Ed Note: With Election Day just under two weeks away, we want to fully prepare you for the most important race of 2012. No, not that Presidential thing or whatever it is, AA's Decision 2012! Besides, whoever your candidate of choice is, we can all agree Craig James is worse. But, is the Senator-to-be a strong enough candidate for AA's Mount Rushmore to hold off the challenges of Skip Bayless, Matt Millen, and Chris Berman? With such a tough vote on the horizon, we asked some influential bloggers from around the sports world to give an endorsement for their candidate of choice and reasons why you should vote for them to be immortalized on AA's Mount Rushmore. Up next, Erik Malinowski of Deadspin "embraces" Skip Bayless' candidacy.
Where do you begin with a man like Skip Bayless? For a non-announcer to even reach the final step of having his mug enshrined in the hallowed Mt. Rushmore banner atop AA should be all you need to know, especially if you’re blissfully unaware of his existence. (In that case, dear reader, please stop reading, move away from the Internet, and do not spoil your day any further.) But, obviously, we all know who Skip Bayless is, because he’s everything that’s wrong with sports media today. A dead-ringer for Bill Nye the Science Guy, though with a smarmy, ogreish personality and the intelligence of your standard supermarket pineapple, Bayless is the most perfect embodiment of the rampant, troll-driven negativism that lives in the web’s darker corners. He brings it to ESPN2 every weekday morning and makes the vast majority of sports journalists feel instant shame in their profession. That’s some power.
It’s funny because for all the attention Bayless gets from the Worldwide Leader, he doesn’t have the pedigree of, say, a Rick Reilly, who, for all his numerous faults, has a shelf full of trophies he could throw in your face if he so desired. The most famous factoid about Skip Bayless is that his brother, Rick, is a world-famous chef. Skip, meanwhile, has been a middling newspaper columnist for most of his career, at least until First Take blew up a few years back. After leaving the Chicago Tribune in a childish huff back in 2001, Bayless defected to the San Jose Mercury News. At the time, his former boss said that “he will definitely be the most talked-about person in the Bay Area.”
He was not, and I would know. I moved to the Bay Area in mid-2002, after having interned at The Boston Globe, so I knew a thing or two about bloviating, inane sports columnists. I read Bayless’s stuff in the Merc, sure, but it wasn’t anything special. Perhaps looking back, one might see the beginnings of the alpha-troll persona he’s perfected since. I didn’t see it then, but ESPN did. They started putting him on morning and afternoon shows across the ESPN family of networks. That, in turn, spawned a regular gig on Cold Pizza, which begot First Take, which begot the unfortunate state that now surrounds us.