For years, I never understood how Mariotti kept a job in Chicago. He bashed the teams, the fans and mailed in articles for the better part of the last two years. He was really the epitome of everything negative in mainstream media, but worry not Chicago, you don’t have to deal with Jay the Joke any longer.

Mariotti, whose public battles with fellow staffers, team owners, and rival columnists are legendary, didn’t disclose any specific plans except to say he will continue doing his regular stint on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.”

He said that he “is talking with a lot of Web sites” and added that the future of his business “sadly is not in newspapers.” Mariotti said that he sent a resignation letter to Cyrus Freidheim, Sun-Times Media Group Chief Executive and Sun-Times Publisher. When asked via email by the Tribune whether Mariotti had resigned, Sun-Times Editor Michael Cooke responded, “You’re kidding?”

“They accepted it,” Mariotti said of his resignation. “It was my call entirely.”

“I’m a competitor and I get the sense this marketplace doesn’t compete,” he said. “Everyone is hanging on for dear life at both papers. I think probably the days of high stakes competition in Chicago are over.

“To see what’s happened in this business…I don’t want to go down with it.”

It’s probably a relief for most Chicagoans to see him go, but dammit if the guy isn’t dead on in his reason for leaving. All this ultimately means is that he’ll be on ATH more and coming to a podcast/webisode near you in the not so distant future. Chicago wins but America loses.

Now if we could only get him to jump off that ledge in the photo above (I kid, I kid).

Sun-Times columinst Jay Mariotti resigns (Chicago Tribune)