Thursday, February 05, 2009

You can't make this stuff up: Marty York out at Metro

Just to keep it in the spirit of the thing, an "anonymous source told me" tonight that a pillar of the Canadian sports journalism community, and favourite of "babbling bloggers" (his phrase, most assuredly), has been canned.

Marty York, a man that wasn't afraid to write anything, is looking for work. We won't make too much fun because he was let go as part of a downsizing at the Metro. Many others less prone to hyperbole, and more inclined to verify sources, are also out of luck.

However, my unnamed source has a warning for Mr. York's many detractors. "The sad thing is," he or she said, "he will likely infect the Internet next. And where rumours are treated like truth Marty York could be king."

(Sager talking.) The last thing people should do is a joyous tap dance over a bit of news concerning the man who once graced the The Globe & Mail. He also, among other things, once wrote that then-Raptor Vince Carter body-slammed then-coach Sam Mitchell on to table during the Raptors darkest days. He was also the one behind the infamous story in 1992 that the Blue Jays pretty boy, Kelly Gruber, was water-skiing in the Muskokas while he was on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. (A year later, Gruber was out of baseball.)

Say whatever you want about the man, he didn't run with the traffic. In York's halcyon days where he probably pulled down a salary on par with that Brunt fella who wrote the definitive Bobby Orr biography, York was the biggest polarizing figure in Canadian sportswriting circles.

That above link, to a Ryerson Review of Journalism article from 1992, is a must-read for a media junkies. Anthony Seow talked to a who's-who of Canadian sports media columnists, most of whom are still full-time writers. The one and only Earl McRae swore by York.
" 'Marty is a terrific reporter. He's often maligned for the wrong reasons. A lot of it is simple jealousy.' And, he adds, York also suffers because he works outside the pack, asking the tough questions while others cheerlead for the home team."
It's a helluva read, in hindsight, since Seow left it open-ended as to why York, who was then 35 and had been covering sports half his life,would subject himself to such ridicule. The question remains unanswered now that he's in his 50s and he's been doing it two-thirds of his life. The only conclusion was that he had some sort of personality tick, which caused his strength -- refusing to follow the pack -- to become his weakness.

It was kind of a cautionary tale for a budding journalist. Was it worth ending up bitter, insecure, without many friends in the business, just to have stuff in that the other paper didn't have? It can happen to anyone and York is far from done.

No comments: