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Rick Reilly leaves Sports Illustrated - now confirmed by NYT

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by thebiglead, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    I didn't read all eight pages of this thread but if Reilly's leaving does that mean Dan Patrick is getting the back page?

  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I think that's just to totally random speculation.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I seriously doubt that.
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    The original SI releases said that Mr. Patrick and Mr. Reilly would be bookends -- with Patrick at the front of the magazine, obviously.

    But a bookend without a mate is no more than a doorstop, so in this new circumstance, who knows?
  4. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    I wonder what happened there. I always got the impression Patrick and Reilly were friendly -- heck, they still could be -- but the timing of this is very, very suspicious. Wonder if Reilly saw the writing on the wall?
  5. Mizzougrad,

    Why must you hate on my guy Reilly so much?
  6. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    This sort of stuff cracks me up.

    1. Name me one writer at any publication in the country whose departure would mean a precipitous dip in circulation for his former employer, or whose hiring would mean a significant boost in circulation for his new employer. And even if you can name a precious few whose coming/going might be accompanied by a blip one way or the other in readership (frankly, I cannot), the vast majority of writers, changing jobs, would be met with a yawn by the marketplace. That's what makes me laugh when newspapers pay $150K or more for a guy who doesn't bring in nearly that level of business in readers or advertisers, and when magazines or networks up those salaries to seven figures.

    2. Why do we assume that Simmons' ego is so huge that he'll take the hiring of Reilly personally? Or Reilly doing likewise regarding Patrick? And so on and so forth. If I were overseeing such babies, in terms of professionalism and confidence and commitment to teamwork, I'd want them gone.

    Let's go over it again: We cover sports, which are unimportant. And since we only chronicle the unimportant stuff that others do, we are particularly unimportant. How about we all get over ourselves?
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Your guy? Are you the 'friend' he had in the pressbox?
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    My issues with Reilly are very similar to my issues with Rushin. For sportswriters my age (34), Reilly and Rushin were the guys we worshipped in college. Some of Reilly's stories that I read in SI as a kid played a large role in my wanting to become a sportswriter.

    To see someone who you held on such a pedestal start to phone it in is tough to watch. Reilly is, almost without a doubt, the most talented sportswriter in the country. But for the last five years, he's been sleepwalking. If he writes 50 times a year, 40 of his columns are something that required virtually no work. When he cares, he's great. But more often than not he doesn't...
  9. I agree with you on most points Mizzougrad. But even when he mails it in 40 times, he's still one of the best around in my opinion. Yeah, there has been a noticeable decline and maybe he has just grown soft or is a little tired, but he still finds a way to carve out some good stuff even if its not what it was 20 years ago.

    You and I are in the same age range, Mizzou, and I've seen this happen to other writers. A lot of times, guys just run out of gas, get tired, etc. I doubt that has happened to RR but if it has, I'm sad too. I still think he's very good, and a lot better than most of what else is out there considering.

    I never was a big fan of Rushin, but everyone has their own tastes. Like I said, if I had four to pick from to eat dinner with I'd choose Reilly, Grizzard, Royko and Paris Hilton. All of them, including Ms. Hilton, are from the "lighter" side of life. That's what I enjoy about Rick. I just think you are a little too hard on him. He's still very good. It's not often that you see writers in their latter part of their careers that are really pumping out great stuff. Maybe that is what will separate Reilly in the end, that he didn't continue to do it. But I'll always appreciate his work.
  10. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Allow me to take the rare opportunity to agree with Mizzou and expand on his point:

    For those of us in our late 20s and early 30s, Reilly was thee guy. He made us want to do what we do; his writing altered our lives. We read "Heaven Help Marge Schott" or "What is the Citadel?" or "Master Strokes" or his Elway appreciation, or some of his Olympic stuff or his other golf writing like his original piece about Tiger, or the one about how Ian Baker-Finch lost his swing, (and I could probably name 20 others), and it connected in a way that few things ever had. He set such a high bar at such a young age, and was so good at humor as well as pathos, it was impossible not to hold him up like he was some kind of deity. I was in a bar once in Denver during the NCAA touranment, and it was just Rick and I, eating lunch at the counter and having a beer. I wanted so badly to go up and introduce myself, tell him how much he'd meant to my career, but I couldn't. I was too much of a ninny.

    When you look at Reilly's work now, it's hard not to compare it to all those stories he wrote in his 20s and 30s, some of which I'm certain I romanticize in retrospect. It isn't that he's no good now, it's that he's not quite pouring his soul into his stuff anymore, yet a lot of us still hold him to that standard. (And why not? He changed our lives in some ways. I met my wife because I became a journalism major; I became a journalism major because of Reilly.) When he first got that column, I thought he was great. His column about Casey Martin, ripping Jack, Arnie and Tiger for saying he shouldn't be allowed to ride a cart, was one of my favorite opinion pieces ever when it ran. I'll never forget his column about Elway and Reeves after his own mother died, asking that Reeves wear a suit in the Super Bowl because his mom always loved the suit. His columns about some of the athletes involved in Columbine made me cry. His column about Jean Van de Velde perfectly captured the absurdity of that Open.

    But 10 years is a long time to write columns held up to that kind of scrutiny in that big of a spotlight. And when you've been named Sportswriter of the year a bazillion times, I'm sure it's hard to stay hungry. Especially as hungry as you were when you were 27 and constantly trying to prove yourself. It's like watching Nicklaus in his 50s. The focus isn't always there, the drive to kick everyone's ass isn't as strong, the putting stroke doesn't seem as true, but you still watch. Because he meant so much to you. And because you just might see a back-nine charge at Augusta that will remind you of what you loved so much about him in the first place.

    At the same time, Reilly doesn't stir the same feelings in me that he used to because, I understand now, I'VE changed. I've grown up. I've read thousands of stories since and I've gravitated toward different stuff and different styles as I've matured. That's part of it too. I want him to be that guy he was at 37, and that's unrealistic. Because I'm not the same person either.

    SI needs to look at Reilly's departure like the Yankees did when DiMaggio retired. You don't go out and get someone who is of similar age, but lesser talent to play centerfield. You want to find a 21-year-old Mickey Mantle. That doesn't mean give his backpage column to some 'effin stud out of college (sweet Jesus, no). But it means that your institution of SI is bigger than its writers, and that you find the next Rick Reilly.
  11. BigRed

    BigRed Active Member

    By the way, ESPN has officially confirmed that Reilly will join them June 1, 2008.... he'll be writing essays online and for SportsCenter and contribute to golf coverage.
  12. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Bravo, DoubleDown. Brav-freakin'-o.
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