Today: Jolting Joe Posnanski Exits KC Via Flowery Farewell

A few highlights and the between the lines on Joe Posnanski’s farewell ode…

It was a nice gesture for the Star to choke out a handful of hundred bucks to driveway deliver Joe’s farewell to KC column (he’s moving to North Carolina). That said, it would have been even nicer had the newspaper addeda little  reporting to the mix. That way – in theory – readers wouldn’t be left with quite so many unanswered questions.

Like why’s Joe leaving KC and what exactly awaits him in NC.

Left to his own, Posnanski merely says he’s bailing "for many reasons, personal and professional."

What was that again?


Now the Posnanski highlights and critique

***   Joe’s column begins awkwardly with an "editor’s note" explaining that he’s now a senior writer at Sports Illustrated.

However, the circumstances leading up to Posnanski’s departure from the Star – six months or so prior to fellow sports scribe Jason Whitlock’s disappearing act – have never been fully vetted. Given both sports columnists sky high paychecks and the newspaper’s layoffs and cutbacks, it’s a good bet they were under pressure to take pay cuts and/or saw the handwriting on the wall.

***   Posnanski indicates as much where the latter is concerned.

"I was lucky enough to be a newspaper columnist when everybody still read the newspaper," he writes.

Everybody? I don’t think so. But clearly that line – buried deep within one of Joe’s’s longest columns ever – is a reference to the Star‘s dramatically shrinking newspaper footprint.

***   As for Posnanski’s move to Sport IllustratedWhat print publication isn’t in financial hot water these days? Take the sale last year of Newsweek for $1 plus assumption of liabilities. Following operating losses of $32 million in 2008, $39.5 million in 2009 and a forecast of a $20 million loss last year.

I remember then Star sports editor Mike Fannin dissing Sports Illustrated to me a handful of years back. SI was washed up; nobody read it anymore, Fannin told me.

Well, that’s Joe’s safe harbour now.

My hunch is Joe took the SI gig to fulfill a childhood fantasy. Now that the days of everbody reading the newspaper were behind him, it was time to move on.

And since Joe knows there’s nothing left here, it was time to move to a larger market, get a fresh start.

***   Which brings us back to why he may have left the Star.

Clearly Joe was highly paid by Star standards. Probably less than Whitlock, but like Jason, Joe had played the free agent game card and forced the paper to match or beat offers from out-of-towners in order to retain him.

Joe even touches on that in the farewell column.

"Every now and again, someone would call and ask me to consider moving to another place," he writes. "A few times I took the interview. Why not? A couple times I even considered moving."

Indeed. That’s a polite way of saying that he pyramided those job overatures into a six-figure paycheck. And trust me, even back then, paychecks of that magnitude were few and far between among Star writers.

He was a funny guy. And like Whitlock, he seldom hung out much around the Star. In my 16 years, I can count on less than two hands the number of times I saw either of the two at the paper. And I was all over that place, day and night, seven days a week.

To see Joe in his natural habitat, he was a massively geeky guy. Not exactly a fashion plate or center-of-attention type. Joe was introverted and slinky in a serial killer kinda way. Like he said in his farewell, people either loved him or hated him. However the cards are eventually cut, he went out on his own terms.

What’s not to like about that?
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16 Responses to Today: Jolting Joe Posnanski Exits KC Via Flowery Farewell

  1. Monkeyhawk says:

    I just guessed he was going to be assigned to write more on North Carolina and Duke and football games in Florida.

    No one should have to fly that much just to get back to Kansas City

  2. bob says:

    You really had to be at the office to write a gossip column?
    What talented and covetted worker hasn’t leveraged a raise by getting interviews elsewhere? Well, back before the economy went to crap. I do wonder why he is moving to North Carolina. Is his wife from there or something like that?

    Keep up the good work on the blog, Hearne. But, sometimes your Star bashing gets old. Just let it die a respectful death. The Wednesday Sun is in hospice care and I’ll be glad not to get that anymore.

  3. MrBrown says:

    I don’t know hearne..from what my sources tell me the only time you were ever at the star was for training after you got something wrong in it true that you were the only guy who had to take the remedial journalism class three times?

  4. Hearne Christopher says:

    Just weighing in with my memories of Joe, Bob. And noting – just as you are here – that the questions of why he’s moving to NC went unasked and unanswered.

  5. Hearne Christopher says:

    Uh, no.

    You need some new sources. I was on a first name basis with virtually every member of the Star security staff 24/7 over the years. And by the way, there is no such class

  6. Amazing Al says:

    Charlotte Observation…
    … the Observer is also a McClatchy paper. Perhaps JoPo has scored a side gig for them and this was his deal to avoid a LeBron moment?

  7. smartman says:

    Duh! His daughter said she wanted to be just like Milka Duno. Charlotte is NASCAR country. Joe was never much for the inside details of racing so I can understand the open wheel vs cup car confusion. It’s all the same, go fast turn left. Obviously moving to get his daughter some wheel time with Hendricks or Roush. Hell, she can’t be any worse of a driver than Kyle Petty can she? What a dad Jopo is. Moving the family halfway across the country so his daughter can chase her dream, like so many other women in motorsports and never win anything of consequence.

  8. bschloz says:

    Come On Guys…..JOPO?
    Seriously –you gotta give Chuck something he can work with.
    Do a video interview with The Black Barbie….Live Blog Rockfest……Lets have Mayor Sly on for chat.

  9. Hearne Fan says:

    like What-his-name, “”he seldom hung out much around the Star. In my 16 years, I can count on less than two hands the number of times I saw either of the two at the paper. And I was all over that place, day and night, seven days a week””

    interesting read Hearne keep on keeping on I find this stuff interesting and honest…and that is rarer and rarer thses days…

    Newsweek sold for a Dollar??…..OUCH!!! what is the world coming too… then again I cant tell you last time I bought paper info…. I guess I am fully indocrinated into the NWO’s information plan… but still I do my best to find the weirdest fking (possibly true) info I can lay my eyes upon…. …. wanna see a bit ?

    warning!!! this stuff is waaaaaaay out there.. but needed to stay informed;article=136952;title=APFN

    and I use this lnk to find odd stories…

    who knows what is real anymore??
    At least Hearne seems real… and honest…. which is rarer and rarer….. not to repeat myself or anything.

    I dont care if you delete those links, I know they are kind of out there,,I was just sayin…

    plus if Kaite whats-her-name ever asks me where I get my info..I wanna blow her mind.

  10. Gerald Bostock says:

    between the lines
    I think he said in the column that he went to high school and maybe college in NC. I believe his family moved there from cleveland when he was a kid, so my guess is that his parents and or other relatives live there now. I think it’s fairly common for people of a certain age to move closer to their aging parents…especially if one has a “national” assignment and can live just about anywhere. But I’m willing to listen to any cloak and dagger theories, Hearne, if you have any facts to back them up.

  11. Arte says:

    Like him or not–Joe is ten times better than what is left now at the Star. Sam Mellinger tries to write as boring as he looks and he’s wildy successful at it.
    Joe did graduate from high school in Charlotte and also UNC Charlotte. His wife is from a small town in Kansas.

  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    No cloak and dagger, wild man. Joe’s pretty straight. Just curious. In an interview, the reporter tries to ask the questions people want to know the answers to. In a farewell column, the person leaving lays down whatever he or she darn well wants. Sans any pesky questions from the unwashed.

    The Star should have reported this first and asked some questions. Then invited Joe to lay down his farewell schmooze.

  13. Hearne Christopher says:

    I like a lot of what Sam writes and his approach. There’s far less fluff ( a la Joe) and far less bluff (as in Jason). In their place he brings some very reasoned thinking and excellent writing at times.

    Do I read Sam each and every time? Nope, not that interested in sports.

    I will tell you this; my hunch is the Star is saving maybe in the neighborhood of $250,000 to $300,000 a year probably from Jason & Joe’s peak paycheck cashing days.

  14. nick says:

    Sense of Humor
    As a writer, Posnanski is interesting, thoughtful, open-minded and educated. His geeky side also shows through when he breaks down stats and compares athletes’ numbers and accomplishments. But the greatest part of Joe’s writiing, in my opinion, is his sense of humor. And it’s a like-able sense of humor. It’s dry at times, silly at times, irrereverant at times, self-deprecating at times…but it’s hardly ever (never?) snarky or mean.

    Sense of humor is SORELY lacking in sports writing and radio. I seem to remember Gib Twyman having a great sense of humor (it’s been awhile….maybe I’m mis-remembering). Bob Ryan in Boston has a great sense of humor. Whilock tries but often fails. Bob Costas has it. 99% of sports talk on the radio has no sense of humor.

    I greatly miss having Joe write about KC sports, but thankfully can read him almost daily on his blog…which he updates almost daily. Of course, the bad thing about me doing that, is that it makes me constanlty aware that the Star is not on Joe’s level.

  15. AP says:

    Awful photo
    Can you do better than the photo on the front page? It looks awful. And there’s a perfectly good one in the story below this one.

  16. Hearne Christopher says:

    Yeah…guess I got a little overly creative on that one

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