Back in February, Jay Mariotti was supposedly returning to ESPN in a storytelling capacity that never really made sense to anyone. Well, that has only consisted of one article in March about Kobe Bryant.
Never fear all 4 Jay Mariotti fans, because Jay Mariotti of all people is following in the footsteps of Peter King, Nate Silver, and Peter Gammons and launching his own website. He has teamed up with Genesis Communications to launch a web site and Monday-Friday radio show. Now you can have more Jay Mariotti than ever before.
In an e-mail to the Sherman Report, Mariotti writes:
“We’re launching a national multimedia site that we think is innovative because it wraps my three-hour national daily radio show around a site of my 24/7 content — columns, short opinion hits, videos, audience interaction via Twitter and email, a travelogue of sports and restaurants and who knows what.”
Three hours a day of Mariotti on the radio is four hours too many.
In what may be the most self-indulgent open letter in world history on his new site, Mariottishow.com, he explains his return in such a convuluted way I'm not quite sure what his point is, especially when he writes things such as:
I should note I’ve had meetings with ESPN and Fox about joining their operations, and candidly, I think they’re too corporate, while they have their own opinions of me. Point being, I can’t be The Man if I’m working for The Man and The Man has a close business arrangement with the subjects of my commentaries.
First of all, bribing the intern to sneak you into the building so you can hang out in the lobby does not constitue a meeting.
Second of all, reading that makes me want to gouge my own eyes out. It seems that even though Mariotti has been galavanting around Orange County doing next to nothing for the past three years, he still thinks he can waltz into ESPN and Fox, drop his ego on the table, and expect a seven-figure deal. But no, wait, he doesn't want to work for them! But he respects them! But he wants to be the best without….see I've lost myself!
And what's his desire for coming back? Mariotti claims he was "bored in paradise" and goes on to name drop Owen Wilson and Michael Keaton. What a likable guy.
Mariotti reasons he can't work for a big media company because eventually you will have to keep your opinions to yourself (funny, that has NEVER stopped him before). And journalism in sports is in such rough shape, Mariotti has decided to make a triumphal return nobody asked for to provide the "robust, serious commentary" we all don't need:
Since leaving ESPN (involuntairly) and watching AOL purge a promising sports site, I’ve had a terrific time enjoying life and catching my breath in Los Angeles, a much-needed getaway after a blurry 20-year period that included a daily ESPN TV show, big-city column writing, talk radio and extensive world travel. In my days away, sports has taken complex and unprecedented turns, and the need for robust, serious commentary and investigative reporting is stronger than ever.
I have a headache. He then goes on an effort to summarize the entire digital sports landscape which he claims is "teetering" and that ESPN and the New York Times are the only outlets that matter anymore although he spends much of the rest of the column portraying himself as a pioneer in the digital sports world:
Fox ended up downsizing its digital effort into a silly-season site, featuring such nonsense as a National Enquirer report that Lindsey Vonn is worried Tiger Woods will sleep with his ex-wife. It’s a bizarre approach as Fox Sports 1 launches in an attempt to compete with the ESPN empire. Wouldn’t you want a strong news site to support your fledgling network? Consider it another example of why independent sites can thrive today. Other than ESPN.com, which is pumped with enough resources and care to remain the gold standard, and the New York Times, which has monetized an elaborate site and features a deep roster of skilled writers, the digital sports landscape is teetering.
Only Jay Mariotti could write over 2700 words about Jay Mariotti being the savior of online sportswriting.
Who knows whether or not this site will succeed, but it's disconcerting that someone like Mariotti is given so many chances to try. Besides, what advertiser in its right mind will want to support this guy? Mariottishow.com sponsored by….Clorox? Because we'll all need to bathe in it after we go there. Either that or some liqour company should bribe us there by offering us a free handle after we visit the site.