Where's Jay Mariotti?/ Lemond....Armstrong....Floyd?
by Scott Long
Does anyone know what happened to Jay Mariotti? If you haven't been following, American's biggest sports writing Jack Ass, has been missing from the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times since June 26. Since this was not much after the whole Ozzie Guillen incident, it is very curious to understand why he has decided to take an 8-week vacation. I'm guessing if you asked Ozzie, he would tell you that the last he heard Jay was taking a holiday in Key West.
Has anyone ever heard of a columnist even taking half that much time off, let alone right in the middle of the baseball season in a city that has 2 of the best teams for a writer to cover? Even though he is in the midst of his vacation, J-Otti has no problem belching out his foul exhaust on ESPN's Around the Horn. It's pretty amazing for someone to have a homosexual slur thrown at them and not be able to get victim status, but J-Otti is a big enough douche that few came to his defense.
Considering that Roger Ebert started as a sports writer, isn't time for the Sun-Times to have their best scribe move into J-Otti's digs? If he doesn't want to do it, why not see if his aisle seat partner, Richard Roeper wants the gig. That is if Roeper can spare the time, between writing his general interest column at the paper and oiling up more chicks than Colonel Sanders. At least Roeper has spent time at the ballpark the White Sox play in.
So America continues to dominate the Tour de France. First there was Greg LeMond, a name born to be a championship cyclist in France. Following him on the winner's stand was the most All-American athlete name you could come up with, Lance Armstrong. Now a third champ comes from our great land. Floyd Landis? Why do I think it will be a little harder to market a guy name Floyd?
Landis does have a great backstory, though, as he was raised in a Mennonite community in Pennsylvania. Being a logical sort, Landis doesn't follow the church's beliefs. If you not down with the Mennonites, they are Amish-lite. Is it long before the Farelly Brothers make a movie based on Landis' life entitled "Kingcycle." As long as Bill Murray plays his nemesis, I'm there on opening night.
One interesting side story in regards to these 3 men is the venomous relationship of LeMond and Armstrong. Greg says bracelet boy Lance is a drug cheater, while Armstrong offers back that it's bull and LeMond is jealous. In between is the new champ, Floyd, who LeMond lauds as a great champion who won without doping, whole Armstrong wants to sign him for his Discovery race team. It would seem like these LeMond and Armstrong are wearing too tight lycra, as they are behaving like a couple of men who are being pulled by their short hairs.
The anti-Mariotti, my man Dan Le Batard, has a great column in the latest issue of ESPN the magazine on the glare of being an athlete. In it he discusses the similarities of Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds.
Damning books have been written about both Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds. Both have a mountain of accusers beyond that. You can argue about the differences in their situations---the number of times Armstrong has been tested, the leaked federal grand jury testimony on Bonds, but here's the truth. We believe Armstrong because we want to, and we don't believe Bonds because we don't want to. That's because one is viewed as likeable and the other is isn't, and those opinions exist despite the fact that we don't know either one of them at all.
Wanted to thank all my new friends in the Cincinnati area who caught me at the Newport Funny Bone last weekend. Great club and a very underrated city. One of the highlights of the week was appearing with Lance McAlister on AM 1530 Homer. One of the great parts about doing sports radio in Cincinnati is that you can talk baseball anytime of the year. I can name only about 5 cities that you can say the same for.
Finally, it was great to read Will's excellent post on so many different topics. If you are not aware, Will is a busy guy between writing for Baseball Prospectus, being a guest on way too many sports radio stations, and other ventures (I write mysteriously), so during the baseball season, he doesn't appear here as often. I mention this just so you don't think he was on one of those Mariotti "vacation" plans this summer. Unfortunately, our benefits package here at the Toaster doesn't give us paid leave. I need to speak to our union boss, Alex Belth about that. (I nominate Alex, as he wrote a great book about Curt Flood, so I figure he's got to be our leader in dealing with the higher-ups.)