Mariotti spent the better part of his first day divorced from the Sun-Times acting like a scorned lover. He wants you to believe there was a greater principle involved -- one that somehow loomed larger than his ego. He wants you to believe that newspapers -- specifically the two biggest ones in Chicago -- are dying. Once again, Mariotti was playing fast and loose with the facts . . .
. . . Not once in the last eight years can I recall seeing Mariotti in the Cubs' or Sox' clubhouse. With a press credential that allowed him access to every major sporting event and every major figure, he hasn't broken a single story in that time. He says Chicago is a weak market, the competitive edge gone. He has only himself to blame . . .
. . . Sun-Times editor Michael Cooke said it best.
''We wish Jay well and will miss him -- not personally, of course -- but in the sense of noticing he is no longer here, at least for a few days,'' Cooke said. ''A paper, like a sports franchise, is something that moves into the future. Stars come and stars go, but the Sun-Times sports section was, is and will continue to be the best in the city.''
Today, it's a little better.
Oh, snap! Of course, one wonders if Mariotti was as bad and as fungible a writer as that column makes him out to be -- and by most accounts he was -- why the Sun-Times gave him a big four year contract earlier this year. The answer is that the paper is just as shallow and calculating and spinning as Mariotti is. If the guy didn't have some audience, they wouldn't have paid him to write the kind of columns they now seem to be repudiating.
The lesson here is that for all of the lofty rhetoric about journalistic integrity, the newspaper business is just a business. Outlets like the Sun-Times will always use the hard work of good, but low-paid reporters and editors as their calling card while gladly using the bombastic and shallow work of columnists as a meal ticket.