Joe Cowley has become the new Jay Mariotti

Joe Cowley has become the new Jay Mariotti

When Jay Mariotti abruptly left the Chicago Sun-Times in 2008, it left readers who enjoy sensationalistic, pointlessly provocative commentary, with a painful void; sure these people probably had friends who were pot stirrers, who immaturely sought attention through being mindlessly contrarian, but it just wouldn’t be the same.

Who in Chicago would call us stupid? Who would point out how little we know? Who would irreverently push our buttons!?

Then came our self-important knight in rhetorical armor, the self-proclaimed “People’s Champ”: Joe Cowley.

Cowley, a Cleveland transplant, began his journalistic work in Chicago rather modestly, covering the White Sox for the Daily Southtown  starting  in 1998.Cowley would eventually “graduate” to the Sun-Times before the 2006 baseball season, where he would continue to cover the Sox up until 2010, at which time he would become a featured sports columnist.

Joe, in my opinion at least, has always been an extremely talented writer, after all, the Sun-Times doesn’t just hire any former college journalist with the undistinguished “skill” of having an opinion. (Then I’d have a chance at working there).  But being a good writer of course isn’t enough; Joe is unmistakably witty, and his writing, while many things, is anything but dull.

I was a fan of Joe.

In fact, back in 2008 when I first joined the self-indulgent world of Twitter, Joe was the first person I followed; he kept Sox fans like me informed and moreover entertained.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, Joe became infected with… the Mariotti bug; witty and thought provoking became snarky and antagonistic, entertaining analysis essentially devolved into -“I know more than you so shut up”, Cowley simply became… annoying.

In fact, the “evolution” of Joe’s ego, (and simultaneous decline in likability) has been most evident on Twitter; (Cowley generally flirts with professionalism in actual print).

Here’s some tweets from just the past two weeks

  •   Damn, trying to sleep with ESPN on, but the glare of that big “Reyes Update” hurts my eyes. But it’s not news in Chicago
  • If you want updates on MLB rumors and news, give it a follow. If you need to stay in your parents basement and DVR Blackhawks games..
  • I will be DVR-ing the Bears, but big-boy game comes first.
  • @LaurenceWHolmes Is there a white super hero in that comic that is completely overated, can’t get off blocks and wears #54? But he’s fast.
  • @s**** @Jason1Goff I won’t even answer that dumb-ass question.
  • Can’t wait to see what “top assistant” the Illini hire to soon fail. Like I said, a new coach buys hope. Too bad it’s often false hope
  • I wonder how many of my followers break up with me and then get back together with me throughout the week.
  • If NFL wins were based on style points, Bears would be a .500 team since the start of the 2010 season. #Bearsfansarehypocrites
  • James Harrison doesn’t get sucked into screens like that…then again, Pep is a one-dimensional player.
  • Being a Bear suits Peppers well – is aggressive in the fall collecting his food, and then hibernates in Jan. when the playoffs start
  • For those that would like to watch a QB who plays with a broken thumb, Steelers are on Sunday.
  • Myopic Bear fan also believes that his little gimmick ’85 defense is better than the Steelers defenses of the 70s. I can’t help the dumb
  • Urlacher wouldn’t have started on the Steelers D the last five years – Farrior and Timmons… 3-4 is a big boy defense.
  • Listen Bear fan, I know your football world is very myopic. But there are other teams out there with better players than yours. That’s life.

Mind you, this is just in the past two weeks. Last Summer Joe got his kicks being the Miami Heat’s most unlikely and yet most obnoxious cheerleader-needling Bulls fans as if he were a 14 yr old  Heat fan picking fights  on a Bulls message board:

  • Well Bulls fan, you wanted them, you got ’em. The baddest show on the planet is coming to the Chi. Fear the Heat wave!
  • Bulls fan saw the No. 1 seed, saw the No. 1 defense, and thought it would be that easy in the playoffs
  • Bulls fan needs to watch Heat-Celts – see why I’m calling it the real Eastern Conference Finals – great first half.

More recently, Cowley, likely recognizing their shared personality traits, has become Ozzie Guillen’s staunchest ally.  Of course, this is partly motivated by an obvious “beef” with Kenny Williams, which quite honestly is Joe’s business. However, here’s my “beef”-Joe unfortunately feels compelled to mock and ridicule those Sox fans who don’t see things the same way-who don’t suffer from self-centered myopia ( to use a word he seems to like) as he does. White Sox fans were fans before Ozzie Guillen..before Kenny Williams…and certainly before Joe Cowley.

The funny thing is, the Sox and their fans…they’re largely responsible for where Joe Cowley is today. In fact, more so than talent, Joe Cowley has Chicago and its sports fans to thank for his success.

He seems to have forgotten that.

Don’t get me wrong, like Mariotti, Cowley may be arrogant, he may be abrasive, he may be diluting talent with ignorance, but unlike Mariotti, he is not a bad person.

Cowley is a family man, he’s married with two kids, (with one on the way) and as many may already know, he admirably fought and beat cancer, not once, but twice.

Speaking of cancer, it’s always a shame when some uncontrollable, external  circumstance robs one of their livelihood, of their talent, for it makes victims of not only them, but of all those who formerly benefited from their extra-ordinary talents.

You know what’s a bigger shame?

When someone loses their talent, and they see the thief in the mirror every day.

Be Good Friends,


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