Monday, June 18, 2007

It's been a very long time since I attacked Jay Mariotti in this space. With the Red Sox roaring out to that 14 and 1/2 game lead in the first two months of the season, I was just too depressed to read Mariotti's appallingly dishonest carping. I just couldn't handle it. But with Humpty Dumpty falling flat on his face for the second time in as many starts, I thought I could handle it. I was wrong.

What bothers me most about Mariotti as a man and as a writer is the fact that he acts as though he were tough as nails right up until the moment confrontation could become conflict and then he backs off, whining with his tail between his legs. Just look at that infamous dust-up with Ken "Hawk" Harrelson when Mariotti said "I ought to slug you" only to back off and threaten litigation when Hawk showed signs that he intended to do harm to Mariotti.

A close second in the treasure trove of inadmirable character traits that make up the man, the myth, the fraud is his complete lack of scruple and honesty as a writer. The man has no sense of irony, either. Consider this piece he wrote for Monday's paper on the US Open. Mariotti calls Tiger Woods into question for his inability to catch Cabrera, while barely conceding the fact that Mariotti believed that Eldrick would win the tournament.

It's almost as though this column, which appeared in Suday's paper had never been written. I realize a two or three paragraph apology for the tortured logic, mangled metaphors, left-handed compliments, phony tough and crazy brave rhetoric and general poor taste exhibited in that piece would be out of the question, but a brief, humble little digression along these lines: "Look, I made a mistake. I thought the guy was going to win. I had a deadline and might have gotten carried away thinking I was a much better writer than I am. But I was wrong and I'm sorry" would have been nice.

That is far from the only instance. Earlier, before the US Open, Mariotti wrote this piece ostensibly feeling a bit of empathy for Phil Mickelson in his hour of difficulty. Then, after Mickelson missed the cut, Mariotti wrote a column to demonize Mickelson for complaining about the rough. I can't believe that editors, TV producers and the vast public tolerate him. Outside of a blogs, like, Jay the Joke and Boise Wants Jay, hardly anyone calls him on this nonsense.

Mariotti is currently lining up Mark Cuban for this treatment. At the moment, he is in favor of the rumored interest in acquiring the Cubs shown by the Benefactor. Part of it is due to the fact that Jerry Reinsdorf hates Cuban and Mariotti hates Reisndorf. I'm sure there must be, somewhere in the dark recesses of the back corners of Mariotti's oh so prodigious mind, the faint hope that Mark Cuban will buy the Cubs and bring his little freak parade to Chicago. I'm sure that will mean weeks and weeks of columns and hours of TV time for Mariotti to rip Cuban and the Cubs with very little intellectual effort. But I'm sure a nice guy like Jay hasn't thought of that.

Now it's time for me to go back to hating the Red Sox, at least until the fall. Once the Bears start playing again, I'm sure Mariotti will be writing articles like this more often. After all, when can a middle-aged never-was bully a massive, three hundred plus pound world class athlete? Perhaps that is the root of his appeal to whatever demographic Mariotti appeals. All the other frustrated Monday morning QBs must look to him to take the big and the strong down a peg since they can't do it themselves.

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