I take it back…
Remember a few years back I wrote about how promising new Kansas City Star sports columnist Sam Mellinger was? That Sam the Man was no sham.
Which at a falling Star was no small feat. Especially given that Sam I Am was heir apparent to the newspaper’s twin sports peaks, Jason Whitlock and Joe Posnanski.
Remember those dudes?
Whitlock and Posnanski weren’t perfect, but they played the role in the sports pages of the Star and in their sundry flirtations with sports radio stations WHB and 610 Sports.
Whitlock became the Clown Prince of Kansas City sports.
By manufacturing feuds with big shots like former Kansas City Chiefs main man Carl Peterson; kissing up to KU basketball deity Bill Self; pimping thin-skinned readers about racism and hip-hop music and culture; pretending former footballer Jeff George was the second coming of Joe Namath and the Chiefs should sign him; courting strippers; extolling a love of Gates Bar-B-Q; and bragging about his mother’s soul food.
I leave anything out?
JoePo majored in overwrought, flowery, wordy sports epistles.
Yet while Jolting Joe had a loyal following and won his share of writing awards, he was gutless. So if you didn’t have the time or the depth of interest in sports to wade through his endlessly long masterpieces, he was easy for many to overlook.
All of that said, the pair had comparatively massive local followings, the likes of which Mellinger and that long-in-the-tooth Gregorian character the Star brought in from St. Louis, would kill to replicate.
Early on, I honestly thought Mellinger had a shot – not of eclipsing but measuring up to his forebears.
Far less a bullshitter than Jason and nowhere near as effusive and JoePo – not to mention well over a decade their juniors – the sky was the limit for Mellinger and he got off to a good start.
Ah, but keeping the flame a-flicker is easier said than done. Continue reading