It’s no secret that Jay Mariotti wasn’t very well liked in Chicago. Whether it was by the athletes he covered, the folks who read him in the paper or watched him on television, or bloggers such as myself. Personally, I’ve had my own run-ins with the man that didn’t do much to improve my opinion of him, and I’m pretty glad to see him go.
As are members of the White Sox and one of Jay’s former co-workers at the Sun-Times. Chris De Luca wrote a column today about the reactions of members of the White Sox organization to Mariotti’s resignation/dismissal (depends who you ask), but also used the opportunity to share his own feelings on the situation.
From De Luca’s article:
‘‘When people wish the worst on people, you have to be careful because the baseball gods are going to get you,” Ozzie Guillen said. ”He was not asking just for my job, he was asking for thousands and thousands of people’s jobs over the years. I’m not going to say I will get the last laugh because I will get fired from this job. But the day I get fired is the day I lose interest in this game.
”Am I enjoying this? Yes, because he tried to make my life miserable. He did everything in his power to make my life go the wrong way, but he didn’t make me miserable because I don’t believe him. Maybe if somebody else wrote that stuff about me, then I would put attention on it. And that’s what he wanted. He wanted attention. He has to thank me because I gave him a lot of [stuff] to work with. I know I helped him the last four years to make his money, and, obviously, he did not help me at all to make my money.”
”It’s about time,” said Sox broadcaster Ken ”Hawk” Harrelson, another favorite target of Mariotti’s. ”I know one thing, when he got that [contract] extension three or four months ago, he wouldn’t have signed that extension if the things he’s saying about the Sun-Times now were true. So he’s spinning it again.
Of course, while the reactions of Guillen and Harrelson were to be expected - they were two of Jay’s favorite targets, after all - the best part of DeLuca’s column was how he didn’t try to hide his feelings towards his former colleague. It was as though a two-ton weight had been lifted off of his back, and he just let it fly in the column.
Mariotti spent the better part of his first day divorced from the Sun-Times acting like a scorned lover. He wants you to believe there was a greater principle involved — one that somehow loomed larger than his ego. He wants you to believe that newspapers — specifically the two biggest ones in Chicago — are dying.
Once again, Mariotti was playing fast and loose with the facts.
Not once in the last eight years can I recall seeing Mariotti in the Cubs’ or Sox’ clubhouse. With a press credential that allowed him access to every major sporting event and every major figure, he hasn’t broken a single story in that time. He says Chicago is a weak market, the competitive edge gone. He has only himself to blame.
He called his colleagues soft, forgetting we’re the ones who had to face his targets on a daily basis. We were the ones who had to deal with the anger that he was too cowardly to face himself. We got the quotes that made up the bulk of his columns.
In spinning his story to the Chicago Tribune, Mariotti depicted the Sun-Times as the Titanic, and it was clear the self-proclaimed tough guy was knocking over the old women and children to be the first to jump ship.
And finally, the coup de grace from SUN-TIMES editor Michael Cooke:
“We wish Jay well and will miss him — not personally, of course — but in the sense of noticing he is no longer here, at least for a few days,” Cooke said. ”A paper, like a sports franchise, is something that moves into the future. Stars come and stars go, but the Sun-Times sports section was, is and will continue to be the best in the city.”
The only thing missing from this column was a quote from Jay’s mother saying that she can’t stand him either. Kudos to you, Mr. De Luca. Kudos.