JOE GROSS’ SWAN SONG: 1573 WORDS AND THE “I’s” HAVE IT ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, November 15, 2007


First it was Eric Smith and now, drum roll please, the exit of Joe Gross. Thank You Capital Editors for responding to CP’s call to retire them (okay--so I am being presumptuous…). Perhaps now we can get some meaningful columnists to add to Eric Hartley’s new column. Eric Smith and Joe Gross needed to be put out to pasture and the early retirement buyout made it happen. Here’s to them--and us! But first, we could not let Joe go without examining his last column.
One of CP’s loyal readers asked, “Did you read Gross's retirement column? I’ve never seen so many "I"'s, and thought he was going to end with ‘I am the greatest!’”
Well thanks, and now CP is pleased to report that it’s true. Joe’s inanities will hopefully never again grace the pages of The Capital. If we are to believe Joe, the reason the paper is a success is because of him. In a typical rambling and almost incoherently narcissistic tome of 1573 words, Joe uses the pronoun “I” 20 times--and that’s only in the first 13 paragraphs. He writes “I’m” and “I’ve” more times than I care to count.
Click here
if you wish to count the “I’s” and learn how Joe single-handedly, well, pretty much did everything, with the possible exception of saving the world. Or maybe he did that too. At least Eric was self-deprecating in his last column.
Here are a few of Joe's tidbits:

“I like to think that I played a major role in helping The Capital grow from the 18,000 circulation when I arrived to the 49,000 it reached a few years ago. And during the early years I also single-handedly put together the sports sections in the Maryland Gazette.
I worked to make the sports sections larger and more comprehensive than they had ever been. I was the first to cover Navy road games, I was the first Capital sports writer to cover the Orioles, Colts and Redskins on a regular basis. Long before Gary Jobson came to the Annapolis area, I initiated sailing coverage, something that has grown to mammoth proportions.”

He likens himself to Gary Jobson! And more…

“Being an opinionated person helped me try to get the attention of local readers by writing more than puff and fluff.”

Sure Joe, as if this column is not the crowning achievement, the Swan Song of your huff and puff. Did that sentence even make sense, or exhibit proper English?
Try this one, which by the way, is rambling but not as rambling as many of his sentences:

“The high school coverage was and is the life's blood of The Capital. I believe that covering the high school athletes and seeing them grow into adulthood as college or professional athletes or, more importantly, to become responsible members of the community is the most rewarding thing I've done, though to some it may not seem the most glamorous.”

Do CP readers agree that high school sports is the “lifeblood” of our local newspaper? How about that long-winded sentence? Is Joe saying he takes credit for writing about, or credit for the success of these athletes?

It gets worse. After tooting his own horn for one endless sentence and paragraph followed by another, he writes:

"From the old typewriter and variety of computers have come more than 10,000 stories, more than 2,000 columns and, if I may toot my own horn, a shelf full of trophies, plaques and certificates for stories deemed to be the best written in Maryland in their respective categories."

Yes Joe, of course you may toot your own horn. What else do you do? What more can anyone say about the most illustrious sports writer, indeed columnist, and perhaps greatest writer, if not human being that has ever lived? How could we possibly say enough or do enough to show our appreciation for Joe?
Hmmm…..I’m thinking…..

Only a few hours after Joe's column appeared, a writer sent in a comment to The Capital:
"Fair winds and following seas to you. What an amazing career and life of service to your readers. How about writing a book about the life of a sportswriter now that you have the time?"

Gee--is CP the only one who thinks Joe sent this letter in? It sounds just like him, writing about him. He better hurry before an unauthorized version is published. Other sportswriters have told CP that they are considering writing a book about Joe's lies, er I mean, Joe's life.


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