Monday, March 31, 2014

4 comments Jay Mariotti Bemoans the Loss of Sports Journalism as He Stands Over It's Corpse with a Bloody Knife

Jay Mariotti has attempted to reinvent himself with the Sports Talk Florida site as the man who is going to come in and save journalism from itself. I'm not sure he's preaching to a very large audience, or at least an audience that leaves comments, because most of his columns don't have any comments under them. I'm sure Jay would say that's because everyone agrees with him. Jay is one of the reasons for the decline of sports journalism though. He's never been a very good writer and mostly he exists for pageviews from people who don't like him or want to read his latest attack on a certain person/place/thing. That's what Jay is good for. He's a mercenary who in the past (though possibly not now) gets eyes on his columns. Somehow this has led Jay to believe he is in a position to talk about the decline of sports journalism as if he isn't partially responsible for the ESPN-ification of the profession. So Jay bemoans that Rick Reilly will no longer be writing for ESPN.com and thinks this is another death-knell for the sportswriting profession. It is not. Sportswriting will still be around 20 years from now and Jay only says the profession is declining because no one will hire him to write columns anymore for a major sports news organization. This is typical Jay Mariotti. He hates what he can't be. He pimped his radio show out to ESPN, FoxSports, and other major news organizations who declined to work with him (he admits this in his introductory column to this Sports Talk Florida site), so naturally because these major sports news organizations won't allow Jay to write sports journalism then he takes the position the profession is dying. If Rick Reilly not writing columns anymore is a sign the profession is dying, then sports journalism never had a shot to begin with.

On Rick Reilly’s final day at ESPN.com, his two March efforts were the highest-read pieces on the site.

Being well-read is a good thing. Being well-read doesn't mean quality though, it just means people read what you write. Danielle Steel has sold a ton of books, but I'm not sure anyone would argue she is one of the best writers on the planet. The same goes for music. The best quality music isn't always the highest quality music. Sometimes being popular doesn't guarantee high quality.

As he ends the most accomplished sportswriting career of his generation,

I'm sorry, I think Jay meant "As he ends what no one would argue is the most accomplished..." Let's read that again just to be sure.

As he ends the most accomplished sportswriting career of his generation,

Oh. Well, this sentence is how Jay can lose credibility with me immediately. The only thing Reilly has accomplished in the last 5 years is plagiarizing himself repeatedly.
  
he embarrasses the industry traffic whores who’ve mocked him as their cheap way of attracting eyeballs.

(Jay glances at himself in the mirror subconsciously, not understanding why)

So Jay says that Reilly had the most-read piece on ESPN.com during his final day, then says that Reilly embarrasses traffic whores who mock him as a way of attracting eyeballs. Couldn't it be possible that some of those pageviews were redirected from sites mocking him? And also, Reilly is terrible. Those people mocking Rick Reilly are not about attracting eyeballs, but about pointing out terrible writing.

A gifted paragon in an increasingly wayward, soulless, Beavis-and-Butthead profession,

Hey Jay, the 90's called and they want their pop culture reference back.

Reilly has had to absorb cheap shots from hopeless hacks who can’t draw readers with their own dreck and rely on ripping a master to make a few nickels.

Much like Rick Reilly has to rely on ripping his own past work off in order to churn out a weekly column? Or like how Jay has to write columns ripping on fellow sportswriters, athletes/coaches and generic Internet bloggers in order to gain attention for himself?

His piece last week on Jim Kelly and his horrific obstacles in life, including cancer, stirred tears. His recent commentary on why Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox were voted immediately into baseball’s Hall of Fame — though all managed teams with stars immersed in performance-enhancing drugs — provoked widespread debate.

His columns where he plagiarized his own work and misquoted his fucking father-in-law of all people also provoked widespread debate. How about the column where he basically called Jonathan Martin a wimp? That provoked some debate, yet Jay conveniently leaves out these columns that provoked debate because they are a part of the Reilly legacy over the past five years that doesn't make him look so good.

Reilly made you think, made you cry, made you LOL, made you get to know a subject, made you love sports and hate sports and love him and hate him.

Maybe he did a decade ago, but in the last 10 years he has mostly made people hate him for writing about sports.

He is leaving the writing game to concentrate exclusively on television. Anyone who knows Reilly knows this is ass-backwards, that his flowing prose doesn’t come across so well on TV.

I absolutely agree. Reilly has the presence of a creepy uncle on television, but the problem is his writing (no matter what Jay says...and remember, Jay thinks his own personal writing is good so I'm not sure he's capable of understanding what good sportswriting is) hasn't been up to par for a while now. It's so bad that Reilly has been copying his old work at least once a year. But yes, Rick Reilly's skill set doesn't really translate well anywhere except for in his writing, and his writing isn't very good anymore.

But ESPN president John Skipper, who has a bizarre hard-on for a comparatively inane Bill Simmons and has overpromoted a glorified Boston sports fan at Reilly’s expense,

This ESPN president John Skipper is also the guy who brought Jay Mariotti's name to the national conscience by hiring him to be on "Around the Horn" and giving him a forum to be the Jay Mariotti that I have come to know and dislike. One would think that Jay wouldn't take cheap shots at Skipper, but Jay is still bitter that he was fired from ESPN and of course has to take a shit on Skipper due to this. It's Jay's M.O. He bashes his ex-fellow employees on his way out the door.

is ignoring Reilly’s robust readership and turning him strictly into a talking head who will create stories for “Monday Night Football” and SportsCenter. This is a forced move, with Skipper conveniently playing to Reilly’s social-media critics — and playing to his pal Simmons, too — rather than protecting Reilly and having his back.

You only have to search the archives of this blog to see I'm not the biggest Bill Simmons fan in the world. If I'm the head of a major sports network and having to choose between Rick Reilly and Bill Simmons, then I am choosing Bill Simmons every time. The bottom line is Rick Reilly doesn't fit in with ESPN because Reilly is a one-trick pony. He's good at writing a weekly column at the end of a magazine and he was good at that when working for "Sports Illustrated," but at ESPN he simply isn't able to create stories or contribute anything to a discussion about sports. Rick Reilly doesn't do sports. He does human interest stories about people involved with sports. I don't understand what Skipper would have had to do to have Reilly's back other than to ask him to not continue to write in a shitty fashion.

“Life’s 2 short 2 work full-time. Letting my column go + will just do features 4 MNC + SC. Thx 2 John Skipper 4 this!,” Reilly tweeted.

Thank John Skipper? For what, ruining sportswriting?

The idea Jay Mariotti is accusing someone else of ruining sportswriting is delicious. Jay Mariotti is a man responsible for picking fights with athletes and managers, re-writing an entire column because within 6 hours of posting the original column he looked like an asshole based on the premise of his original article, and just generally writing in the manner of a troll to gain attention.

Also, didn't ESPN hire Jay Mariotti to do some freelance writing recently? Last year in fact. Unfortunately this wasn't Mariotti's big triumphant return to writing he wanted it to be because ESPN didn't publish anything else after that one column about Kobe Bryant. Not that Jay is bitter of course, but he was doing freelance work for the guy he now claims ruined sportswriting.

Not to mention, I have seen this Mariotti column all across the Internet with people commenting on it. It's a little ironic that in the column where Mariotti complains says:

he embarrasses the industry traffic whores who’ve mocked him as their cheap way of attracting eyeballs.

That Jay himself is using Reilly's name to increase his traffic and get his name back out on the keyboards of those who follow sports. It's just typical Jay. He complains about traffic whores while being jealous he doesn't have the traffic he wants, so he takes steps towards being a traffic whore himself. Jay accuses someone of stealing bread while he has a loaf hidden under his shirt.

When I started this multi-media sports site,

I'm sorry, this is funny. This is like old bands starting their own label because, "We want to produce and control the content of our music and how it's distributed." This means: "No major label will sign us right now." Yeah, this is a multi-media sports site, but the relevance of this sports site Jay runs pales in comparison to the relevance Jay believes it carries. Jay thinks he's winning the marathon when he's just so far behind everyone else he can't see his nearest competitor.

I wrote that the best writers are the most versatile — strike a romantic nerve, break a scandal, rip an owner, question a strategic move, profile a great athlete, rejoice after a marvelous performance or human triumph. You must do it all.

Interesting, because Jay is incapable of doing at least half of these things the best writers do. Rick Reilly was capable of doing these things at one time until the sportswriting landscape shifted from under him and readers requested more from a writer than a few bad jokes and a generic look at a sports event. Rick isn't relevant anymore because there are writers who can be funny while also taking a more in-depth look at a sports topic. Rick has struggled to find his place in the new sportswriting landscape. I love to blame John Skipper for things, but this one isn't his fault...outside of hiring Reilly in the first place...and giving him a new contract. Okay, so maybe the whole "hiring of Reilly" is John Skipper's fault.

Sportswriting should be less about analytics and fandom and more about passion, debate, raw energy, feel, criticism.

Not true. Sportswriting should be about analytics and fandom, along with passion, debate, raw energy, feel and criticism.

The problem that Jay doesn't seem to understand is that Rick Reilly didn't provide any passion in his columns at ESPN. Many of them were mailed in. The next time Rick Reilly provides any debate or raw energy in his columns will be the first time he does so. Rick provides criticism sometimes, but it's more of a "casual sports fan" criticism (as seen from his comments about Notre Dame football two years ago) where you can tell Rick is providing an uninformed opinion.

I’ve yet to see Simmons evoke an emotion other than “Who is that guy, why is Doug Collins looking at him funny on an NBA pre-game show, why is he writing 20,000-word monstrosities that say nothing and why is he championing `smart writing’ when he and his offshoot site, Grantland, are comprised of pretend intellects who also write way too long and say nothing?” When a writer has to tell someone he’s a smart sportswriter, he probably is not a smart sportswriter and is more a self-promoting, write-for-his-peers charlatan.

“Smart writing,” Skipper says, repeating whatever Simmons says.

 Blowhard masturbation, I say.

There's a certain amount of truth in these statements. There's also a hell of a lot of jealousy to go along with the truth in these statements. Jay was discarded by ESPN twice and he's not happy about it.

And I’m afraid ESPN is further suppressing and marginalizing what once made sportswriting great — passion, fun, controversy — by forbidding anyone but Simmons to stand out from the rest.

If Jay is complaining that ESPN isn't allowing ESPN.com to turn into one big "First Take" episode then I'm very glad for this. I think it would also be effective if Jay gave specific examples of this phenomenon he claims to see, because I'm sure they exist. Without these specific examples it seems like sour grapes to me.

Also on tap are sites targeted specifically for niches — Skipper has hired Nate Silver to operate a metrics/ geek platform (again, smart sportswriting)

I HATE smart sportswriting. I prefer emotional, unintelligent ranting in my sportswriting. Because you know, as a reader I don't deserve smart sportswriting. I deserve the writing that's best used for lining the inside of a litter box, writing that is emotional, overly-critical without thinking the criticism through, and writing with a bias. I deserve Jay Mariotti's writing.

that is capitalizing on Silver’s ability to accurately predict all 50 states in a presidential race for the New York Times, though I’m not certain how that relates to whether Tiger Woods should keep playing or rest his bad back for the Masters.

I think Jay has a fundamental misunderstanding of what Nate Silver's site will be doing. They won't be determining if Tiger Woods should keep playing (how the hell would they even do that?) or rest his back for the Masters. Jay may want to bone up on what the Nate Silver site will be doing before criticizing it.

Also coming is a site promoting African-American content, which is fine as long as ESPN also adds a site promoting Asian-American content, Italian-American content and Icelandic-American content.

Hilarious. I see Jay has the same amount of respect for minorities as he has for women. Wait, I'm sorry, that's right. Jay was framed by a she-devil and he would never hurt another woman.

Seems the thinkers are overthinking. And wrecking the business.

So a site promoting African-American content is "overthinking" sporstwriting? Jay was never good at the whole "thinking" thing, so I can see how he's intimidated by a move to more cerebral-oriented sportswriting that doesn't involve taking cheap shots at the local MLB manager.

Reilly’s departure means sportswriting officially is dead.

No, it doesn't. If sportswriting didn't die from Jay's repeated efforts to kill it, then the departure of a writer who was good at his craft a decade ago isn't going to make a difference.

ESPN now will trot out megadoses of Simmons, whose popularity stems from “reader letters” he actually is writing to himself — a practice he lifted from a brilliant sports columnist named Mike Downey. 

It disturbs me a little bit that Jay and I have noticed the same thing about Bill's mailbags.

Once, the business was flowing with big money, and the best sportswriters made millions.

Or, in the case of Jay Mariotti, who was that industry whore trolling for eyeballs on his columns, even the worst sportswriters made a million or so. Jay is mad he isn't rolling in the money like he used to be. If you notice, I think many of Jay's complaints about others center around rejections Jay has experienced during his professional career. He hates FoxSports and ESPN because they don't want to hire him. He's mad that the sportswriting industry is moving away from his shitty writing towards a more thinking-man's writing because it affects Jay's paycheck. Jay isn't capable of thought-provoking writing.
 
Now, irresponsible entrepreneurs hire writers on the cheap to write lies and drive traffic.

Jay misses the days when irresponsible newspapers hired him to write cheap lies and drive traffic. Those were the good old days.

The clown who started the trashy Deadspin site once wrote he had it on 80 percent authority that Albert Pujols used steroids — Pujols should sue him, as he sued former major-league slugger Jack Clark for making the same claims — and the writer since has devolved into another humdrum no-read for a site co-owned by (ready to howl?) MLB.

Gosh, I'm howling.

Deadspin is among the sites that like to think they took down Reilly because he recycled some old lines.

I don't think those sites think they took Reilly down. I would like Jay's take on how Reilly recycled some old lines from a 500 page column isn't basically recycling the same column and how this matches up with Jay's insistence that Rick Reilly has had the most accomplished sportswriting career of his generation. Is Rick such a great writer even he wants to copy himself? It's hilarious that Jay accuses Deadspin of printing lies, but everything they wrote about Rick Reilly was true. Jay skips over this little fact, that he calls Deadspin liars while refusing to acknowledge the subject of this column (Rick Reilly) was a target of Deadspin only peddling the truth. 

Not only do those stoners struggle to match Reilly’s worst sentences on their best writing days, they have as much right to assess integrity as Pinocchio and Dick Nixon.

What? I don't even understand this, other than Jay throws two dated pop culture references at his readers. Jay can't fight Deadspin with an intelligent retort on the facts of what Deadspin wrote regarding Reilly because he knows Reilly recycled his own columns, so being Jay Mariotti, he takes the low road and starts making the discussion personal. Jay can't argue on the merits, so he tries to drag people down into the mud with him.

Maybe Jay likes Rick Reilly so much because Jay likes to recycle jokes too. Look for the "Pinocchio/Richard Nixon" joke in the first paragraph of that Mariotti column. 

In the 21st century, as always, the essence of sportswriting is telling the reader what he doesn’t know and giving him a reason to chew on what is so compelling about sports. Rick Reilly did it better than anyone I’ve read.

You should have read more over the last decade, because while at ESPN Reilly has been nothing but a bust and disappointment. He was given a forum and a chance to write, with every column posted on ESPN.com's front page and he never repaid ESPN's faith in him. In fact, Reilly spit in ESPN's face by recycling old columns while they handed him a paycheck worth millions.

“Thanks to everybody who liked the column and even those who hated it. You fired me up. It was a privilege,” he tweeted.

Rick Reilly tweeted. Consider those three words.

Yes, the dichotomy of Rick Reilly using new media Tweeting his departure from sportswriting while part of the reason he is departing is because he couldn't adjust his writing to new media is interesting.

It’s all you need to know about the death of sportswriting.

That sportswriting isn't dying at all, it's just some older sportswriters who have failed to adjust to sportswriting in the 21st century are being left behind? Sportswriting can't be dying. Rick Reilly hasn't been a good writer for almost a decade now and sportswriting has somehow survived Jay Mariotti's repeated attempts to kill it. If sportswriting can survive this and this then I think the profession will be able to survive pretty much anything.
On Rick Reilly’s final day at ESPN.com, his two March efforts were the highest-read pieces on the site.
Read more at http://www.sportstalkflorida.com/rick-reilly-way-too-good-for-a-bad-business/#J1YFTUUQVa68oCdO.99

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read a worse piece of comedic sports writing than Rick Reilly's "poem" about the Jets QB situation from a year or two ago. You have to read it to believe just how unfunny it was. Jay Mariotti defending Reilly makes me feel good about myself. Mariotti is the lowest of the low, so him liking a writer that I'm sure is terrible vindicates my opinion. I'd question my own thought process if I ever started agreeing with Mariotti.

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Bengoodfella said...

Anon, if I ever felt bad about ripping on Rick Reilly, then that would go away knowing how much Jay Mariotti likes him. Rick Reilly hasn't been any good for the last five years and copies his own work. It's a good day when he gives up writing officially.

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