Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's wrong with Rick Reilly?

This is Rick Reilly's newest article for ESPN. For those of you who don't feel like clicking the link, Reilly uses the excuse of it being the approximate 50th anniversary of the Arnold Palmer concoction (ice tea + lemonade) to make twenty-four suggestions for other athlete named drinks. Example:

A Tiger Woods ... Pineapple juice and vodka ... Drink one and you'll want 13 more.

It's funny because Tiger Woods had sex with a lot of women.

Anyway, rather than my doing that twenty-three more times, I'd like to use the rest of this post to say that the contract ESPN gave Rick Reilly has to be the worst contract ever in sports-journalism. Actually, any contract ever given to Jay Mariotti was the worst, but Reilly's is still way up there.

ESPN reportedly is paying Reilly $10 million over 5 years, and they're constantly getting efforts like this which would do well to be labeled "sub-par." I mean, he literally has a whole week to write a column, and the best he could come up with was this 341 word bon mot? If this was posted by DJ Gallo on Sportspickle.com, it'd probably be the 44th out out 45 most read stories for the week. Reilly seems to be running so low on ideas/enthusiasm, that he's even accidentally(?) plagiarized himself.

At the same time, Bill Simmons' weekly column, while often dripping in Boston-homerism and asinine Real World/Road Rules references, at least shows a level of enthusiasm and interest that Reilly's columns do not. On top of that, Simmons does multiple pod-casts a week, which are far better than his columns and drive a ton of traffic to ESPN.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Rick Reilly often likes to talk high-mindedly about the little guy, giving 110%, and other inspirational tropes. However, to me anyway, it seems like he's taken a huge contract from ESPN and is making very little effort on his part to give them full value out of their investment.

I can't say that I ever read much Rick Reilly growing up, and some people will probably say that this is just more of the same from him, but I almost feel embarrassed for Reilly that he's happily putting out columns like this on a weekly basis.


SOB in CA said...

I know what TMQ would say about high-priced free agent athlete. Or how weasly a coach that spurns his current employer.

Chris W said...

I mean, it was never my cup of tea, but at least for SI he would write elaborate, heart wrenching sap heavily crafted and designed to tug at the heartstrings every issue. Not punny crap like this.

Anonymous said...

TMQ would rave about how versatile Reilly is for writing about every sport and how "unwanted" he was by SI. He'd then give him the "best non-reporter, non-race baiting, non-blogger award."

I honestly feel like Reilly is trying to become like Bill Simmons. This was his way of being "hip." Add in some stupid stories about his friends and an even dumber story about his kid and I could see Simmons doing something like this.

I just enjoyed seeing his list including people who haven't been associated with sports in years. Including Karch Kiraly. Who the fuck is Karch Kiraly?

Elliot said...

Rick Reilly : outdated references :: Yo Yo Ma : the cello

Alex said...

Rick Reilly has been dead to me for years.

10 mill. Hey, good on him. But on a bang for buck value system, yeah, I'd say he can and should do better.

I don't know what's worse, his columns or his ESPN colleagues referring to his columns as "gems" or "must reads" on air.

cs said...

Rick is trying (see: failing) to be like Bill Simmons. No question. The biggest piece of evidence and by far his worst column ever:


I mean, shit, honestly. That was awful. Like unbelievably awful. If you consider he wries AT BEST one column per week, then ESPN is paying Rick $40,000 per column. That's the the average American's yearly salary...

Elliot said...

IMO, Reilly's worst article ever is one of his last "heart wrenching sap heavily crafted and designed to tug at the heartstrings" articles from SI in 2007:



SOB in CA said...

No, Anonymous. TMQ would tell you that Reilly just stood there and watched while his opponent (Simmons?) ran right by him.

Seeing as Simmons and Reilly are right next to each other on ESPN's page 1, Reilly is definitely trying to be hip, and failing at being readable. I haven't seen a need even to read his columns. The summary I get from FJM is all I need (Hey, I'm busy!)

your favourite sun said...

Funny to see Simmons and Reilly getting compared to each other considering they supposedly hate each other. The major difference between them is that Simmons has an excuse for sucking--he has no talent, and is an idiot besides. Reilly is capable of writing better, he's simply chosen to phone it in for years(decades?) now. He's probably an idiot, too, but at one time he was an idiot who could write a better column.