Angelo Cataldi – Vulgarian at the Gates
Of all the dung heaps that stink-up Philly sports, nothing – nothing – could be more insulting, more sleazy, more upsetting than yesterday’s condemnation by that slime, Cataldi, the WIP talk show hack. Oh, he’s odious.
He made loathsome comments on his “Morning Show” yesterday, impugning both Tim Russert and Tiger Woods. He tramped deep into the sewage of his mind, beyond his already subterranean limits of decency. He’s a slime.
Cataldi is so completely full of himself, so puffed up with a sense of his own importance, that he feels no compunction in condemning anyone at all, just for his own amusement. This Cataldi, this slime, is a real sport.
Once, about 20 years ago, Cataldi had a pedigree. Now he needs a pedicure of the mouth. Or a punch. Where he once had a measure of respect as a beat writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, now he resides in a bathtub full of his own mucous secretions.
That he’s loud and full of himself doesn’t mean he’s not entertaining. He often is. I admit it. Listening to Cataldi is a guilty pleasure. I can easily enjoy his harangues at the expense of pompous Philly sports owners, most particularly Jeffrey Lurie, and the mysterious, secretive, creepy Phillies landlords.
His transparent tirades, most often a huckster’s shout to boost ratings, are obvious. He is – and I say this with a touch of praise – a skilled ratings manipulator. And oh, is he ever a master of the tease. He is brilliant at peeling off a tasty morsel, holding it tantalizingly just out of reach, keeping us in his grasp while his bosses sell more soap and sleaze.
But yesterday, Cataldi gleefully tossed out piles of invective at Woods, complaining that he wasn’t really hurt, that he was milking his knee surgery for sympathy. Surely, Woods was faking it. All that limping? All that grimacing? Using his driver as a crutch? Oh, Tiger Woods, you’re such a phoney. And Cataldi’s new toady, slurping Hugh Douglas, along with the ever pliant Rhea Hughes, gushed in agreement. All together now: he’s faking-he’s faking-he’s faking! Na na na na na.
For anyone who somehow doesn’t know, Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open yesterday, having competed for 5 days and 91 holes on an obviously damaged and painful left knee. That he hadn’t even walked 18 holes since the Masters in April only underscores his achievement. On a day when his play was less than brilliant, when he was often doubled up in pain, Woods did what a transcendent athlete does: he persevered and somehow found a way to win.
And Cataldi? Cataldi does what a ratings whore does: he infects something good and makes it vulgar for his own egotistical purposes. It was an odorous, transparent attempt to boost ratings and draw attention to his own sad Self.
Here’s an approximation of what Cataldi said: “Can you name people like Tim Russert and Tiger Woods who can do anything and people won’t complain about them?” In other words, Russert and Woods have been so deified by the press that they can get away with any kind of bad behavior. The implication is that Russert and Woods could lie, cheat, and steal without ever having to own up to things. The further implication is that Russert and Woods are too privileged, too high and mighty to have to be accountable for their actions.
Cataldi’s remarks were revolting. The irony is that all of Cataldi’s accusations apply to Cataldi. Cataldi has never known what being an athlete is truly about. Being an athlete is about trying your best. It’s about willing yourself beyond seeming physical limits. It’s about never giving up regardless of circumstance. Sport is about the purity of competition, of finding the finest part of yourself. Of trying your best. Of playing fair. OK, I know, I know that sounds so corny, so hopelessly old fashioned, but it remains true. It will always be true. I don’t care about the users and abusers of performance enhancing drugs. They don’t negate the highest calling of sport: to give it all you have all the time. To respect the sport, to respect your opponent by playing hard and by playing fair.
But Cataldi, the slime, wouldn’t know about that. His conceit wouldn’t allow it. And so he attacked Tiger Woods for his own personal benefit and amusement. Cataldi delightedly belittled what most would agree was one of the finest moment in sports: Tiger Woods relentlessly and endlessly calling on his best, giving his best, in the most pressure packed, dire circumstances, while in visibly agonizing pain. My God, to watch Woods deal with pressure and physical pain was, in the truest sense of the word, awesome. It was awe-inspiring, a rare alchemy of genius and courage mixed together, forming a perfect harmony of mind and body. It was absolutely thrilling to see Woods, in ever deepening adversity, do exactly what he had to do to compete at his highest level – and win!
There’s more. Cataldi, the slime, in utter madness, also demeaned NBC-TV political analyst Tim Russert, the much beloved and stellar political analyst, who died of an apparent heart attack on June14th. Russert was also a great champion. To besmirch this man within days of his death is both horrifying and unforgiveable. By his own words, Cataldi reveals himself to be a man without ethics.
Cataldi, the slime, is man who says he had a breast reduction operation. Apparently, his doctor sliced away his decency, too.
THIS NOTE is being added on the evening after I wrote about Cataldi, the slime. We’ve just learned that Tiger Woods played the U.S. Open with a torn ACL AND with a double stress fracture of his left tibia. So, what do you say everybody, let’s all tune in tomorrow to Angelo and his sycophants for more accusations about Tiger and his “fraudulent” injury. Let’s listen again to how Tiger was so phony, faking all that pain just to gain our sympathy. I, for one, can’t wait for all the hijinks, frivolity, and yuk-yuk-yuks at the expense of a truly courageous athlete.