Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lazy Is As Lazy Does

We read with interest and some sadness about the upcoming layoffs at the Beacon Journal in Akron. According to the Beacon's own story, buried as it was in their business section, at least 11 reporters will lose their job. Which got us to thinking, maybe the Plain Dealer can finally find someone, anyone, to take Roger Brown's job.

There is much to gripe about here when it comes to Brown, from his smug mug shot to his catty, almost bitchy demeanor. But the biggest problem, really, is that he's just plain lazy. Today's column in the Plain Dealer is merely exhibit 2384. He muses, for example, that "some folks" are privately wondering whether OSU quarterback Troy Smith can handle the pressure that accompanies the expectations for the Buckeyes and Smith. Well, who exactly are these "folks"? Brown does nothing whatsoever to identify whether its "folks" on the OSU staff or the "folks" who gather at his dry cleaners. The former would be a concern, the latter would be humorous. The more important question is why the empty heads that edit the PD sports pages let Brown get away with such laziness.

But this was hardly the most egregious example in even today's column. We chuckled, for example, at his attempt to somehow pin the Tribe's troubles on the fact that they don't have any former managers (save Joel Skinner who has very limited managerial experience) on their coaching staff. To "prove" his point he notes that playoff contenders such as Oakland, Detroit, San Diego, the Mets and the Yankees all have at least one ex-manager on the coaching staff. Brown surmises that having these kind of "folks" on the staff would supply both Wedge and Shapiro with much needed perspective.

But unless we're wrong, Brown's comment is only true at the moment and not true, generally. As we recall, Buddy Bell served as Wedge's bench coach until called into battle in Kansas City. Mike Hargrove was also back with the Indians for a brief time before landing the Seattle job. But that's the point, isn't it? When the Indians have had former managers on their staff, they've been managers with some viability, which is why they were snatched up by other teams. All of the examples Brown gives are ex-managers who have absolutely no shot at managing again. How having failed washouts on the coaching staff would somehow magically transform the world's worst bullpen remains a mystery to us. But don't look for Brown to explain. That would require analysis, which is in short supply each time his column appears.

Finally, Brown reports that former Akron Hoban running back Tyrell Sutton is becoming the face of Northwestern football as he has been prominently featured on billboards around the Windy City touting season tickets to Wildcats games. If we're not mistaken, and we're not, this item was reported weeks ago in the Beacon Journal. Even Brown must have been embarrassed to "report" this as if it was his own work, given that he placed this item at the end of the column.

Again we ask, why do the empty-headed editors let Brown get away with this kind of laziness? Surely the dwindling subscriber base at the PD deserves better. Surely there is someone being laid off at the Beacon Journal who would actually bring some enterprise to the role that Brown has been asked to serve. If not then surely even blank space where the Brown column formerly appeared would be an improvement.

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