Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks: Steve Kelley

"Steve Kelley looked at his column.

He had only one sentence so far, so he hit the "enter" key and described it.

Then he did that for the second sentence, and he was three paragraphs in. Soon, his column-inch target would be met.

But not soon enough for Kelley."

Our thanks to DMZ at U.S.S.Mariner.com for this apt description of this week's subject, Steve Kelley, whose suckiness one cannot appreciate unless one actually lives in the Pacific Northwest and reads the Times every day. Out there they call him The King of the One-Sentence Paragraph, and that's saying something, because, as we've mentioned, a lot of columnists are resorting to that sophomoric gimmick these days. Let's go to the vital statistics:

Name: Steve Kelley
Columnist: Seattle Times
Formerly worked for: Centralia Daily Chronicle, The Olympian.
Attended: University of South Carolina (for two weeks), University of Delaware.
Nicknames: Mr. Sunshine, Captain Obvious. The Guy Who Fixed Our Dryer.
Common phrase responsible for: "As dry as a Steve Kelley column."
Most resembles: John McMartin (character actor best known as Shirley's boyfriend in an episode of "The Partridge Family").

Here's a fun game we like to play. Take a sports column, boil it down to one or two graphs and see if it suffers. For instance, this column by Steve Kelley on Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn. The official version comes in at 34 paragraphs (including 16 one-sentence graphs, and six two-word graphs). We rewrote it, and got this:

If the Mariners are looking for a starting pitcher to lead them out of the cellar of the A.L. West, Jarrod Washburn isn't the guy. At $30 million over the nest four years, he is vastly overpaid.

That's it. Not another sentence in the piece really adds to the central thesis. Or this one, on the college basketball rivalry between Gonzaga and Washington, which can be pared down to:

These two teams play some exciting games. And hey, they're located within the same state!

This is Kelley's style: take an idea (too often a preposterous one, such as Ken Griffey Jr. returning to the Mariners), and beat it to death for 600 words. Be sure to inject as little humor or flair as possible. Repeat. As a columnist, Kelley is a good Sears repairman — which he was before this journalism thing came along. Hey, here's an idea: try to fill out a few of those columns with a cognizant thought or two, Hemingway. Oh, and did you hurt yourself while leaping onto that Seahawks' bandwagon? Next time you should try to get on during a scheduled stop.

Steve Kelley Archive [Seattle Times]

(As always, we're taking nominations at tips@deadspin.com)