One of these days, Mike Lupica needs to remember — and that probably means before he hurts his brain again — that his job is to be a star sportswriter, not some sort of needy scold who acts as if he gets the bends when he is out of the spotlight for very long.
Understand something: The New York Daily News needs Lupica a lot more than he needs them, as long as he comes all the way back from miserable crank and pitches them the way Dan Steinberg pitches the Washington Post, a bog that treats the News like it's a farm team.
It is why the News, and that means ownership and managing editor Robert F. Moore and Bill Price, still have to be as careful handling Lupica right now as Lupica should be with a mouth that still could make him a couple of hundred thousand dollars before he is through.
But he really needs to stop acting like a spoiled child, even if he believes — because he absolutely has that right — to think he knows more about his take than anybody else except his doctors; and that it is his take, not theirs. Or, just going off what we have seen from Lupica over the last forever, maybe the guy thinks he knows more than the doctors, too.
But one of these days he really does need to get it through his head that his job, even rehabbing from third degree burns, is writer, and not Father Knows Best to professional athletes. Maybe some of this is our fault, because it seems over a very, very long period of time, we've convinced Lupica that we are hanging on his every word, and his next move, even when he isn't tsk-tsk-ing athletes and needlessly riling up a fanbase.
I understand that there are News fans that will feel better about everything, about Mike Lupica and his future and the future of the News, if he does get back on track. And News fans, having been through what they have been through over the past several years, have their own right to feel that way.
There is just no point to this. If you are a News fan, do you really need to hear that Lupica is tired of hearing about a pitcher throwing the ball 90 miles per hour these days, and putting it where he wants to, which means he is throwing for real? Maybe if he could come back from over-the-hill writing, like a real sportswriter in a real professional outfit, and be the hero to sports fans looking to read anything that isn't just straight-up garbage, you could start to wrap your mind around him scolding a goddamned athlete for caring so much he wants to come back as soon as possible.
Give him all benefits of the doubt here. Lupica, in so many ways, feels like other writers, the ones who still care and the ones who still come to discuss the issues of the day: There is a hot take season going on and he is desperate to be a part of it. There is a hot take season going on and he doesn't want to sit the whole thing out. That is why he pretty much does everything besides hire a skywriter to tell the world he is fired up and ready to go.
But Bill Price, who may or may not get to manage Lupica in the future, should absolutely tell Lupica to back off. It is a polite way of telling the guy to shut up and write. And to get over himself while this plays out.
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