We got to know our old pal Steve Politi when he was in Raleigh and working for the News & Observer (which by the way, along with its McClatchey overlords, is facing potential bankruptcy) and found him to be warm, witty and a lot of fun.
Certainly he was less stuffy than most of the people who worked in the sports department.
So we had a bit of fun with Steve from time to time. At one point, when the N&O was experimenting with online stuff, his editor insisted on everyone having a personal page. So we linked it and asked people to just pound it.
So Politi got a big laugh when he forwarded us e-mail from his boss saying “folks, these personal pages really work! Just look at the traffic Steve is getting.”
Aside from helping us to mess with the N&O around from time to time, he’s just a nice guy and an outstanding sports writer.
He took a job in New Jersey which unfortunately means he has to deal with Rutgers athletics.
As you may know, Rutgers, historically, is a train wreck and only the accident of geography got them into the Big Ten which wanted a strong East Coast presence near the New York/New Jersey market.
Instead they got Rutgers.
So the university is going through one of its periodic self-immolations and trying to hire a football coach.
As usual, they’ve flubbed it. And while we have always found Steve to be kind and friendly, we wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a piece like this one because he just positively, absolutely excoriates Rutgers from top to bottom.
But hey! At least they’re cornfed and in the Big Ten where they now enjoy a growing rivalry with Maryland. Both suck at football and basketball has yet to truly thrive. We refer more to Maryland here where you may have noticed that Mark Turgeon hasn’t exactly built a beast of a program. But the Terps are undefeated and #5 nationally, you may protest. Yes, and so far they’ve played Holy Cross, Rhode Island, Oakland, Fairfield and George Mason while Rutgers is 4-1, having somehow lost to St. Bonaventure and playing no one of any consequence yet.
You have to wonder if, when honesty is in vogue at Big Ten HQ, if the brain trust has had second thoughts about inviting Rutgers.
Because our old pal Politi is quite right. The entire thing is a train wreck.