December 1, 2006

Death by Kool Aid

An Open Letter to Tom Shatel - Sports columnist for the Omaha World Herald.

(For those of you not familiar, Tom Shatel is the fine sports columnist for the Omaha World Herald, and quite possible the single greatest figurehead for Husker myopia on earth)

Dear Mr. Shatel,

I have admired your work for many years. I can certainly sympathize with the task of having to write a thoughtful journal on sports issues while traveling the country to some of the greatest sporting events on earth. (With a nice per diem as well.) I can certainly also sympathize with the fact that you have to write to your readers. If you were to sit down at your laptop, and belt out the truth about Husker'd become an evil and bitter troll that does nothing but stir up trouble. (ie - You'd be Lee Barfknecht)

I'm not writing this to tell you how to do your job Tom...although you would think with a degree from the greatest journalism school in America, you would have learned a thing or two...but apparently you did not. You see, I don't have a problem with your technical writing style. I think your points flow clearly. I think you write with knowledge and a genuine concern for the issues you address. For that, you should be commended.

But I'm going to level with you Tom...and I'm going to put this bluntly.....If you keep chugging Husker Kool-Aid at this rate, your blood-sugar levels will reach a point of Rosie proportions. The degree of Husker myopia and homerism has reached such out-of-control levels, I actually think you need professional help. Some may have thought you had lost it when you demanded Frank Solich stay, and then 48 hours later (after he was fired), claim it was an outstanding call to oust him. However, I beg to differ. This football season, and actually the past couple of years have seen your credibility nose-dive as you weave your way in and out of various stages of blatant Husker myopia.

Once again, I completely expect the state's top sports columnist to discuss all things Husker on a regular basis. I get that. I expect it. I understand it.

But to call the upcoming Big 12 Championship game, "The biggest match up in the history of the NU-OU "rivalry".

Are you fucking crazy? Didn't these two teams meet pre-disco for National Championships? Didn't they even do it once twice in the same year? Billy Simms? Barry Switzer? Tom Osborne? Jerry Tagge? Johnny Rogers? Jamel Holloway? Seriously...have you lost your fucking mind? You are actually calling a game, who's prize includes a date with Boise State "the Biggest game in the history of the rivalry?" HUH?

I thought you had completely spilled your marbles two years ago, when you called an extra-inning Husker loss to Arizona State "the greatest College World Series game" ever played. That's OK...just ignore the game winning home run by Warren Morris in the bottom of the 9th to give a National Power a CWS title over another national power. I'm sure an early round game involved a couple of mid-seeds was just as good. (Insert rolling eyes here)

Don't get me wrong, I understand that the higher the Huskers get on the national ladder, the more glamorous your job becomes. The more games Bill Callahan wins, the greater your chance to win "business" trips to exotic locations and large bowl games. These of course mean more interviews, more face time, more stories, higher profiles etc. If they win. I get that. But for the love of all things holy, you have taken sports journalism to levels not reached since Hawk and Wimpy sat behind a microphone at White Sox games. Hell, I'm expecting your picture next to your column to sport one of those goofy ass giant yellow foam corn hats any day now. (Notice I have not even mentioned the fact that you are not a native of here, and an actual graduate of a natural enemy of all things Husker. )

I'm sure you make a very good living sir, but there wouldn't be enough money in the world to allow me to talk directly to 1.5 million Husker fans worldwide, only to slobber all over their knob and tell them how great they are. Take a cue from Joe Posnanski at the Kansas City star, whom I'm sure you know well. Joe likes to talk in flowery language, and make everything seem WAY more important than it is. But Joe will bash a team when they need it. He will discuss problems in context, and call out fans when they need to be called out. You on the other hand don't dare piss off your readers for fear you will lose access to the press lounge at Memorial Stadium, which is the only regular name gig you have on your calendar.

In conclusion, I want to congratulate you on having quite possibly the greatest job on earth. Travel to sporting events...hit an occasional deadline...tell Husker fans how great they are. Anybody who can sell their soul could probably do that in their sleep, hanging upside down with both hands tied behind his back. As a read that does not bow to all things red, I for one take great offense to your CONSTANT and NEVER ENDING mancrush on the Husker football program, and would like for you just for a second, to get your tongue out of the wet, slobber incrusted eardrum of Bill Callahan and Steve Pederson.

It's disgusting. It makes for bad reading. And it fuels the monster that is myopic Husker Nation more than probably any other not named Fiala. (At least Adrian PLAYED for them.)

On Sunday morning, when you sit behind your computer and belt out your latest love letter to Husker football...when words like "greatest game ever" and "rivalry" start filling your brain...please take a moment to put down the bong, step back, and keep things in some fucking context for once. Nebraska is a mediocre team, playing in a HORRIBLE division in a weak conference against an good-but-not-great opponent for the right to play BOISE STATE. Let's not break out the 1995 references just yet.

Kevin Kuglar, your open letter is next.

AJ - Not a fan


Blogger Husker Mike said...

Jim Minge would agree with you. I'll be interested in your comments on Kuglar, especially if you think he's too much of a homer. The real Husker psychos over at SouthPark (BRB) consider him at the other extreme, and Steve Pederson has made Kuglar persona-non-grata at his alma mater.

11:15 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

How ON EARTH could ANYBODY.....ANYBODY...think of Kuglar as anything but a homer?

He may bring up faults of the team (something Shatel never does), but he always comes back to their dominance, place-in-life etc.

I'm interested in seeing what that could be.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous bart said...

AJ - WOW..
How do you really feel???
I don't read the Omaha Weird Harold or the Lincoln Towncar Urinal but I think you are missing one.....
I'm not sure what the literacy rate is amongst the natives but I know they listen to the radio on their John Deere 4640 tractor.
Jim Rose could turn a broken port-a-potty into a barbeque for 20... There isn't enough Kool-Aid to go 'round.
The funny part is, the more smoke they blow up each others butt, the higher they get, and the farther they fall.

1:10 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

BY THE WAY!!!!!!!!

300 POSTS!

Hooray for me

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, hooray for 300 posts and only 10 different points!


6:05 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

10 must be enough. You're still here.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Bughead said...

300 aj....thats about the same amount of division 1-aa teams nebraska has played in the last 100 years. I won't use too many big numbers so the corn can understand. Maybe I should have put it in bussels.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous bhg said...

Hate to bring up a point like this, but how can Shatel be from a great journalism school and do such a krappy job of writing. Apparently he didn't learn too much in that great journalism school.

Shatel, Rose, Fiala, etc., etc., all prostitute themselves to stay in favor with Pederson. Kinda reminds me of CNN in Baghdad. Do they report what is really going on and get kicked out, or stay in Baghdad report the puff pieces, and gloat to Fox, ABC, and the like that they are in Baghdad?

Do they keep their dignity and lose their position? Apparently Shatel likes his position, and cares little about dignity.

12:56 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

Oh I don't think he's a bad writer. You missed my point.

I just think he's a kool-aid drinking sellout who sold his soul and his dignity to tittilate his red-clad readers with whacking off material, just to make himself look good.

Has nothing to do with his ability to write. Has everything to do with him being a complete whack job.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shatel started kissing up to Husker Nation as soon as he started at the OWH. The only thing he has ever criticized at NU has been basketball. And that's probably because he loves KU basketball. As far as I can remember, Shatel has never said one good thing about his alma mater.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey aj, im back again. Im a husker fan ya, but the OWH is full of shit. Show some love to some other sports fro christ sake. go mavs

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Omaha too.

I loved the Shatel piece and can't wait for Kugler's.

How about Kugler's sidekick, Mike'l Severe as well? Please? At least note him in the Kugler piece!

11:34 PM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

Didn't they even do it once twice in the same year?

You moron. OU was 6th and Nebraska was 4th that year when they rematched in the Orange Bowl. Do your homework before you post.

Husker Mike and his ilk just wet their little pink panties when you post these "kool-aid" diabtribes.. So please stop.

Kool-Aid? Oooooo.. I'm so excited I could just die - Husker Mike

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am as big of a NU fan as there is, but Shatel's bullshit is just too much. Here is a little timeline of his headlines to prove how he is in Pedersons pocket:

Nov 27th 2003: Nebraska Defeats Colorado

Shatel's headline the next day
Nov28: Solich Deserves Another Year

Then Solich is fired. And Shatels headline the next day

Nov 29: Firing Solich Right Move

Where in the hell is his integrity as a journalist?

9:17 PM  

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