Unlike Jay Mariotti himself, I was actually in the White Sox dugout the night that Ozzie Guillen predicted he'd still be in Chicago long after the now ex-Sun Times columnist. Knowing that being combustible is a little more dangerous when you're a baseball manager than a nuclear-fallout-surviving cockroach, we all just nodded, smiled and said, "Surrrrre, Ozzie."
But, hey, once again, Guillen has proved everybody wrong, still standing as Sox manager (in first place, no less) while Mariotti goes to find his future on the Internet, even though he wouldn't allow comments on his columns when they were on suntimes.com. I'm sure that'll work out great.
Anyway, as expected, Ozzie had no shortage of comments in this for-the-ages column by Chris De Luca, who lives the dream of anybody who's wanted to throw a co-worker out the door headfirst.
"When people wish the worst on people, you have to be careful because the baseball gods are going to get you. He was not asking just for my job, he was asking for thousands and thousands of people's jobs over the years. I'm not going to say I will get the last laugh because I will get fired from this job. But the day I get fired is the day I lose interest in this game."
''Am I enjoying this? Yes, because he tried to make my life miserable. He did everything in his power to make my life go the wrong way, but he didn't make me miserable because I don't believe him. Maybe if somebody else wrote that stuff about me, then I would put attention on it. And that's what he wanted. He wanted attention. He has to thank me because I gave him a lot of [stuff] to work with. I know I helped him the last four years to make his money, and, obviously, he did not help me at all to make my money.''
A couple of readers and friends have asked me what I think of Mariotti's resignation from the Sun-Times. Personally, I have always admired his ability to write prodigiously, to synthesize a lot of information in a short amount of time before deadline and his skill in getting people to talk. None of those are easy tasks.
What I didn't like — and what I certainly will not miss — is his constant gloom and doom, as well as his personal vendetta against the White Sox, which destroyed his credibility whenever he wrote about either side of town. Even though many of his criticisms against Chicago players, coaches and teams were deserved, it was all just too tiresome and it got to the point where that type of negativity just made him unreadable.
While I understand the nature of objectivity and its requirement to not be a fanboy toward everything "your" team does, Mariotti never seemed to understand the reason many of us watch sports is to get away from the real world issues actually worth complaining about and fighting against. Sometimes we just wanted to enjoy the games or seasons we were watching, a concept that Mariotti was apparently unable to grasp.
For another take on Mr. Mariotti, check out Mike Nadel's Baldest Blog.