Lemme see, one, two, three…that’s it?
Truth be told, chances are if you’re a reader of KC Confidential you also keep an eye on the Kansas City Star and probably noticed when Vahe – may I call him Vahe? – effectively replaced Joe Posnanski a couple months back as the newspaper’s second sports columnist.
He’s the dude who looks like a mashup of John McCain and Joe McGuff’.
Longtime readers may recall that I was bullish early on on Sam Mellinger in the wake of the Jason Whitlock debacle. I’m still a fan of Sam, even given my infinite ability to search for the cup half empty.
Of course, if you subscribe to the Tracy Thomas school of thought, I’m certain to trash Sam if I’m around and writing still after he departs this mortal coil.
Hey, but what are the odds of that?
Anyway, I’m overdue in weighing in on Gregorian, so here goes…
First a confession.
I’ve had a hard time bringing myself to read his columns. In part, because my life doesn’t revolve around sports anymore and in part because of that pic of him that accompanies his column – it’s hard to explain.
I thought some of Vahe’s early works were kind of predictible. You know, time and space killers on shop worn topics like the one about local morons who shout “Chiefs!” at the end of the Star Spangled Banner. And bring back the Border War. That stuff isn’t news nor a view that serves much of a purpose.
It was just filler while Vahel had a chance to sample some local barbecue, get over the death of his cat and get up to speed on the local sports scene.
Clearly he’s there now – as evidenced by the increased frequency of his writing and front page cameos, so what do I think?
I still can’t really tell you, because I’m still having a hard time bringing myself to read his columns.
“Winning manager can’t win with fans,” the front page headline read. “As Royals chase the playoffs, some don’t believe in Yost, even though the players do.”
Uh, that was enough for me.
I was already generally familiar with the topic and no way was I about to chokes down the nearly 70 column inches Vahe laid down exploring this mundane topic.
Seventy column inches is huge.
If you’re going to try and pull a Joe Posnanski in a daily newspaper in this day and age you better have a heckuva strong topic, maybe some actual news and be riveting.
I will tell you that man Vahe knows how to write. I’ve sampled enough of his work to recognize that, still something’s missing in terms of the content. I keep going back to that mug shot and the fact that he’s a grizzled veteran of the St. Louis scene.
Why couldn’t the Star have hired another fresh, young up and comer? Like Whitlock, Posnanski and Mellinger were when they came on board. Someone fresh and exciting with post Y2K sensibilities. That would have been – I dunno – more exciting, more compelling and hopefully more entertaining.
If the Star was bent on handing the sports columnist baton to a fellow senior citizen, why not Randy Covitz. Randy rocks and they’re already stuck having to pay him. Why not Randy?
Okay, maybe Randy didn’t want it. And maybe the sports section brass is tired of having its brightest young stars spirited away by the likes of ESPN.
Chances are Vahe and his wife – who snagged a job riding herd over the Star’s house and home section btw – are here to stay. The only free agent action the newspaper has to worry about with them is probably if and when the John Knox Village newsletter folks come calling with an offer they can’t refuse.
I’m counting on some of you readers to tell me if I’m wrong.
And I’ve been taking sport-a-holic Craig Glazer‘s pulse on this topic for at least two months now and here’s what he just told me:
“Yeah, you keep asking me, but I don’t have an opinion either,” Glazer says. “He doesn’t jump out at me, but he’s okay, I guess. I can’t be fair in making a judgment because I haven’t read the guy much.”
That from a dude who lives and breathes local sports, reads the Star daily and is probably pretty close to Vahe in age.
Does Glazer even read Vahe’s columns?
“No,” Glazer says. “Because as a person that does what he does, he’s not telling me anything I don’t already know. And he’s from St. Louis and still trying to catch up.
“Here’s another thing, at his age he isn’t a guy that’s going to get real close to the players. People like Sam Mellinger who are younger, have a chance to get closer to the players to get some scoops.”
Is there a buzz on Vahe among the radio and sports media types Glazer rubs elbows with on a weekly basis?
“I’m not ever hearing his name when I listen to the radio,” Glazer says. “I hear Mellinger’s name. I hear Whitlock’s name. I even hear Jeff Flanagan‘s name. I haven’t heard Gregorian’s name once.
“I mean, how is this guy – who I assume is in his 60s – going to get in with these young players and other (younger) sports media guys?”
To be continued.