Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It's always nice to know one has made fans. That goes double if they happen to be a sports columnist in a major Canadian media market.

Honestly, it's hard to know how to feel, let alone proceed, after learning of a column by the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis published Monday that a good friend says is "awfully similar" to a post from last month about the same topic, Mike Myers' Leafs-themed comedy. No, it was not original reporting on this end, but neither was it on the radar screen of anyone in the Canadian sports media in the middle of August, when Michael Vick-bashing was all the rage.

Check out the third paragraph of the respective articles:

OoLF, Aug. 24: The plot -- apparently Mike Myers movies have those now --revolves around Pitka's efforts to help a Leafs superstar ... fix his marriage so he can get out of a huge slump and rally to help bury the "Bullard Curse" that has prevented the Leafs from winning a Cup for the past 40 years. The bad guy is played by Justin Timberlake, who portrays a star player for a rival team who steals the hockey hero's wife and causes his game into a nosedive.

Francis, Sept. 24:
The movie, currently being filmed in and around Toronto, is about a Canadian-born/Ashram-raised guru (Myers) who tries to help a Maple Leafs star get out of a slump brought on by his wife's affair with another player (Timberlake).
Then there's Paragraph 4:

OoLF, Aug. 24: Here's hoping Al Iafrate gets a nice big fat cheque for letting the producers of the movie borrow from his life story.

Francis, Sept. 24:
No, Al Iafrate is not in the flick. Nor is Gary Leeman.
Francis could be feeling a little ripped off himself. Chances are he might run into someone who'll say, "Hey, did you see on TV this morning that Mike Myers is making a movie about the Leafs?" and respond something like, "Ya, I wrote that!" His column was piggybacked upon by Rogers Sportsnet's Connected AM this morning, who used to plug its sportsnet.ca Hockey Hearsay blog, which linked to Francis' column.

The irony is that in the summer, the people compiling Hockey Hearsay, at the time, were somewhat notorious for lifting passages from newspaper writers' work literally word-for-word. One of the writers that was ripped off was Eric Francis, and yours truly alerted him and senior editors at the Calgary Sun (and the URL of Out of Left Field was in the body of the e-mail, which he sent a reply to).

In other words, yours truly alerted a columnist that a website was ripping him off, then finds out two months later via said website that said columnist has penned something that is not outright plagiarism, but treads a bit on what we wrote. How should one feel after trying to be Mr. Nice Guy and trying to help?

Honoured, a bit, but as someone who feels proprietary about his work while knowing that it's somewhat rightfully looked at it lower form of wordsmithing than newspapers and TV, can't help but feel miffed. The point of the blog is to be a specialist who can help enhance the work of the generalists and a simple thank-you e-mail usually suffices.

The cool kids such as Mr. Francis and the Connected crowd get to be all self-congratulatory for reporting something that has been old news to this geek/dweeb/spazz for several weeks. A simple acknowledgement or explanation, "Yes, Mr. Sager, I read your post," would be the least Francis and his newspaper can do.

Leafs Fans Really Will Be A Joke... (Aug. 24)
Mike Myers and Mini-Me team up to make fun of the Leafs and the four-decade-long 'Bullard Curse' in upcoming movie (Eric Francis, Sun Media)
Connected AM streaming video (sportsnet.ca)

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to neatesager@yahoo.ca.

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