Monday, July 26, 2010

Mitch Albom Has Always Been a Hack

Some sports writers get by on talent; some by dogged determination. Mitch Albom gets by on air and bullshit:

On June 25, the Associated Press Sports Editors did a “curious thing,” in the eyes ofDave Kindred, a former sports columnist.

That night, the group gave Mitch Albom, the longtime columnist for The Detroit Free Press (and author of books like “Tuesdays With Morrie”) its Red Smith Award, the organization’s highest honor.

Mr. Kindred wondered whether that was wise. Back in 2005, Mr. Albom filed a columnthat described two former Michigan State basketball players at a Final Four game that hadn’t yet happened. The athletes didn’t make it to the game, but Mr. Albom’s column ran as written.

In a column published July 16 on the National Sports Journalism Center’s Web site, Mr. Kindred, himself a former Red Smith winner, wrote of Mr. Albom’s transgression: “Note to journalism students: This is known as fiction. It can get you expelled.”

I have never seen a more self-serving sports writer, save that other regular pair of jackballs that I cannot stand: Mike Celezic and Mike Lupica. Celezic is hardly considered a sportswriter anymore since they make him write fluff pieces and human interest blurbs. Lupica is, quite possibly, the most unsavory sports writer still living, and that's saying something.

No one wants to remember Albom's transgressions. It makes giving him the awards his editors have lobbied for him to receive even that more difficult to stomach. People don't get awards for being good anymore; people get awards because their money-making status in the industry demands that their second-rate hackery be recognized and given accolades that would normally go to powerless drones, struggling to make ends meet. There's a lot of money driving the Albom franchise and much of it comes from the sale of treacly nonsense read by old ladies. What self-respecting sports writer would sell his soul for the Readers Digest crowd?

Hey, anything for a buck. Anything for a buck. Newspapers are dying. The Internet doesn't pay very well. And ESPN is the only game in town. They know they can get people for peanuts. I suppose if my dignity and my soul were all that was necessary to give up, I'd take that sappy train to big money town, too.

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