Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks: Jay Mariotti

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"Never dull and always armed with an opinion ..." Beware those eight little words. When you read them, it can only mean: A) Ann Coulter has escaped her zoo enclosure and has written another book; or B) Your paper is promoting its circus freak show sports columnist. Jay Mariotti is one of these. Here are the vital statistics:

Name: Jay Mariotti.
Born: Pittsburgh, Penn.
Columnist: Chicago Sun-Times.
Nicknames: Windy City Windbag; Meatball Mariotti; The Human Wind Sock.
Best Description on The Road From Bristol Message Board: "Hate-spewing gerbil."
Most Often Seen/Heard On: "Around The Horn," ESPN Radio.
Most Resembles: Liza Minnelli.
Grooming trivia: Reportedly dyes his hair. Eyebrows may be waxed.

It is said of Jay Mariotti that, if he ever became trapped in quicksand, not only would Lassie not run for help, but she'd whack him a few times with a severed branch to make sure he sunk properly. Why are "writers" like Mariotti famous? Well, as the lines between journalism and entertainment become more and more blurred, a landscape has been created in which dolts like Mariotti can thrive. Substituting bombast for insight and shock value for talent, they coast on their celebrity. If you can't be good, at least be loud enough to be noticed.

Of course it helps to have national TV exposure. Oh, and an arch enemy. Mariotti's is White Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, now a White Sox announcer. In an infamous incident in the White Sox press box in 2004, the two exchanged insults before Mariotti threatened to punch Harrelson — something which never materialized. In fact, when Harrelson later called Mariotti's radio show to confront him, Mariotti wouldn't put him on the air, ducking out again. He claimed he was being "mature." That's our Jay — a gentleman through and through.

Jay Mariotti Archive [Chicago Sun-Times]
Harrelson-Mariotti Name Calling Heats Up [Chicago Tribune]
Jay Mariotti and Liza Minnelli [Separated At Birth?]
The Road From Bristol [Braves Beat]