You know what will be fun? When this whole stupid "mainstream media vs. blogs" debate ends in this sports, like it (mostly) has in the political world. (When Joe Klein and Andrew Sullivan have blogs, it's time to let the fight go, Mr. Reilly.) What we will likely need, in the first step toward conciliation, is immediate, clear common ground, a topic on which we can all agree. Here's our suggestion: Our mutual hatred for the work of Jay Mariotti.
You saw how popular he is around these parts, but they're coming after him even harder in his own newsroom. Mariotti has been flogging White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for years now — perhaps because Guillen called Mariotti a "fag" a couple of years ago. This is not helping the Chicago Sun-Times reporters do their jobs, and they're lashing out at Mariotti, in print and in person.
The situation heated up to the point that Editor-in-Chief Michael Cooke stepped in last week to symbolically separate Mariotti from fellow sports columnist Rick Telander, after Sun-Times editors refused to run columns Telander filed for the Wednesday and Friday papers.
The conflict started after Mariotti wrote last week of Guillen: "As you may have noticed through the years, I am the Blizzard's only critic in the Chicago media, mostly because my soft colleagues either fear Guillen's wrath, enjoy how he rips me, work for one of the Reinsdorf-controlled broadcast outlets or are afraid of getting on the chairman's bad side."
The next day, Sun-Times national baseball writer Chris De Luca led his column this way: "The same critics who avoid ever stepping into the White Sox's clubhouse are calling the Chicago media soft for not skewering manager Ozzie Guillen. They want Guillen fired yesterday. Sounds tough, but the rhetoric comes up a little, well, soft."
Telander felt called out in Mariotti's column and reportedly asked for an apology. (We're with you Rick, but seriously ... acting hurt by a Jay Mariotti column? Come on, man, you wrote Heaven Is A Playground. Rise above it!)
Mariotti had no comment, but we can probably guess what it would be: "All you're doing is making me more famous."