Jay Mariotti Quits Paper, Thinks Internet Is Future

If the fine folks at the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES knew that all it would take to get rid of sports columnist Jay Mariotti was to send him halfway around the world for an assignment, it would’ve happened long ago, I suspect.

Jay Mariotti

Seventeen years later, and fresh off a stint in Beijing to cover the Olympics, one of the angriest, most vindictive, frullet-ed (and some say talented) journalists to ever to grace the pages of the Chicago paper, has resigned. (Going-away parade starts promptly at 5 PM. Pre -parade keg stands in Rick Telander’s office begin at noon).

While in China, Mariotti came to the conclusion that the newspaper is dead, and, like kick-boxing, the Internets got a good future. And this epiphany led us to today’s joyous news:

Just back from Beijing where he wrote about the Summer Olympics, Mariotti said in a phone interview Tuesday night that he decided to quit after it became clear while in China that sports journalism had become “entirely a Web site business. There were not many newspapers there.” He added that most of the journalists covering the Games were “there writing for Web sites.” …

[Mariotti] said that he “is talking with a lot of Web sites” and added that the future of his business “sadly is not in newspapers.’

So now what? “Around the Horn,” obviously. Maybe ramp up ESPN’s I’M A CONTRARIAN presence (Skip Bayless gets lonely). Or perhaps just try to avoid the inevitable beatdowns he has coming his way. My only regret is that Mariotti didn’t announce his resignation four months ago; he would’ve been perfectly positioned to make a run at the Deadspin job.