Wilbon Singing At A Cubs Game "Raised Issues"

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've never believed that Sports writers should lose their allegiances once they are on a national level, but that certainly seems to be an unwritten rule. I think Wilbon's love for all things Chicago is clearly documented almost daily on PTI, but he almost considered not singing "Take Me Out...." because of potential backlash. The Chicago Tribune even said it, "raised issues."

"If I live 40 more years," he said, "it will still be the coolest and most bizarre thing I have ever done."

Cool for obvious reasons: Wilbon grew up idolizing Ernie Banks and wearing Ran Santo's No. 10 jersey on his South Side Little League team. The Northwestern alum has hit Wrigley more than 100 times as a fan. And bizarre because of the ethical line he seemingly had crossed. No, this wasn't cheering in the press box. It was wearing a team's uniform on its home field before 40,000 fans.

"When they asked me to do it," Wilbon said, "I thought: No. Sportswriters, journalists don't do that."

Then Wilbon remembered: He's not just a sportswriter. He estimates that no more than 20 percent of his "PTI" audience would even realize he writes a sports column for the Washington Post.

"There's fairness but no objectivity," he said. "I'm not going to pretend I don't root for the Bulls. The people we cover are much cooler with that then this false pretense of objectivity."
Man, the fraternity that is sports writing is just wacky. I love how you have to immediately cut all ties to any team you ever loved as soon as you get to a certain level. That has to be borderline impossible for some people. Obviously you need to be somewhat objective, but this really shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Wilbon at Wrigley raises issues (Chicago Tribune)

(FYI- Sorry for the delay in postings this morning. I had to run errands and Auto Publish failed me.)


Didn't Mike and Mike also sing/throw out the first at Wrigley earlier this hear? I didn't hear anything then about a standard.

Anonymous said...
Aug 15, 2008, 12:50:00 PM  

C'mon! You don't have to cut ties from your favorite teams and players. You can even take money from them to fund a bound-to-fail book deal.

/Rob Parker

Anonymous said...
Aug 15, 2008, 1:07:00 PM  

He's starting to sound more and more like he's full of himself recently.

GMoney said...
Aug 15, 2008, 1:21:00 PM  

why is Wilbon wearing pants?
he claims to wear shorts 99% of the time in the spring-summer-fall.
the ladies are wearing SUMMER dresses.
i think we have another ESPN LIAR!

Anonymous said...
Aug 15, 2008, 2:24:00 PM  

Speaking as someone who lives in the Washington D.C. area (kinda), I always thought it was weird that one of the paper's most famous columnists had such a hard on for teams not here in Washington, but in Chicago. I don't remember ever seeing a columnist anywhere else act the same way.

Bentcorner said...
Aug 15, 2008, 3:40:00 PM  

The author of the story, Teddy Greenstein, is one to talk about neutrality. He is a media critic but once filled in for the Mac, Jurko and Harry show on ESPN 1000. A show he often calls "the best of Chicago." He wrote his editors said it was okay if he gave his pay check to charity. Sorry Teddy, not cool. Coming on as a guest for a 15 minute interview. Fine. Filling for the entire 4 hour show? No sorry, not not cool Teddy. All I can say is pot, meet kettle.

FightingPike said...
Aug 15, 2008, 4:01:00 PM  

I think Wilbon once said that one of the reasons he didn't take a job at the Tribune was that it would be hard for him to write critically about the teams he loves.

I think, thanks to his main employer being the Four Letter, Wilbon is more and more an entertainer and less a journalist.

odessasteps said...
Aug 15, 2008, 4:12:00 PM  

Yeah, if Mike and Mike can do it, why not Wilbon? Also, who really cares? If Bob Uecker and Tommy Lasorda, who decidedly are NOT Cubs fans, can sing the stretch (though personally I consider that an abomination), it becomes clear that singing the stretch in no way compromises one's potential objectivity towards the Cubs. Is this really only an issue because we know Wilbon is a Cubs fan? Because that would be a joke.

Flax said...
Aug 15, 2008, 4:37:00 PM  

Yeah, lets allow Mike and Mike serve as the barometer as to what's professional or not for a sports columnist from the Washington Post.

Bentcorner said...
Aug 15, 2008, 4:46:00 PM  

Wilbon is not a "of all things Chicago" fan...he is a Cubs fan- and has demonstrated his adament dislike for the White Sox for the last two plus years (since 05 when he became a "frontrunner" wearing a sox jersey only after the 05 series win). As a southsider, please be aware that Mr. Wilbon is simply a preening egomaniac that is well on his way to the Mariotti level of awfulness.

Anonymous said...
Aug 15, 2008, 8:17:00 PM  

after this article greenstein got cut from the sports media beat, and got lit up on the local sports radio.

kj said...
Aug 16, 2008, 7:29:00 PM  

kj, this was in Greenstein's article:

"Nah, I'm not leaving the paper to launch a career on the World Poker Tour. Maybe next year. But I am leaving the sports media beat.

College football will remain my top priority, and then I'll focus on small balls (golf) and big ones (basketballs) after the bowl season."

Anonymous said...
Aug 16, 2008, 9:43:00 PM  

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