For those of you not playing along at home, Jay Mariotti was arrested on August 21 for various counts of domestic violence. The legal proceedings concluded with a plea of nolo contendre (no contest) to one of the weakest counts and the rest were dismissed. However, even that count came with 3 years of probation, a fine and a restraining order. While commenting on that turn of events one of our bloggers, Nick Hawkins, compared Jay Mariotti to genital warts. The response from our readers was immediate and strident. People from far and wide demanded that Nick apologize to genital warts.
So we begin your day with Nick’s apology.
By Nick Hawkins
I made the mistake of comparing Genital Warts to Jay Mariotti. They both are highly contagious little viruses that infect the unsuspecting, and are generally brought upon by the desire for something deeper. The sports fan will listen to the anal cancer of sports media for hours on end in the hope against hope that they indeed will hear something worthwhile - a commentary so lucid that it would make even the most obtuse of fans nod in agreement. But in the end, the fan notices this strange bump some time later that you can’t pick at or make go away. But after some time, the genital warts will go away, and the body will rid itself of the virus permanently.
The same could not be said for our much beloved* scribe*. Jay mainly resembles genital herpes. You’re unaware of how you caught it, and after lulls, your body seems to recover from it until that one day you’re noticing that it’s reappeared out of nowhere, filled with pus and standing out in public, causing you to run for your life and shouting “You motherf**ker! I thought you went away for good!!!” Herpes is more apt to describe Jay. The word herpes comes from the Ancient Greek, which means “creeping.” Like a Mariotti column*, they creep out of nowhere and ambush your senses. After the infamous resignation from the Sun-Times, all of Sportsdom breathed a sigh of relief. Our sore went away, and our self-confidence came back and we could explore sports again like it was a new lover. Then the Fanhouse came and signed Mariotti, causing Sportsdom to collectively inspect our genitals and go “Oh Jesus Christ, what did I do to deserve this?!?!?” No amount of Valtrex will cause the Mariotti virus to go into a remission.
The horrible thing about herpes is that it never goes away. The Herpes Mariotti virus appeared in Denver, and had an epic flareup and was passed along in a journalistic gangbang without a condom to a larger city, presumably because a larger city wouldn’t notice the blister known as Mariotti. Instead, the blister grew, and all of Chicago started to wonder who we drunkenly hooked up with to get this disease. We stopped drinking out of a sense of shame and went into denial that we could ever experience an outbreak, but instead we experienced regular episodes. The virus has spread across the country and suffers a high transmission rate. If there was only a CDC for sports journalism in America that would fight fire with fire, and lay waste to Bristol, Connecticut with an explosion that made Nagasaki look like a firecracker in order to halt the spread of such a toxic virus. Instead, it slowly creeps into our homes, our cars and our workplaces.
I wanted to apologize to genital warts. You initially look gross, but eventually go away with treatment and remind us not to rawdog a filthy whore of a sports journalist’s gaping maw ever again. You serve as a warning – a life lesson that we should not only inspect before buying, but as a sign that we should be more discriminating.
Thank you Nick.
I know that must have been tough on you.
However, sad as it is to say, there is still a valid chance of another outbreak of the dreaded Herpes Mariotti virus. On Friday, SPORTS by BROOKS reported that there are several editors at AOL/Fanhouse begging to be infected again and again.
And again and again and again and ....
(Thursday) in Los Angeles Superior Court, ESPN and AOL employee Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest, which has the effect of a guilty plea, to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against his girlfriend as part of a plea bargain to avoid jail time.
Before his August 21 arrest that led to Thursday’s plea bargain, Mariotti was a fulltime panelist on ESPN’s Around The Horn and lead columnist for AOL Fanhouse.
Since Mariotti’s plea bargain to avoid jail time, I’ve talked to several sources at ESPN and AOL Fanhouse about the prospect of Mariotti maintaining his jobs at the two media companies.
Multiple sources at ESPN have confirmed to me that Mariotti is finished at the network. The only remaining question in Bristol regarding Mariotti is how company executives will handle the release of the news. Mariotti is a contract employee at ESPN, meaning he’s paid per appearance and has no binding contract with the network for future work.
Without Mariotti under contract, one could make the argument that ESPN is under no obligation to do any more than what it did yesterday regarding Mariotti. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said after Mariotti’s plea bargain, “We have no current plans to use him at this time.”
“At this time” does leave the door cracked, but I’ve been told that Mariotti will not return to Around The Horn nor appear on any ESPN production in the future.
AOL Fanhouse though is, from what I’ve been told, taking a different tack on Mariotti’s future employ.
Since Mariotti’s plea, two sources inside Fanhouse have told me that Fanhouse editors are lobbying AOL upper management to keep Mariotti. Additionally, I’ve been told that Mariotti’s decision to plea bargain his domestic violence case was expressly designed as an attempt to save his job at AOL. (Mariotti’s future with the company will ultimately be decided by high ranking AOL executives, not Fanhouse editorial.)
So why would Fanhouse editors want to keep Mariotti?
Fanhouse editors still believe Mariotti’s high profile keeps the site more relevant in sports media. In other words, his opinions make news.
Perhaps that was previously true, but one could argue Mariotti’s national profile is almost completely derived from his daily appearances on Around The Horn. Those days are over. So the question is, will people continue to seek out Mariotti at Fanhouse now that his days as a nationally-televised tastemaker are over?
The other issue with Mariotti going forward is the job description he has created for himself over the years. Mariotti has built a 25-year career on making hyperbolic moral judgements about the subjects he covers - including casting aspersions on athletes accused of domestic violence.
The relevance of any columnist’s opinions is rooted in the credibility he or she personally brings to the discussion. Having now admitted to committing domestic violence against a woman, is it unreasonable to suggest that Mariotti’s credibility has now been sufficiently impugned as to render him significantly less relevant in sports media? If not irrelevant?
First off, thanks to ELLIOTT HARRIS for sending me that article.
Mariotti was never really relevant to anyone except those people who wear tinfoil hats and claim that the Titanic was sunk by U-Boats. His* knee jerk morality, thinly veiled racism and inability to finish a paragraph without a meaningless pop culture reference did nothing to endear him to people with IQs greater than those of a cabbage.
While I can’t see anyone rational hiring the Malignant Dwarf, stupider things have happened.
If they do reacquire the services of Mullah of Misery, my guess is that they can look for more comments like these from readers who were subjected to the Botoxed Bloviator’s - ahem - thoughts* on Roger Clemens the day before he* was arrested.
whatever 8-20-2010 11:26AM
Heavy-handed, self-righteous, and not a little disingenuous. And I mean Mr. Mariotti’s article. I’m no fan of Roger Clemens - that’s actually an understatement - but until Mr. Mariotti can claim with 100% honesty that he wasn’t part of the fawning media when McGwire and Sosa were chaing down Maris’ record, I have no use for his bluster. Besides, I’m not as confident as he is that Clemens won’t skate on this. Jury trials are notoriously difficult to predict, and Clemens has more than enough money to muddy the waters (just ask O.J. Simpson).
kazeemwlawal 8-20-2010 11:41AM
Jay should change his name to Hate Mariotti. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE. 8000 words of the word hate would be a better article then this. You hate sports Mariotti. It’s a shame too. Where is Scoop Jackson when you need him.
RainyDayInterns 8-20-2010 11:45AM
”...injustice done to baseball...”
Oh please...gag me with a spoon.
In Jay’s incapable hands that last comment would have read “Lady Gaga me with a spoon.”
In all seriousness, if AOL/Fanhouse does break out the knee pads and earn themselves a mouth full of sores, what kind of reaction are they expecting? More importantly, what kind of fan base are they catering too?
I recently commented on another writer there, Kevin Blackistone, and later realized I shouldn’t have wasted the bandwidth. Only 5 people read the article and one thought it was a comedy bit. And it was still better written than anything spewed forth by the Pundit of the Purple Prose.
With more and more people railing against the dumbing down of our culture and demanding accuracy in their journalism, it would seem to me that the Day of the Diminutive Diva is done.
Even if you don’t have a God, that’s something worth praying for.
I woke up this morning to an email informing me that my phone bill was slightly larger than the national debt. 15 minutes later that minor oopsie was corrected and my heart started beating again. The nice people at Verizon shouldn’t do stuff like that to old people like me.
Some people, however, handle stress differently. As BRAD BRIGGS from the Tribune, reports, Tommie Harris was all cool with being benched.
“I wasn’t frustrated that I didn’t play; it’s just that it’s ‘Monday Night Football,’ you know,” Harris said. “It was very disturbing when I found out the news, but what can you do? You have great vets — Lance (Briggs), (Brian) Urlacher — guys talked to me and just told me to be ready when it is my time again.”
While some focused on the timing of when Harris was informed he wouldn’t play, what needs to be examined is the fact the coaches and general manager Jerry Angelo have said it was a performance-based decision. Then they turn around and say Harris, 27, can perform at a high level again. How? The team had the same concerns about the former first-round pick after last season.
Harris doesn’t know if he will play Sunday against the Giants, and Smith won’t tip his hand. According to a teammate, Harris got limited reps with the first team during practice, not a sign he’ll reclaim his job from Matt Toeaina immediately.
This is the 3rd time in 3 years that Harris has been benched. This time it looks like he’ll be able to show off that cool Armani on national TV for a second time. I guess if you’re not going to dress for the game you may as well dress well.
In baseball, the Cubs find themselves using their bench far more often than they’d planned in March. Even so, it was up to them to shut down John Garland’s Padres and play spoilers. As CARRIE MUSKAT from MLB.com reports, Mr. Wizard a/k/a Quade mixed and matched during the game to ensure that the end result was exactly as planned.
Xavier Nady couldn’t remember the last time he bunted. Brad Snyder couldn’t recall the last at-bat he had without butterflies since being called up.
Both came through in the ninth to lift the Cubs to a 1-0 victory over the Padres on Thursday, securing a series win in the process.
“There were a lot of little things, which you would expect [in a close game] where decisions had to be made,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade, now 22-12 since taking over. “It was a pretty darn exciting 1-0 game.”
Aramis Ramirez blooped a single to shallow center off Heath Bell (6-1) to open the ninth. Pinch-runner Darwin Barney moved up on Nady’s sacrifice, and Snyder then blooped a single to left to give Sean Marshall (7-5) the win.
“We need to give credit to ‘X’ right now,” Quade said of Nady. “He hasn’t had a lot of success against Bell. That was not my call; that was his call to bunt. I’m not smart enough to dictate that to him.
“It’s a team decision for him, and on top of that, to lay down a perfect bunt, I thought that was fantastic. There will be times when guys will bunt in certain situations when you don’t ask them to, but that was great execution and the definition of a sacrifice. He did a heck of a job.”
Nady couldn’t recall the last time he bunted.
“The way things have been going and I haven’t been swinging the bat, I had to do something,” Nady said. “I’ve always tried to work on bunting. It worked out. It’s been a while since I’ve done it.”
Before the game, Cubs rookie Casey Coleman looked at the lineup card and predicted Snyder would hit a home run in the ninth. The rookie outfielder, subbing for injured Kosuke Fukudome, didn’t clear the fences, but it was enough.
“I’ve been trying to do something, somehow, someway, and I’m glad I got a big hit in that situation,” said Snyder, who drove in 106 runs this season at Triple-A Iowa.
The Padres had been pitching him away the entire game, and he guessed right with Bell. He also had his nerves under control.
“I’ve been nervous every time out,” Snyder said. “I’m trying to slow myself down, and it’s hard sometimes. Surprisingly, I wasn’t thinking about much the last at-bat. The others I was spinning too much. The last at-bat it was, ‘See the ball, hit the ball’ and it worked out.
“It’s a cool feeling. He’s one of the best closers. I’m happy right now; I’m thrilled.”
So was Quade. Snyder has toiled in the Minor Leagues for what seems like forever. So has Quade.
“He’s a guy who’s near to my heart,” Quade said. “He spent a lot of time in the Minor Leagues and finally gets an opportunity here, and he’s gotten some big hits—obviously, none bigger than tonight.”
The Padres needed a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Giants beat the Diamondbacks, 4-1, earlier on Thursday and now have a three-game lead in the National League West, so the Padres would have to sweep their three-game set against the Giants this weekend to force a playoff game. San Diego is two games behind idle Atlanta in the NL Wild Card race.
Thursday’s game was delayed by the rain, only the second time this season the Padres have had precipitation problems. On April 21, the start of San Diego’s game against the Giants was delayed 18 minutes. Thursday, the start was 22 minutes late. Remember, it is Southern California.
Neither of the game’s starters, Jon Garland and Tom Gorzelanny, were fazed. Gorzelanny, who lasted 3 1/3 innings in his previous start, went six this time. He gave up three hits and walked four, including David Eckstein and Miguel Tejada back-to-back in the sixth. But the Cubs lefty got Adrian Gonzalez to hit into a double play and Ryan Ludwick to fly out to end the inning.
“It was a good way to end the season,” Gorzelanny said. “I went out there and did what I needed to do.”
The Cubs have been stingy, having now given up three or fewer runs in 13 straight road games, dating to Sept. 10. This was their 13th shutout, the most since totaling 14 in 2003.
Chicago will finish the regular season in Houston, and Quade will give players like Sam Fuld, Barney and Welington Castillo a start. They’re trying to impress the Cubs front office. So is Quade.
“We have to play straight through,” Quade said.
If Quade’s streak as interim manager hasn’t impressed the front office, then I’m not sure what will. As a buddy of mine mentioned last night, “If the Cubs hire Wedge, I’m buying a Guillen jersey and heading south.” I should note that he’s a season ticket holder.
And, no, I don’t think he’s kidding.
Speaking of the Oz-Meister, his pre-game interview yesterday was on Comcast this morning and he was talking about how Konerko will be getting his number retired and his own statue at the Cell. I think that was his subtle way of asking Kenny not to let him go as a free agent. As SCOTT MERKIN from MLB.com reports, Paulie did nothing during the game to damper that enthusiasm.
There was no official announcement coming from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley labeling Thursday as Paul Konerko Day.
The White Sox designated hitter on this night simply took it upon himself to bestow such an honor.
After meeting with the media for 20 minutes before Chicago’s series finale against Boston to discuss his impending free agency, marking the first time Konerko had addressed the topic during this Most Valuable Player Award-caliber season, the captain powered the White Sox to an 8-2 win at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox (86-73) grabbed three of four from the Red Sox (87-72), giving them a 6-1 season-series edge, and they prevented Jon Lester (19-9) from picking up his 20th victory.
Konerko’s key at-bat came in the fourth with the game tied at 2, as the first baseman launched his ninth career grand slam, his first since July 7, 2009, against Cleveland. It was a classic battle for Konerko against one of the game’s top left-handed starters, who yielded his first career grand slam.
“I threw a fastball up and he hit it out,” said Lester. “He’s obviously having a great year. Any time you throw a fastball up to those guys that can do what he can, it’s not good. If I locate it, does he hit a ground ball? Maybe. Does he still hit it out? Maybe. I don’t know. I threw it up in the zone and kind of provided a little bit of the power for him. He put a good swing on it. You’ve got to tip your hat.”
“He’s tough. He’s got four pitches to use on both sides. Good fastball,” Konerko said. “I just kept scrapping and just trying to drive it out. I wasn’t thinking homer when you get down two strikes on a guy like that. It felt good and I had a good approach going tonight, and I didn’t stray from it while I was up there.”
Lester jumped ahead in the count at 1-2, before Konerko took a pair of pitches outside the zone to work it full. Konerko fouled off another one and then lofted the next offering into the left-center-field stands for his 39th home run, raising his RBI total to 111.
In this All-Star season during which even a glancing blow to the face on a Carl Pavano pitch couldn’t slow down Konerko, his manager was not surprised to see this grand result.
“This player is unique—very professional. [That was] just a big at-bat,” Ozzie Guillen said. “All year, he was locked in and did not give up that many at-bats. [He tried] to make the best out of every at-bat. That’s why he had the kind of season he had.”
Here’s how much power Konerko really possesses. In the sixth inning, going in search of his 40th home run, Konerko lofted a long drive to left-center that was caught about three feet from the wall. That blast seemed to shake the rafters, as two batters later, U.S. Cellular Field suffered an electrical outage, delaying the game for 21 minutes.
Dayan Viciedo also went deep for the White Sox, with his fourth home run barely clearing the fence in right, a shot which all but put an end to Lester’s night. The Boston ace gave up eight runs on nine hits over four-plus innings, striking out five, walking five and throwing 99 pitches.
This contest could have been a 20-win coronation for Lester, with the Red Sox focused on helping their hurler reach that milestone. Konerko clearly had other ideas.
“That was perfect,” said White Sox starting and winning pitcher John Danks of Konerko’s grand slam. “I was a little worried I gave up the home run to put us down a run. Go down a run against Lester, he’s a tough guy to score against.”
Danks (15-11) increased his single-season career high for victories by striking out six in six innings, with Victor Martinez’s two-run home run in the third the only runs he allowed. Danks finished with a 3.72 ERA and a team-high 162 strikeouts in a team-high 213 innings.
“We’ve been saying all along how we are trying to win every game from here on out, keep battling,” Danks said. “We are all competitive and don’t like to get beat, and tonight was another example.”
Taking this series from Boston means Guillen needs just two victories this weekend to give him 600 for his career. Konerko needs one home run for his third season with at least 40 and needs three to set a career best at 42.
“Now, I’m rooting for 40,” said Guillen of Konerko’s home run total.
“I’ll give it a run,” Konerko said. “The numbers are nice. I’ve done it before. It’s always nice to have a round number. But if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I would rather hit 25 or 30 on a team going to the playoffs than 40 on a team that’s not.”
Three games against Cleveland remain at home before the 2010 season wraps up. Konerko wasn’t really in the plans to play much this weekend, although those plans might change with 40 homers in sight.
At the very least, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Konerko figure to play on Sunday in what could be their last game wearing a White Sox uniform. Konerko received a curtain call after his grand slam on Thursday, and both players figure to get the same appreciative treatment from White Sox fans with their futures unknown.
“They’ve been great teammates for me,” said Danks of Konerko and Pierzynski. “We want them back, but it’s not our department.”
0-7 streak, regular use of designated hitter. 7-1 streak, Ozzie’s way. I’m not sayin’ nuthin, I’m just sayin’.
It’s well known that I would like to see P.K. and A.J. back for the next few years, but it’s not my choice to make. It’s also no secret that the players put themselves in this uncomfortable position. Had they played near their career averages prior to June they wouldn’t have had their backs against the wall for the entire season. That goes for both offense and defense.