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Michael Kay and Phil Mushnick Exchange Jabs For What Is Hopefully The Final Time

The Michael Kay-Phil Mushnick soap opera was more petty than even the most cynical observer could have guessed.

What began with vague accusations from each party on Friday became a bit clearer today as both men addressed the dispute on their respective mediums.

In print, Mushnick provided context to his accusations that Kay “lifted” ideas from print sportswriters. Basically, Kay said something last month – that ESPN personality Dave Winfield is better on the radio than he is on TV – that was similar to what Mushnick had written four days earlier.

“Not only was Kay’s thought the same, the order of how he presented it corresponded to what I’d written,” Mushnick wrote. “Remarkable coincidence? Not a chance.”

For what it’s worth here is a comparison of the two Winfield analyses, side-by-side:

Mushnick (May 23rd):

“How can Dave Winfield as an ESPN studio panel baseball analyst be so bad, yet, this past Thursday with Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN, be so good? That’s the problem when you’re part of a panel, and you get only two or three shots to be heard; the pressure to sound good can make a mess of you.”

Kay (May 27th):

“I love him on the radio because he has a lot more time to say his stuff because on TV it’s so, you know, truncated. Boom, boom, boom. Get it out quickly, and here he could say a lot of his stuff.”

Mushnick reported in today’s column that he requested a copy of the tape from ESPN 1050 G.M. Dave Roberts over the weekend but was denied.

So Kay played the tape today and repeatedly denied he “stole” the idea. He said he’s discussed the topic often on “background.”

First of all, are these the kinds of “ideas” that Mushnick takes particular pride in having? If so, I’ll continue not to read his column.

Second of all, the context for Mushnick’s criticism seemed like way too petty a thing to get upset about – that’s probably why he didn’t bother providing it initially. The “theft” charge by itself, on the other hand, was significant.

But here’s another thing: Did Kay read Mushnick’s column? He never mentions if he did and he certainly doesn’t deny it. If he read it – of course he did, right? – it’s fair to say that the comments, at the very least, strengthened a thought he’d independently formed about Winfield.

How Kay attributes the evolution of thought processes is up to his own journalistic standards – talk radio is notoriously loose with it – but if it was such an insignificant thing to accuse someone over – which Kay himself stated incredulously- why not just fess up to having read it in the first place? Ego.

Kay points out something that castes Mushnick in an in an even worse light. While Mushnick was busy being an old school newspaper man, dialing Roberts for a bricks-and-mortar copy of the May 27th show, he could have listened to it online on ESPN’s 1050 web site.

So Mushnick is either as lazy as Kay says or he’s incompetent with the internet. [Photo via Flickr]

 

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