Saturday, June 5, 2010

Michael Kay's Meltdown

  • It was the wording, not the content:

Michael Kay went off on a tangent yesterday after Phil Mushnick of the New York Post said the following in his column:

Now, a scold. When Kay lifts a chunk from a newspaper column, repeats it, almost word for word, on his radio show as if it's his original thought -- if he doesn't credit the author or at least the publication in which it appeared -- that's dishonest, a form of theft.

Kay responded in a long rant (which I didn't hear) transcribed on here and the relevant clip follows:

“First things first: Who the hell are you to scold me? My mother and father scolded me and they’re dead. You’re not, OK? Don’t ever scold me. You don’t have that right to be scolding me, nor do you have that gravitas. You’re nothing, OK? And what you wrote is untrue. Because of all the people that you talk to, even people at this station, I’m obsessed with giving credit. Some of my best friends in the world are newspaper writers and I always give credit.

“If I inadvertently or unknowingly gave the same kind of thought that was in a newspaper column without crediting it, well then I apologize for that. But I want you to tell me what I did and when I did it. Because the way you write it it’s like it’s a constant thing, and that’s fraudulent on your part. Fraudulent. That is not true. And I’ve got stuff on you. You want to question ethics? I’ll bring it out, too. I’ve got plenty of things that would question your ethics and your morals and the way you do your job. And I’m going to leave it open-ended, too. How does that feel?

“Don’t scold me. I’m not your son. How dare you scold me? You ever scolded me to my face I’d punch you in the face. Scold me in print? No. That’s not the way it works. I’m not going to let you get away with it. I know what I just did because I know how thin-skinned people like you are. Now you’re going to come back every single column and you’re going to rip me for something I say. Good. I like where I am."

Mushnick took part in a long and endlessly entertaining interview on that can be listened to here.

The majority of the time, I completely agree with Mushnick's take on the likes of Michael Kay, Mike Francesa, et al. There are so few people who are willing to take Francesa to task for his pomposity, condescension and self-serving flexibility with accuracy, and the neverending agenda under which he operates. Francesa can't stand people who speak the truth to his hypocrisy and self-indulgent power trip and that, more than any other reason is why he can't abide Mushnick.

As for Kay, I don't think anyone who's ever read me for two minutes would think I'm a fan of his. A Yankee apologist; self-proclaimed baseball expert who in actuality knows very little about the game; Kay is a grate broadcaster----he grates on everyone.

That said, I have to defend him on this rant and it's not because he's "right" about his obsession with crediting people for quotes from newspapers and the like----I have no idea one way or the other; but if anything can be said about Michael Kay, it's that he can take a joke. Many times, his humor is of the self-deprecating variety; he gets it from all sides and takes it without much public complaint; and if you want to attack him, he doesn't seem to care.

As an ambivalent and entertained observer to this whole morass, I have to believe that it was Mushnick's word choice that set Kay off more than any of the content in the piece. "Scold"? I can tell you now that if someone said to me that they were "scolding" me, I'd have exploded just as Kay did. You don't "scold" a grown man as if you're a despot meting out discipline. It was beyond condescending----it was offensive; as if Mushnick was saying, "you're naughty" and whacking him on the knuckles with a ruler. Had he simply stated that he sees Kay as using other people's work without credit, fine; but "scold"? Kay was right.

Then we get to the Kay threat that he'd punch Mushnick in the face if he used the word to his face. That may or may not be true and if the reading of the word set Kay off to that degree, I tend to believe he might actually have flipped to the point of violence. We all have hot buttons to push that touch us intrinsically and force us to lose all control of rationality and the word "scold" fills the bill. The threatening bit diminishes Kay's point; if he was going to threaten Mushnick, he should've called the paper and done it personally rather than as a showy part of the rant.

Apart for that, I have----gulp----defend Michael Kay. I'd have gone berserk as well. You don't scold a grown man.

  • What to make of the Blue Jays:

The Blue Jays are a weird team.

They've gotten off to a surprisingly good start and even though I didn't have them losing 100 games as many others did----too much starting pitching----I don't think anyone could have foreseen such a solid start (32-24) and loitering around contention.

Hitting with amazing power (94 homers) from unexpected sources (Jose Bautista has 18 and is leading the league), they're third in the league in runs scored, but 12th in on base percentage. Vernon Wells got off to a blazing start in the power department and has been solid; and Alex Gonzalez has 11 homers of his own. They've managed this start with little-to-no production from Adam Lind; Aaron Hill and Lyle Overbay.

Shaun Marcum's All Star-caliber comeback has spearheaded the starting pitching; Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil have been good; the rest of the rotation is a work-in-progress. The bullpen has a notoriously shaky closer in Kevin Gregg and has been up-and-down.

It's a bizarre combination in which to accumulate a 32-24 record....and it's not going to continue.

This team is not for real and there's no way they can maintain the pace of power; nor are they going to be able to continue to bluff their way through the league. Having beaten up on the Orioles; the Indians; the Royals and Rangers when they were struggling, they're 1-5 vs the Red Sox and last night was their first game against the Yankees.

Talent-wise and realistically, the Blue Jays have played far over their heads. Because of the deep well of pitching they have in the organization, they have a solid future and aren't going2010BaseballGuideCover.gif to be as bad as predicted (by myself included); but they're not contenders and reality is going to set in sooner rather than later.

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Gabriel said...

I agree with your take on the Jays, but I like a lot what I have seen. Gregg was solid in April, but hideous since three weeks ago. They blew up two games against the Rays in the ninth, and at least three of those defeats against the Red Sucks happened because the bullpen exploded. They might not be contenders, but they will be spoilers.

She-Fan said...

The Jays looked awfully good to me last night in beating the Yanks. Cecil stymied them and Bautista destroyed them. I don't expect them to be there in the end, but third place in the tough AL East is pretty damn good. As for the Kay thing, I don't like to be scolded either.

Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

I listen to ESPN all the time and very little of the FAN anymore. As a matter of fact I was just in studio on Bill Daughtry's show a couple of Fridays ago. I have a big problem with these guys shooting off their mouths and never having to be accountable for it; or much less revisiting things they've said. Whatever. Sports Radio is a good listen none the less and calling in is fun. ESPN treats me with a lot of respect. Kay was right when he said his brain was more fertile than having to resort to stealing. He was also right about saying how much of a leach a guy like Muschnick is feeding off other people's careers. But Musch was right when he said all ESPN does is tell eachother how great eachother is.
It was a good listen. I too wish I wasn't defending Kay, but he was right. He took the low road, but he was right.