Saturday, March 16, 2013

Afterlife of Reilly

It would be ridiculously easy to take apart Rick Reilly's meandering jeremiad on how Wrigley Field is preventing the Cubs from winning. After all, it was written by Rick Reilly, and that means you can have your pick of bad data, iffy conclusions, self-satisfied self-referencing, and phrases that look suspiciously like they've appeared in multiple other Rick Reilly columns over the years.
The thing is, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that Reilly's idea of researching an article is mistyping a search into Google and taking the topline result as gospel. It doesn't matter that he's got less of a grasp on causation than my 14 year old Norwegian Forest Cat, who thinks that magical fairies rain kibble from the sky at regular intervals because she scratches at the downstairs closet door. It doesn't matter that baked into his piece is the sublimely ridiculous notion that previous Cubs front office regimes - a collection of refugees from the Island of Misfit Toys whose brilliant ideas include everything from the Soriano contract to the Gang of Four rotating coaches - would take all that imaginary extra money he thinks Wrigley should be generating and do something smart with it. It's not even magical thinking, it's "You're Not My Real Parents!" levels of denial.
The problem with it being, of course, that everyone who can put 2 and 2 together and not come up with "Steroids!" knows this already. No matter how surgical a takedown the Craig Calcaterras of the world perform - and his is pretty good - they're going to keep trotting Reilly out there to spew this nonsense because he is A Name, which simultaneously buys him cred with a slice of readership that wouldn't know a Fire Joe Morgan if it bit them, and frees him from the need to do anything more rigorous that fling an unsourced opinion out there. But it would be nice if once, just once, an editor at, say, Grantland  - assuming they get time off from playing beer pong with Bill Simmons - would look at crap like this and send it back with a note that read: "Do your research".
He might never write another word again. And, judging by the ones he just churned out, that would be just fine.
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