-Times to go to bat against Ozzie Guillen’s bad language and the sexism of the White Sox?
It reminds me a little of the glory days when the greatest newspaper columnist I ever read, Mike Royko, would rail against the Trib and then the Sun-Times (after he switched sides). Newspapers are in a tough business climate. The best way they can stay relevant is to mix the hard news reporting that is so vital to our Republic, with opinion writers who are willing to push their readers with edgy content. It is a fine-line that the best columnists are able to deliver.
The buffoonish work of Mariotti might sell some papers, but I think hurts the paper’s credibility with their readers. The bigger problem is Mariotti-types create dissension among his fellow employees, bringing a bad working atmosphere. While Mariotti’s merits can be debated, he would seem to be a clubhouse cancer on the level of a Terrell Owens. It is a wicked irony that Mariotti is the newspaper writer version of the athletes he most attacks from his ivory tower.
Is it just me that sees the problem with Mariotti ripping the White Sox for creating some comedic relief from installing a couple blow-up dolls? Think about it. Mariotti and blow-up dolls have so much in common. The 2 biggest similarities they have are that they are substitutes for the real thing and they both are filled with hot air.