Friday, April 22, 2005

The Brand New "Jay Mariotti Sucks" Dept.

This is the first installment of the "Jay Mariotti Sucks” department. It's new. I've been planning it for awhile, but never actually started it. I thought I could be bigger than that.

But I can't.

And Mariotti really does suck a fat one. Smug prick, he is.

Read this garbage from today's steaming pile of crap:

And there is the issue of Dusty Baker, who is managing like a guy counting the days until his contract expires. Considering that day isn't coming until October 2006, he might want to stop pouting about Steve Stone's criticisms and realize that the other members of ESPN's three-man crew were harsher Thursday. The major aggressor was former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips, who openly joined play-by-play man Gary Thorne in questioning some of Baker's decisions. And why not when the struggling Mike Remlinger, who has been hit hard by Larry Walker during his career, was summoned to replace the effective Michael Wuertz and face Walker in the eighth inning? Like Stone, Phillips criticized before the fact. When Remlinger allowed a home run to his nemesis, the Rev. Johnnie B. couldn't say he was being picked on just by The Evil Stoney. Seems the word is out: Baker is lost.

Baker is lost? Lost? Really? Jesus, what has Mariotti been watching? Is he just clueless, or does the Sun-Times pay him to be controversial (i.e., moronic)? Perhaps he has been too busy on "Pardon the Interruption" making smug gestures every time someone disagrees with him. Or maybe he has been too busy starting radio shows that get cancelled because hardly anyone gives a shit about what he has to say.

Or maybe Mariotti is really as dumb as he seems.

It seems to me Baker took over a pathetic franchise and turned it into an instant contender. It seems to me Baker took over a pathetic franchise and has led it to the point where the playoffs are the expectation, and not a pipe dream.

Baker had the Cubs within one game - and the infamous Steve Bartman fiasco - of the World Series in 2003. Last year, the Cubs played long stretches without Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, Aramis Ramirez, Joe Borowski, Mike Remlinger and, almost literally, everyone on the roster. Wood and Prior, the so-called franchise saviors, combined for exactly 14 wins.

Yet somehow the Cubs still - STILL! - led the wildcard race in the last week of the season before LaTroy Hawkins began blowing saves like he enjoyed it.

It seems to me that was an impressive job done by Baker. It seems to me it may have been more impressive than the job Baker did in 2003. It seems to me Baker deserved a pat on the back for a job well done. It seems to me Baker will be sorely missed when he's gone and the Cubs go back to being 70-92.

Yet Mariotti is smug enough to describe Baker as being lost?

Baker has won the National League Manager of the Year award twice. In twelve seasons as a manager, he's had a losing record how many times? I don’t know, but it’s not a lot. He's won 90 games five times.

Yet Mariotti is smug enough to describe Baker as being lost?

Fuck Mariotti.

Baker is the best thing that has happened to Cubs in a long time, and you better believe it. Yet Mariotti, being the pompous blowhard that he is, will question Baker, and badger Baker, and ridicule Baker, until the point where Baker says, "Fuck it, I'm out."

And I wouldn't blame Baker. Not for a second.

Then, of course, Mariotti would rip on the new manager and rip on the Cubs for firing Baker. Why? Because Mariotti is an idiot and he sucks. And hardly anyone in this town likes him, which is an amazing display of sense and good taste on the part of Chicagoans, if you ask me.

Steve Stone is no better. He once wanted the Cubs general manager job - wanted it bad by all indications - and is probably bitter that he never got it. He probably envisioned himself as the guy who could "save" the Cubs. I'm guessing it eats at Stone that Baker waltzed into town and transformed the Cubs into contenders instantly.

So now he, too, rips on Baker and his team.

Man, all those years Stone broadcast games alongside Harry Carey watching Cubs teams that couldn't put one foot ahead of the other. All those years Stone watched laughingstocks day in and day out. You would think that if anyone would enjoy the last two seasons in which the Cubs were a winning team with legitimate hope, it might have been Stone.

But no.

Instead Stone antagonized. He ridiculed. He questioned. He never shut up and let Baker do his job - a job that Baker has done quite well.

And when the Cubs called him on it, Stone never relented. He said Wood should "sell cars." He probably enjoyed the firestorm of criticism Baker received for fighting with the media.

Admittedly, Baker's ongoing feud with the media is a sad debacle. No doubt. The fact that it has continued this year is the saddest part of all. The Cubs beat writers ask why Jerry Hairston, Jr. isn't playing, and Baker accuses the beat writers of starting fights.

That's ridiculous.

Um, Dusty, pssst, when one of the Cubs' all-time greats (Sosa) is traded for a guy like Hairston, people will wonder why Hairston isn't playing. It's only natural. And the beat writers are only doing their jobs. Leave them alone. They're not out to get you or your players. It's their livelihood to dissect every aspect of the Cubs.

Besides, the more you question the worse it will get. Let it go.

When the ESPN analysts questioned Baker yesterday, Mariotti probably popped a two-inch boner in glee. (Nah, two inches sounds too big.) Stone, too. They both probably felt, oh, so vindicated. They probably put on big smiles and did joyous jigs because someone else was jumping on Baker's back. Oh, the fun that must have been had!

Fuck those ESPN announcers. Did they hear that ridiculing Baker is the trendy thing to do and decide to jump on the bandwagon?

And I don't want to hear about how the move ultimately did backfire. So what? It happens. It's not like the Cubs' shaky bullpen is overflowing with guys who would come in and get the job done in that situation. Baker took a risk and it didn't work out.

Mariotti and Stone should stop ridiculing Baker's every move and instead look at the track record of one of baseball's most successful managers. How many games do you think last season's injury-decimated Cubs would have won without Baker at the helm? I'm guessing about 70. Baker has made mistakes, and he'll make more.

He'll also win a whole lot of games.

Yet Mariotti is smug enough to describe Baker as being lost?

Mariotti writes today that the Cubs' season is essentially over. And maybe he's right. But I wouldn't bet against them. I'm guessing Baker will keep the Cubs in contention all season no matter how many injuries or shaky Wood starts or bullpen collapses try to ruin it.

Man, I hope the Cubs make the playoffs - and I'm a White Sox diehard.

It would be great to see Mariotti shut the fuck up. He sucks. He's a smug prick.

And you can fully expect this new Unknown Column department to continue.


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