Thursday, July 13, 2006

Benedict Wallace

Mitch Albom's column today is a perfect example of why he's a horrible sports writer. If this column is to be believed, either Mitch is personally hurt and offended by Ben Wallace's decision to sign with da Bulls for a truckload of cash or he's extremely naive. The whole sportswriter feigning outrage over someone signing a contact with an inferior team just because they offered him more money is tiring, to say the least. I'd like to see every writer who is guilty of this transgression detail all of the times that he personally has turned down a new job that paid 40% more than his current position.

All Mitch does in this column is try to connect with the Pistons fans who feel slighted by Wallace's departure. It's little more than a piece of propaganda designed to stoke their outrage and make them feel like Mitch shares their pain; presumably as a way to feed dollars into the Mitch Albom media empire. I love how Mitch states that he should be used to these kind of moves by now, but he really thought Wallace was different. Blaming himself for being so blind in the final sentence is the coup de grace. I hope that Morrie Schwarzenegger returns from his long hiatus and weighs in on Mitch's latest piece of work.

5 comments:

gregorykwu said...

I think Mitch Albom's days as a sports journalist with fresh ideas expired when we were in middle school. Bonus points, though, for invoking Morrie's name, as the Onion has recently reposted this great headline from 2004.

dhodge said...

My guess is Mitch has already written at least one "a hero ain't nothing but a sandwich" column in response to other players leaving Detroit for mo' money, but none immediately come to mind.

MDS said...

Certainly, that was a stupid column and one that's not worthy of any newspaper's sports page. Anyone naive enough to think playing for a basketball team is something beyond a job for a basketball player doesn't have what it takes to be a sports journalist, in my opinion.

Having said that, I should say one thing, in fairness, about Albom: He has turned down a hell of a lot of money to stay where he is and do what he wants. I'm not privy to Albom's contract negotiations, but I know enough about the journalism business to know that at some point in his career he was certainly offered more money to leave the Free Press. And I know enough about the publishing business to know that the day he says he's going to write another book about Morrie ("My College Memories of Morrie" or some such shit) is the day every major publisher will be calling his agent with a seven-figure offer. So he probably could detail all of the times that he personally has turned down a new job that paid 40% more than his current position. However, doing that wouldn't make the column any less stupid.

dhodge said...

Fair enough, MDS. I think part of the reason Mitch hasn't left Detroit is because it gives him the opportunity to talk down to his audience. One of his favorite pasttimes seems to be explaining to his readers how they do things out in NYC or LA, since he used to live in the big city or at least visited it once on a high school field trip.

MDS said...

That's a really good point. When Mitch decided to turn down the big-money offers to move elsewhere, I don't think it was out of any sense of loyalty. I think he gets a sort of smug self-satisfaction from being the big fish in the small pond.