55 Gallons of Ink for Mirtle

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I apologize to everyone coming here for Minnesota Wild fun and news. I have a bone to pick, and it needs to be done in this forum.

The old quote is "Never start a fight with a man who buys his ink in 55 gallon drums." Well, how about picking a fight with a guy who has so many friends who buy so many 55 gallon drums of ink that he himself gets it for free?

I am not sure how I missed this story all day, but I did. And I am not happy about it. As I said a few days ago, if it weren't for James Mirtle's all too brief stop at the helm of SBN's NHL section, I wouldn't be here. For the uninitiated, James Mirtle left SBN to be the Toronto Maple Leafs beat writer for the Globe & Mail. He does his job, and he does it well. He is Michael Russo? No, not yet, but the guy just got the job. It takes time to develop relationships and build trust with the number of people necessary to be one of the best.


That said, Mirtle is already one of the best. So, that's why it shocked me to read that a guy I have never heard of, William Houston, decided to name Mirtle the "Biggest Joke of 2009-10."

Make the jump. This should be fun.

First, let's put the quote out there, so there is no need to go to the blog:

The biggest joke of 2009-10, unfortunately, was the spectacle of James Mirtle attempting to function as a Globe and Mail hockey writer. A statistics wonk with limited journalistic skills, poor James struggled, to say the least. Consider his gruesome effort on April 12, in which he "reports" on Leaf coach Ron Wilson’s assessment of the season.

  Mirtle wanted us to know that some ex-Leafs felt the players in the room had given up playing for Wilson.

  He wrote, "And while at least one of those traded has quietly told friends around the league that the Leafs coach had ‘lost the room,’ it’s now crystal clear Burke came down on the side of Wilson, shuttling out nearly 40 per cent of his roster in a span of five weeks in a bid to clear out the malcontents."

   Okay, so who’s the player quietly telling "friends around the league" that Wilson lost the room? Either James didn’t know, or he didn’t have the guts to report his name. It was just cheap gossip and a cowardly bit of work. And didn’t you love his term "crystal clear"? My god, that hackneyed piece of twaddle was worn out and over-used decades ago.

First off, Mr. Houston, let me just ask this: Where the hell does a gossip columnist get off calling anyone a joke? You write a "web blog," as you put it, called Truth and Rumors. You are the Joan Rivers of sports. Just a side note for you... that's not a good thing. You are a washed up sports writer who was replaced with someone better, and you are jealous and bitter about it.

You were let go for a reason. Call it "early retirement" if you must, but you were fired. I am not sure if it was due to economic issues or not, but trust me, if the G&M thought you were helping to sell newspapers, you would still be there. If they thought James Mirtle was hurting circulation, he would be gone. You're gone, and he isn't. Read between the lines.

Now, let's look back at your petty, weak little attack, shall we?

A statistics wonk with limited journalistic skills, poor James struggled, to say the least. Consider his gruesome effort on April 12, in which he "reports" on Leaf coach Ron Wilson’s assessment of the season.

You give one example. One. In an article after the season ended. What about the other 82+ articles Mirtle published this season? Did you have issues with those, or is it just that you forgot to mention it due to complications with your enlarged prostate? We'll just chalk it up to an elderly man trying to run a "web blog" and thinking he posted something he didn't really post, OK? OK.

One article does not a joke make. Bruce Brothers of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press' reporting is a joke. James Mirtle is not a joke. And tell me, sir, what does being a statistic wonk have to do with be a poor journalist? I would think understanding the way the game is tracked would make someone a better journalist.

Also, nice work with the quotes around "reports." Webster's defines "report" as:

a usually detailed account or statement

Sounds like exactly what Mirtle did, so let's lose the quotes, shall we? Or do you enjoy being sanctimonious?

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If you still want to use the dick fingers, just be careful. I wouldn't want your arthritis to flare up.

Mirtle wanted us to know that some ex-Leafs felt the players in the room had given up playing for Wilson.

  He wrote, "And while at least one of those traded has quietly told friends around the league that the Leafs coach had ‘lost the room,’ it’s now crystal clear Burke came down on the side of Wilson, shuttling out nearly 40 per cent of his roster in a span of five weeks in a bid to clear out the malcontents."

It is his job to inform us. Of course he "wanted us to know." That's his job, but OK, we'll accept this as a neutral statement.

Okay, so who’s the player quietly telling "friends around the league" that Wilson lost the room? Either James didn’t know, or he didn’t have the guts to report his name. It was just cheap gossip and a cowardly bit of work. And didn’t you love his term "crystal clear"? My god, that hackneyed piece of twaddle was worn out and over-used decades ago.

Again with the dick finger air quotes?

Who is the player? That's the question you are going to ask? Really? You can't come up with something better than that? Of course he isn't going to tell us who the player is. If he does, he alienates that player, and breeds an atmosphere of distrust with him in the room. If he reports, with names, everything he is told, they will simply stop talking to him. Mr. Houston, do you have evidence that this quote is not real? If not, let's just make the leap of faith that Mirtle is protecting his source.

It was just cheap gossip and a cowardly bit of work? You see, it is difficult to argue with you if you are going to make the argument for me. You write a gossip column, and are criticizing someone for writing gossip? Again I ask, really? Would you like a chance to step back from the hypocritical cliff you just jumped off of?

You are upset that he used the words "crystal clear?" You call it a "hackneyed piece of twaddle."  Your entire "web blog" is twaddle, sir. That is the entire point of your "web blog," to draw in the audience that you supposedly had at the G&M with your opinionated banter, and yes, twaddle. Look up the word before you use it, will you, please?

As for hackneyed, you start off your post explaining why you have been absent for so long. One, no one cares. Two, that is hackneyed. If you are going to have a "web blog," update it or get rid of it.

Now, let's ask the obvious question. Do you have an issue with the article from Mirtle, or with Mirtle himself? Because if you have an issue with the article, show us otherwise. Show us that Wilson had indeed not lost the room. In plain terms, put up or shut up. If you have an issue with Mirtle himself, well, be a grown up and live with your disappointment.

I have no issue with David Shoalts, Bruce Brothers, or anyone else for that matter. Not in a personal "I think you are a joke" kind of way. Do I have an issue with their work? Absolutely I do, and when expressing those issues, I offer up the evidence to support myself.

So, Mr. Houston, where is your evidence that this article is a joke?

I would call you the biggest joke of 2009-10, Mr. Houston, but David Shoalts already secured that title. You have, however, earned the silver medal. Which, of course, simple means that you aren't even the best at being bad at what you do.

Oh, and just so we are all clear, I used some dick finger air quotes in this post, too. Around "web blog." The reason? The word "blog" is short for web log. So, Mr. Houston apparently believes he writes a web web log. Which, given his penchant for using words he doesn't understand, is entirely possible.

We now return to pretending the Wild made the playoffs.

-Buddha

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