Thursday, April 27, 2006

Here's a Column for That Guy Who Eats Jalapenos, Cactus and Hot Cheese On His 9-Grain Toast Every Morning, And All Of His Pals

This column is for the guy I know who eats jalapeno peppers, cactus and hot cheese on two slices of 9-grain toast every morning:

Bud Appleby, a former Des Moines Register writer and editor, sent the following e-mail in response to one I received from Igor from Independence:


"I think Igor from Independence must be in a league by himself. He pointed out something stupid he saw in the last paragraph of a Sean Keeler column. I wasn't aware that anybody ever read as far as the last paragraph of any of his columns. I've never been able to get past the first two or three myself.

"On a similar matter, there were some letters to the editor the other day complaining about a cheap shot in a David Yepsen column. For crying out loud, they were reading David Yepsen. What did the expect to find there? Hockey scores?"

Bud Appleby
Des Moines

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I guess these are tough times for the Register's columnists. Igor from Independence had written earlier, urging Buck Turnbull and me to start editing Keeler's sports columns in the Register because he had found an error that survived all editions in the Sunday paper. I said I had more important things to do. Turnbull must have known I was going to ask him to consider Igor's request because he was a no-show at this week's sportswriters' lunch at the Chinese restaurant. Meanwhile, I'll be checking Yepsen's columns to see if there are any NHL scores in them].

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A man identified as "Double-U Vaclav" of suburban Garnavillo had a question in his e-mail.

"Do newspapers require their sportswriters to answer readers' inquiries?" Double-U Vaclav asked.

"I e-mailed Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch with a question regarding the Cardinals' game last Sunday with the Chicago Cubs. Cardinal players, undoubtedly at the urging of manager Tony LaRussa, asked the umpires to inspect the baseball thrown by the Cubs' Greg Maddux.

"The umps didn't find spit, grease, hair oil or tobacco juice on the ball, nor was there any hint that Maddux, 40, had sandpaper in his glove so he could 'doctor' the ball.

"But Strauss didn't put anything in his game article or sidebars about Maddux and the umpires -- as though nothing had taken place. Yet, John Kruk and his cronies on ESPN's 'Baseball Tonight' made a big deal out of the umps inspecting the baseball. They said Maddux 'had gotten into the heads of LaRussa and his crybaby players.'

"House come Strauss didn't write anything about that brouhaha? Is he in LaRussa's pocket? By ignoring my e-mail, I gotta think Strauss is on the Cardinals' payroll. I told Strauss -- who answered an e-mail of mine one other time -- that I live too far from St. Louis to be able to afford $2.75-a-gallon gas so I can drive to the Cardinals' games. His reports are what I depend on for my news.

"Now, before you think this is a bush-league e-mail from corn country, I've got nothing against Big Bernie Miklasz, who writes sports columns for the Post-Dispatch. He answers me every time I send him an e-mail I think I piss him off with a few of my questions -- especially when the Cardinals lose to the Cubs -- but he always gets right back to me. He's my pick to be Missouri's Sportswriter of the Year."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Listen, Double-U Vaclav, if I were running a newspaper, I'd have all of my reporters and editors answering readers' e-mails. There are fewer and fewer newspaper readers every day, so the sportswriters had better do all they can to please them. Maybe you caught Joe Strauss on a bad day. Or maybe he didn't have time to answer your e-mail. Could be he was too busy getting a haircut so he could be on Channel 40 this week. I'm glad you like Bernie Miklasz's columns. He's a pretty reader-savvy guy, and I'm glad he answers your e-mails -- even though he's on TV a lot, too].

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[MORE OF RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Pictured are Des Moines Register sports columnist Sean Keeler on the lower right; Register political columnist David Yepsen on the lower left; St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball reporter Joe Strauss on the middle right and Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bernie Miklasz on the middle left. Igor from Independence was hoping to send me a current photo of himself, but those plans had to be scrapped when he ran out of film for his 1932-version Speed Graphic [upper left]. So I did the next-best thing and used a photo at the upper right of the column of another man named Igor. It's Igor Stravinsky, the famous Russian music composer who died in 1971. When he wasn't writing music, Stravinsky was rumored to be a very astute media critic].