It's not so much that American newspaper editors want to employ mean-spirited sports columnists such as Bill Conlin; we're pretty sure it's the law. How else would one explain it? Every large paper seems to have its resident sports bastard, and Conlin fills that role at the Philadelphia Daily News, providing a steady dose of grouchy, rambling and often incomprehensible offerings since 1966. Let's go to the vital statistics:
Name: Bill Conlin.
Columnist: Philadelphia Daily News.
Nicknames: Jabba the Reporter, The Philly Cheesesteak, The White Stephen A. Smith.
Best Reference in a Blog: "Bill Conlin would eat a Teletubbie alive if he were fast enough to catch one." [Breakdown]
Most often seen/heard on: "The Sports Reporters"
Most Resembles: Biggie Smalls.
Likely man-crush on: Ryan Howard.
Suicidal Tendency: The odd urge to keep bringing up race when discussing Donovan McNabb.
As Robert Kennedy said, some people look at the world as it could be and say "Why not?" Others seem to be here simply to eat our food and call people names. That's Conlin. He has most famously feuded with Phillies manager Larry Bowa, who called Conlin "a senile old man who is stirring up trouble because he's bored with his life," and adding: "He's so fat he can't fit through the doorway." That almost made us feel sorry for Bill — but not as sorry as we are for his readers, or the chair into which he is wedged on "The Sports Reporters."
Actually we feel that Conlin isn't a bad columnist, he was just born in the wrong century. He would have been right at home as a character in a Dickens novel, ordering young orphans to fetch various items and whatnot, all the while signing eviction papers and combing his enormous muttonchops. And that Oliver Twist? Big mistake starting the little urchin at second base over Chase Utley. And if the Phillies don't agree, sir, then the Phillies are an ass!