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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jay Mariotti: Why I Still Love Sportswriting

I see Mariotti misspelled Stalking…again.

Why sports? Why still? This one, I like. Why continue to embrace a craft that literally almost killed me, a profession currently diluted by so many unskilled bloggers and corporate suckups that it has lost much of its soul?

My answer remains the same as it has for three decades: Because I still love sports, and because I still love to write. Sports + writing = sportswriter. And the fond memories still dance like nude women at Burning Man, whether it’s Michael Jordan’s wrist-pose final shot in Utah, or Michael Jordan’s flurry of threes in the Portland series, or Michael Jordan’s… er, Kirk Gibson’s gimp-limp home run at Dodger Stadium, or Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals in China, or Ben Johnson’s too-good-to-be-true sprint that turned on the sewer pipes for sport’s Steroids Era, or Tiger Woods winning a U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on one leg, or Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters at 46, or Lance Armstrong winning dirty in Paris, or the White Sox winning the only Chicago World Series trophy most of us ever will see, or the freaky goal that returned the Stanley Cup to Madison Street, or Super Bowl XX and the most dominant single-season team (sorry, Don Shula) in NFL history, or Michael Jordan’s six titles in six tries, or Michael Jordan’s…

I am blessed to have seen so much. How much do I love sports writing? I have a way of going through hell on the job and coming back for more. I had a heart attack during a bowl-game assignment, ending up drugged in a New Orleans hospital and watching groggily on closed-circuit TV while a stent was threaded through my leg and plugged into an artery. I’ve had my life threatened so often by cowardly cyber assassins, many from the South Side, that I’ve decided to have my ashes scattered at U.S. Cellular Field. I had Jordan angrily tell me that he kept my columns on his refrigerator door for motivation.

...As I begin to write this, I’m watching four baseball playoff games in a 12-hour span, also known as Bud Selig’s wet dream. You have Buster Posey proving why he’s MVP. You have Dusty Baker, a postseason flop again, running his team out of a potential big inning and losing another series. You have the Cardinals still carving out late-night miracles without Tony La Russa and Pujols, and the Washington Nationals flopping, in part, because management foolishly shelved Stephen Strasburg. You have Joe Girardi managing hours after his father died, and a night after he showed the wisdom and guts to pinch-hit Raul Ibanez for useless Alex Rodriguez. You have the payroll-lean Oakland Athletics, in a story that one-ups “Moneyball,” taking the potent Detroit Tigers to five games. The lords who run the game don’t deserve such theater after dulling down baseball to a distant No. 3, behind the NFL and NBA, as a spectacle. Anyone for a 20-second clock between pitches?

Repoz Posted: October 16, 2012 at 10:26 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, media

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4272312)
I love sportswriting so much, that's why I get so angry with it and lose my temper and strike it sometimes. Because I care so much!
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: October 16, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4272333)
Mariotti believes it was wrong to shut down Strasburg? There goes the intellectual basis for the naysayers in the "Sorry Nats fans, but history is not written by the losers" thread!
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: October 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4272349)
Urggh, look what crawled out of the gutter.
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4272361)
My answer remains the same as it has for three decades: Because I still love sports...


Mariotti has never loved sports. He just says that to get it into bed with him. And once in a while, when it's had too much to drink and just needs a few hours of something approximating human contact, sports has, to its shame, allowed itself to believe that lie.
   5. PaulO Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4272477)
Every piece of tripe he's written in the last few years always includes a reference to those stupid beach bars he frequents. Jay must have forgotten.
   6. Into the Void Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4272482)
Every piece of tripe he's written in the last few years always includes a reference to those stupid beach bars he frequents.


And a slam of the city of Chicago, the Sox, Cubs, and Bears. It's like he's trying to make people jealous of his "LA lifestyle" when in actuality no one cares. Really pathetic.
   7. madvillain Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4272484)
I cannot un-imagine Jay Mariotti and Burning Man. Ugh. Oh and Jay, STFU you cynical dirtbag.
   8. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4272489)
I cannot un-imagine Jay Mariotti and Burning Man.


I totally bet he's a shirt-cocker.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: October 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4272520)
I still love to write... And the fond memories still dance like nude women at Burning Man...


oof.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: October 16, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4272558)
What a bastion of positivity, it's nice to see someone who shines a happy light on sports. His other articles linked on the bottom of the page are titled "Did Someone Say Choke?" and "Cutler’s Bears Still Suck."
   11. Machine Posted: October 16, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4272561)
Mariotti has always been a writer first and an observer of sports second. I suppose you can't fault a man who chases something that he loves. But I think Mariotti is somebody who had he focused his efforts elsewhere could have written some great novels. Limiting his writings to several column inches each day has always been a waste of his talents.
   12. McCoy Posted: October 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4272580)
I had no idea the name of Jay's mom is Bubba123.
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4272584)
Mariotti has always been a writer first and an observer of sports second.


You misspelled "stupid ass-hole".
   14. Comic Strip Person Posted: October 16, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4272606)
Mariotti has always been a writer first and an observer of sports second.


You misspelled "stupid ass-hole".


Twice.
   15. PaulO Posted: October 16, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4272650)
His handling as a columnist of the 2005 White Sox season is pretty much the worst indictment of the columnist profession I have ever seen.
   16. Into the Void Posted: October 16, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4272663)
His handling as a columnist of the 2005 White Sox season is pretty much the worst indictment of the columnist profession I have ever seen.


I remember that. As the season went on, over and over again it was "This is a mirage, they are going to choke." From spring training to the start of the world series. That's it. That's all he had to say.
   17. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: October 16, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4272673)
His handling as a columnist of the 2005 White Sox season is pretty much the worst indictment of the columnist profession I have ever seen.


Eric Zorn read it so we didn't have to

June 24 -- Guillen's feistiness has a magical effect on the Sox.

August 15--- For all his talents as a skipper, Guillen is a loose-lipped disaster as a representative of his team, city and sport.

October 4-- I've been trying to tell out-of-towners that Guillen has been a terrific manager.
   18. Repoz Posted: October 16, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4272685)
June 24 -- Guillen's feistiness has a magical effect on the Sox.

August 15--- For all his talents as a skipper, Guillen is a loose-lipped disaster as a representative of his team, city and sport.

October 4-- I've been trying to tell out-of-towners that Guillen has been a terrific manager.


Mariomitti.
   19. Tippecanoe Posted: October 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4272768)
lords who run the game don’t deserve such theater after dulling down baseball to a distant No. 3, behind the NFL and NBA, as a spectacle.


WTF? As a spectacle? It's also behind the Blue Angels airshow, Hef's Poolside Birthday Bash, and the Tanzanian wildebeest migration, but so what?
   20. asinwreck Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4272805)
Is that a sock I see blowing in the wind?
   21. JE (Jason) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4272814)
Burning Man??? Would someone suppoedly addicted to sports in the way Mariotti describes willingly go without his/her Blackberry/iPhone/laptop for more than two days 24 12 hours?
   22. rconn23 Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4272831)
"Mariotti has always been a writer first and an observer of sports second. I suppose you can't fault a man who chases something that he loves. But I think Mariotti is somebody who had he focused his efforts elsewhere could have written some great novels. Limiting his writings to several column inches each day has always been a waste of his talents."

Jay?
   23. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4272878)
Seriously, Bubba123 (and the few subsequent posts) made me laugh gloriously. Thanks to you fine sir.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: October 16, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4272886)
Seriously, Bubba123 (and the few subsequent posts) made me laugh gloriously. Thanks to you fine sir.

Concur.

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