Sunday, June 13, 2010

Time to Rip Off Simmons (even moreso than I normally do)

[Note added after the post was finished: it's pretty long, and there's a link to a charity thing at the end. So if you're one of those people with a short attention span, just go all the way down and check that out.]

In what way will I rip Simmons off this time? I mean, everything I do rips him off in some way, because I'm super jealous of him, a fact which one or two Simmons fanboys are usually quick to remind me of in the comments every time I do a post on him. But THIS TIME I'll rip him off by doing a post that more or less amounts to a mailbag. Before we get there, though, let me provide you with some background/tell all four of you readers something I've wanted to tell you for a long time. In addition to being something I want to get off my chest, it will also give context to the post.

So the very, very brief history of FireJay is as follows: pnoles, Chris W, dan-bob, me, and maybe some other people got together via email and decided to form the blog in May 2007. We later discovered that there was already some blog out there called "Fire John Morgan" which we were allegedly copying, both in terms of format and content. Who knew? I had certainly never heard of them until some mean ol' commenters over here let me know of their existence. Anyways, that's how it all got started.

From then up until August 2008 (when I finally fulfilled my dream of one day studying law), FireJay ate up a lot of my time. I really got into it- tried to post every weekday, or at least three or four out of every five; checked the Google Analytics every single day; tried to get us linked on Deadspin and The Big Lead, even though The Big Lead is a complete and total travesty; frequently checked the email account and responded to anyone who wrote in; engaged in email back-and-forths with real sportswriters like Jeff Pearlman and Jerry Crasnick- yeah, I mean, I was into it. I guess you could say that I really wanted to be part of the BLOGOSPHERE.

In any case, like I said, in August 2008, shit changed. I got a lot busier than I had been, for one thing. I also was maybe a little burnt out on blogging- turns out that at some point, as most members of the BLOGSITES will attest to, it starts feeling less like fun and more like a chore. I know the other writers listed over there on the left sidebar will attest to that. (That's not a passive-aggressive dig at them- they already know I hate them for posting so infrequently.) So yeah, that's kind of how it's worked for the past 22 months or so. Posting has obviously tapered off.

But don't worry, this story doesn't end with "So that's why I'm telling you that we're shutting the blog down." No, not at all. We're going to continue at our current pace pretty much as long as we feel like; a couple shitty posts a week, many of them short. We'll keep half-assedly writing them as long as you keep half-assedly commenting on them! I mean, just because I'm not nearly as excited about doing this as I used to be doesn't mean I should stop doing it entirely. There's still shitty sportswriting out there and I'll be damned if I don't occasionally take a few cheap pot shots at it.

So if the point of the story wasn't to announce that we're shutting down the blog, what was it? Well, of course, part of it was to tell the few of you who are devoted readers and check the blog every day to please keep doing so. We're not going away entirely anytime soon. But the other part (which I really could've just come out and said, rather than taking this roundabout route) is to tell you that until tonight, I had not checked the official, Google sponsored FireJay email account since last August. I shit you not. Kind of crazy. I can't believe they didn't close it, really. But they didn't- and upon logging in, I was met with 5,000 pieces of spam (most of them announcing that we've won a lottery- a disappointingly small number of the "GROW UR DICK 9 INCHES IN A WEEK" variety) and about ten relevant emails.

So tonight, because I am both lazy and super jealous of Bill Simmons, I will write what basically amounts to a mailbag column. I bet maybe two of the people who wrote these emails end up seeing these responses, but that's OK. The rest of you can read anyways. And hey, maybe as a result you'll be inspired to write your own email to; at this rate, I'll get back to you around April 2011. And awayyyyy we go.

On August 13, some dude who wrote a blog called Fire Rick Reilly (DOESN'T HE KNOW HE'S RIPPING OFF FIRE JAY MARIOTTI?????) checked in to thank us for adding him to our blogroll, which I had promised to do about a month earlier.

Hey Larry,

Thanks for your note. I appreciate you looking at the site and putting me up on your blogroll. Keep writing.


I say "wrote" rather than using the present tense because Fire Rick Reilly hasn't been updated since March 31. And I didn't follow through on that promise then. BUT I WILL NOW. Enjoy, Tapps. Maybe this will inspire you to get back into blogging so you can quit again in a few more months.

On October 6, Dan emailed us about Gene W. You know which Gene W he's referring to.

Please write about his terrible article about the game last night. He says he was raised on the Packers (long before Favre was around) yet he's happier to see Favre win than his favorite team tie up the division and get a key divisional win, not to mention sucking him off for every throw he made when he had all the time he wanted. And despite 2 turnovers, Rodgers still kept them in the game even though his line quit on him and the game changed for good after that 4th down drop. Swap quarterbacks and the Vikings probably win by more.

Apt analysis. Although let's not dump on Aaron Rodgers too much- not only is he a good QB, he also shat all over Tony Kornheiser last week. And anyone who does that is cool in my book.

He is a terrible writer, only using hyperbole and making stars like Favre and Tiger seem invincible, then disappearing or making excuses when they fail (like the Jets season and saying Tiger was absolutely winning the British, then after he missed the cut writing about how it's no big deal, Tiger's reign isn't over). Fuck him


Welcome to sports journalism, Dan. I assume that in the last 8 months you've become more and more familiar with the "make a bold/outrageous claim- pretend you never made the claim when you end up being totally wrong" phenomenon. You know, that's the one redeeming part about Around the Horn- all those morons call each other out for their dumb predictions since they see each other every day. And that's the last nice thing I'll ever say about Around the Horn. I also want to start ending emails with "Fuck [person place or thing] Larry" with no punctuation. I dig it.

From November 10 (email titled "GREGG EASTERBROOK!!!")-

Since I know you guys will comment on gregg easterbrook; column at some point.

I did.

You could comment on how he doesn't understand ineligible receiver rules.

Unfortunately, I didn't. I mostly bitched about the Crabtree Curse. BEWAAAAAAAAAARE

A couple weeks ago and in this week's coumn he wrote about a screen pass that goes for a touchdown that should be called back because of lineman downfield. But if its a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage it doesn't matter. I just find it funny he's brought this up multiple times. It might even be a weekly thing, I can't stand reading his whole column every week.

Have fun with this weeks TMQ,

"It might even be a weekly thing, I can't stand reading his whole column every week" pretty much sums up my thoughts on almost everything Easterbrook writes. Science fiction movies are unrealistic. The team in Friday Night Lights DOES NOT PLAY AN ACCURATE TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE. There are football gods. Teams that kick field goals when they're down 35-0 with 3 minutes left are doing it because they are desperate to avoid shutouts. Etc. Although I've gotta say I do enjoy when he calls out public officials for spending money on ridiculous bullshit. That 1% of his writing is cool with me.

Fast forward all the way to December 30. James wants us to know that:

Jay has no facts but equates Leach to the torture in Midnight Express.
This joke of a sports expert has no credibility. He works with Craig James, he knows Craig James, thus James' kid can do no wrong.

If I never hear another word about Craig James's silver spoon fed crybaby spoiled child, I won't shed any tears over it. Obviously Mike Leach is insane, and probably did some shit he shouldn't have, but yeah- Craig James can kiss my dick for the way he handled that whole thing. And while I never read Mariotti's take on it, I'm sure that take was a complete and total fucking bullshit.

Maybe trying for some bromance with his colleagues. Ozzie Guillen had it right.

The Blizzard did indeed have it right.

On January 17, a dude without a name sent a link to an amazing article re: why stat nerds know nothing about who belongs in baseball's HOF and who doesn't. I'm not going to post the link because I want to do a full writeup of the article. It's preposterously funny.

The non-spam emails were coming fast and furious at this point. Must be the cold weather keeping people inside, right? Except that blog nerds are ALWAYS inside, which is why they don't know how to talk to girls or what it feels like to go from first to third on a single to right. So I guess that's not an explanation. Anyways, on February 9, Chris (a different Chris than before) wrote in:


As a fan of your site, I created my own version of the types of things you're well known for.

I hope you like it.

He attached a Fire____ type breakdown of an article about a Giants Eagles game from 2008. I'm very flattered. It's getting a little dusty in here, honestly. Good to know that as the non-asshole version of Ken Tremendous once inspired me (like... pre-2007 Ken Tremendous), I inspired someone else. The guy has a blog, but it's not a Fire____ blog- just a blog about shit he likes. I think it's kind of cool. He hasn't updated since late April though, so like FireRickReilly, this one's time may have already passed. Check it out anyways. (He didn't put his article breakdown on the blog- just emailed the text.)

Just a few days later, on February 14, Trevor asked us to:

Please please please please please please please do a takedown of Jemele Hill's latest column.

We didn't, unfortunately, but be sure to check out the column anyways. Guess what? It's fucking terrible. And somewhat topical, even four months later.

March brings a few things to the sports world: spring training, March Madness, and NFL draft hype. OK, spring training actually starts in February and NFL draft hype starts in September. But whatever. On March 17, annoyed by all the bullshitting and ridiculous prognosticating about a certain Jesus-loving now-Denver Bronco, Justin sent us a long and thoughtful email. He started by kissing our asses. Sort of.

Dear kind folks at FireJayMariotti,

I enjoy your site immensely, even if there has been a bit of downtime on it lately.

Right. Like I said though, don't give up on us.

Just as well, I haven't been as frequent a visitor as I used to be due to an uptick in things going on, so I completely and implicitly understand, and I'd apologize, I guess, but I'm not sure to what.

Right. Not sure where that sentence was going, but no apology necessary. So then Justin did kind of a cool "guess who said this?" setup and copied and pasted a couple pieces of analysis (analysis in italics) uttered/dictated by ESPN's talking heads without telling us who wrote them until later. The first:

So what I would do with Tebow is take him in the third or fourth round. I would commit to continuing to develop him as a passer and change his mechanics. But I would promise him and the team that he would not step foot on a football field on Sundays for two years. If that can take place in today's NFL, I believe Tebow one day down the road can be a successful quarterback.

And then the second:

I look at Tim Tebow as a football player,

I knew exactly who this commentator was once I read this. And I fucking despise him and his Legoman hair.

and that's one of the highest compliments I could pay a guy. Given the right circumstances and given the time to learn his craft at the NFL level, I don't think there's any question that he could be a successful QB. But here's his value in the first couple of years when he's probably not playing a lot -- he's going to be running a scout team situation and he's going to be making that defense better. They're going to ask him to run the Wildcat quarterback and he's going to be flying around the football field

What kind of field?

giving the defense an unbelievable look. An average Joe fan never sees that.

OK Justin. Take it away.

The first is Trent Dilfer.


The second is Mark Schlereth.


Yes, Tebow needs to be taught things and is a project, but the methodology they provide to make him into a top-flight player is nothing short of a combination between uneducated guessing and nonsensical ramblings.

I am simply astounded these two are continually allowed to appear on television, describing a game they once played (surprisingly) well with the logic and vocabulary of a six-year-old gushing over a toy.

Pretty much par for the course for most draft prospects, but yeah, ol' TT#15 seemed to get the "toy treatment" just a little bit more than the average dude.

Plus, Dilfer looks inbred.


I doubt this will make it on the site as an entry you tear asunder, but I still felt this travesty should be duly noted. Thank you.

Noted. Well, what Dilfer and Schlereth said eventually made it onto the site. And your analysis made it too! All because I'm too lazy to write my own analysis. Ah, user generated content: the wave of the future. (Did I use that term correctly? I'm really more of a first-wave blogger; all this newer internetty stuff is beyond me.

A guy who will remain nameless, just because I don't want this to somehow pop up and get him in trouble at his job (as a newspaper writer, no less! You know, someone who's part of the OLD media!), wrote in on March 22 to give us a big electronic high five.

I am the editor of a small paper and I'm with you --- I am even emailing you from my work account, cause this guy Mariotti is so shabby (in my opinion). I'm embarrassed by him, I hate his work so very much.

[Name withheld]
Managing Editor
[Vague Midwestern Sounding Location] Times

Ah, if only you and him could switch occupations, kind sir. Interesting use of "shabby"- I think of that as a British-sounding adjective, but it works well for Mariotti too.

March 29 brought a great email- probably my favorite in this bunch. It's from Rick, and he only has one thing to say:

The guy is a joke, fire away.

That's it. That's the whole email. Sounds like you need to start Rick. And you know, you remind me- PNoles really shouldered the Mariotti stuff, and obviously, he doesn't write here anymore. I should make a conscious effort to take on the JayBird more often. PNoles grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I did not, so my personal distaste for him doesn't run as deep. But yeah, I should get on that.

The account was quiet for a couple months, until May 21, when another Chris offered some analysis:

In an article i caught today:

"The Suns have a problem down low named Amar'e Stoudemire, who is playing like someone who will be fleeing the desert in a few weeks and signing elsewhere. Unwisely, he ridiculed Lamar Odom's 19-point, 19-rebound breakout in Game 1, saying, "I'm not giving him no hype right now...

Can't disagree with Jay's general premise. Stoudemire is a fucking dingbat.

...Stoudemire didn't help the situation by refusing to back down from his comments. "Nah, I'm gonna always be myself,'' he said at a shootaround. "That's just my character. It's just what I was feeling. It's not happening any more. We're going to contain him.'' This garbage came only days after his 54-year-old mother, Carrie Mae Stoudemire, was arrested in Scottsdale for not having an ignition interlock device on her Lincoln Navigator. The device doesn't allow a car to start unless a driver breathes into it and records a legal blood-alcohol level. Stoudemire's mother, who has been arrested several times for charges including drug possession and prostitution, received a three-year prison sentence in 2006 after she was convicted of aggravated DUI following an accident.

Meanwhile, Odom was rolling his eyes about the lucky crack."

Hooooooooo boy. Hoo boy. That Jay- oozing class, as usual. Back to Chris's take on the whole dealio.

Mariotti jabs Amar'e's mother and then just moves on. If he wants to write an article about Amar'e's sad, sad family (2 brothers in jail, a deadbeat mom and non-existent father) then he can write it. Maybe it would bring context to the man's foibles. But I'm trying to figure out what bringing up her arrest had to do with Amar'e's comments. Nice journalism, ass.

So you're saying bringing up something tragic about someone's personal life DOESN'T add context to a discussion of game-related trash talk?

Please let me know if you run this.

I'm running it, because what you said rules. If I wasn't supposed to without clearing it with you, and you want me to take it down, DON'T send us an email about it. I won't get that email. Instead, leave something in the comments. And hey, although I've identified you as Chris, you're the third one I've mentioned in this post. So you kind of blend in.

Finally, just a couple weeks ago on May 29, commenter Fred Trigger wrote in about a worthy cause:

Hey guys, Fred Trigger, as I'm sure you dont recognize the name. Would you mind giving a quick link to friends of the blog Respect Jeters Gangster? They are trying to raise money for the Childrens Health Fund and are trying to get it as much exposure as possible. Here is the link.


No, thank YOU. Everyone click on that. And email it to everyone you've ever met. They're doing a raffle as part of supporting their cause, and the winner gets tickets to a Yankees/Red Sox game in August. Even if you fucking hate both those teams, which I kind of do, you have to admit that seeing a game between them in person would be kind of cool. And even if you don't want to enter the raffle, be a peach and help spread some awareness.

Well, I think this was sufficiently long. A real post, later this week? Maybe. Joe Morgan hasn't seen me post, so he can't say for sure whether I'll post again anytime soon. I might, or I might not. But anything could happen. It's a long season.


Eddie V said...

I have been an avid (yes....) reader of this site ever since a good buddy of mine who is one of the (once-)writers revealed the blog to me. Yeah, the posts have been declining, but they still come frequently enough that when I get my nose out of the medical textbooks or after seeing patients, I can be temporarily at peace knowing that at least the douchebags of sports journalism/broadcasting are being brought to their much-deserved shame. Ok. Maybe not to shame, but you know what I mean.

I happened to catch Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN (only because 2 non-Yanks, non-Red Sox, non-Phillies, non-Mets teams were playing), and hearing Joe Morgan spew constant unintelligent bullshit reminded me of the good 'ole days when someone on here would react impulsively to something said on ESPN. However, I do take solace in the fact that I have been influenced enough by this blog to hate everything anyone says on there (especially "He's a good FOOTBALL player"...ahhh Good ol' Mark).

So keep on trucking; post when you can; and know that there are more than just the 4 readers who post that read your venerable blog.

And for all you Tosh.O fans....Where's the puke?

John Foley said...

A football player who PLAYS FOOTBALL? Man, that's some compliment.

Adam said...

Joe was in classic form last night.

Jon Miller was talking about the Hawks winning the Stanley Cup and Joe pipes in:

"I got to touch the Stanley Cup once ....blah.. Patrick Roy...blah blah".

Elliot said...

I was hoping for more dick lengthening advice.

This blog rules.

Chris W said...

Can you believe how many times I, Chris, emailed you?

Jeff said...

Larry - Keep up the good work on the site. It's been a while since I've been checking out the blogs. Good to see you still going strong.