It's no secret that the way people in the United States and the rest of the world are getting their news is changing rapidly. Most of my peers don't even read newspapers anymore, and if they do, it's the online version available at the paper's website. Instead of the traditional papers, blogs and sites like this one are what most people are turning to to get their information, be it sports, politics, or foreign affairs.
As a result, a lot of Chicago stalwarts have been losing their jobs lately. Back in August Chicago's favorite lightning rod Jay Mariotti left the Chicago Sun-Times. Now depending on who you believe, Jay either left because he was upset the paper wouldn't let him write a column on Barack Obama, or he threw another hissy fit and threatened to quit once more and this time the paper -- which is losing money just like everything else in this country -- called him on it and saved themselves a couple million.
Now today comes word that the Chicago Tribune is losing one of it's own as well, as it was announced that Mike Downey will no longer be writing for the paper. Whether it was the paper's choice or Downey's, I'm not sure as of yet, but the fact is he's gone. Though I can't exactly say I'm going to miss him.
See, now while the columnist in this city most sports fans chose to hate was Jay Mariotti, and don't get me wrong, I had my own run-ins with Mariotti but I had more respect for him than I do Downey. Even though Jay is a notorious flip-flopper on issues, at the very least he wasn't afraid to call some of the city's elite out for decisions they made, or lack of performance. While Downey wasn't always supportive of our teams -- for proof of this, just read his final column at the Trib -- he never really took an actual stand. Sure, he wasn't afraid to say that the Bears sucked, but he would never tell you why they sucked. He'd just say, "Man, they got their butts kicked last week. They suck."
Gee, thanks for that intoxicating review there, Mike.
The truth is that in this town there are always going to be writers -- be they newspaper columnists, beat reporters, or bloggers like myself -- whom the fans here hate. We're just that passionate about our sports here in Chicago. I mean, of all the things Barack Obama should be worried about right now as he prepares to become our next President, it seems that the only thing he wants to talk about is fixing college football's BCS system.
That's just the way we are here.
Which is why I didn't like Downey all that much. His writing and opinions always came off as an attempt to rile people up or make them wonder what Mike was smoking when he wrote it. It's as though he never realized that in a town like this, filled with millions of smart sports fans with differing opinions, all he had to do was express his actual thoughts and he'd have gotten all the attention he needed.
He didn't, though, and that's why in a few years I don't think many people will even remember who he was.