By his own count, Jay Mariotti wrote more than 3,000 columns in his 17 years as a Chicago Sun-Times columnist. But now that that's all over, and being an ESPN jabbering noggin is his main gig now, how does a professional contrarian stay relevant in a world that's swiftly passing him by? By grabbing a suit jacket and Levis and posing against a brick wall for a magazine story, that's how. In the December issue of Michigan Avenue, Josh Schollmeyer does a Q&A profile of Mariotti, Schollmeyer charitably refraining from the same character assassination tactics that made his subject famous. Title? Mariotti Unplugged ("Do Freebird!"). Ha. As if Jay was ever "plugged" to begin with. So here's the interview. And as one might imagine, the Sun-Times is having a lot of fun with this. Over at their Sports Pros(e) blog, Kevin Allen has uncovered Schollmeyer's Facebook page. Take a look:

Allen and I agree that this is our favorite portion of the interview:

MA: Describe Jay Mariotti the coworker. JM: I'm the best teammate you'll ever have — if you're in this business for the right reasons. If you're a columnist who's lazy, boring, political, doesn't write the tough piece, you'll hate me. If you're a beat writer who courts the favor of the people you cover and knows more than you report, you'll hate me. If you're an editor who doesn't have vision and guts, you'll hate me. But if you care and have a soul, we'll get along great."

I don't know why this just occurred to me, but I suddenly realized that both Jay Mariotti and Dennis Miller are natives of Pittsburgh. Make of that what you will. Local Writer Pens Love Letter To Former Sun-Times Columnist Jay Mariotti [Chicago Sun-Times] Mariotti Unplugged [Michigan Avenue]