10 Questions with Jay Mariotti
Posted On 05.17, 2013
RCS: Much of your success in the news industry has been based around your focus not on the greatness that we discussed before, but on what you perceive as infamy, incompetence or impotence. No one has ever doubted your ability to turn a phrase, but they have questioned whether your criticisms sometimes crossed the line in describing people in sports as these things. Upon reflection of a very prolific career, do you have any regrets about any of the things you've written?
Mariotti: Nope. I cover a multi-billion-dollar industry that appeals to the heartfelt emotions of fans who, incidentally, are asked to pay astronomical prices for tickets. It's my responsibility to be hard on teams -- when necessary. But part of your perception involves spending 17 years in Chicago, where: (a) writers are expected to tell fans what they want to hear, not what they need to know; and (b) teams have a tendency to underachieve.
I'm still waiting for the Cubs to stop choking. I'm still waiting for the Bears to win more than one championship in 45 years. I'm still waiting for the White Sox to stop getting excited about one World Series title -- great, one in nine decades -- and go get another. I was privileged to cover the Jordan era, but even that was filled with controversy, dissension, Reinsdorf, Krause, Rodman. And look at what has happened there since Jordan retired -- nothing. At least the Blackhawks finally awakened -- what a wonderful story.
As a national columnist, I've been extolling the virtues of Tim Tebow and the Arizona Cardinals. I've praised Sam Bradford for staying in school. I'm about to write about the football mind of Bill Parcells. Yep, I was critical of Charles Barkley, but it was due. When you're not scrutinizing the same five teams every week, you'll find more variety from your friendly neighborhood sports columnist. And I still might be writing in Chicago very soon, but it won't be with the Sun-Times-like frenzy that I thought was required at the underdog, struggling paper.