Phil Mushnick’s reign as the worst sportswriter in New York may have come to an end. The Daily News has a strong contender for the title. He is a specimen named Chuck Modiano.
Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with their actual writing abilities; Muchnick and Modiano are perfectly fine writers. This is all about the idiotic views they both have.
You can always tell a Phil Mushnick story — the tease headline in the New York Post is just ridiculous. I usually don’t click on them, but sometimes I get tricked and get quite angry at myself for giving him a page read.
Now comes this Chuck Modiano character. According to an online bio, Modiano is “dedicated to promoting equity in sports media coverage,” which means he is obsessed with race and will find racial inequality even if there is none.
His latest diatribe is an excellent example. It is about the recent “30 for 30” about Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Modiano makes an excellent point, which I also thought while watching it, that there really was nothing new in the documentary. We all know about the missed parade and the arrests and the half-hearted suicide attempts. So why bother telling the story again? Ratings, probably. Not in Modiano’s flawed mind — he blames it on race.
Basically, Modiano says it is another example of demonizing black people. He points out there are no documentaries about the 1986 Mets “Scum Bunch” of Doug Sisk, Danny Heep and Jesse Orosco. And no one goes on and on about Paul Molitor’s “very serious cocaine addiction.” The suggestion is because they are white (well, except for Orosco).
Modiano writes, “you really had to be there to understand the excitement of a Gooden start in 1984 and ’85,” implying that he was indeed there. If he truly were, he would know why the Gooden and Strawberry story is still being told 30 years after the fact. Gooden and Strawberry were special. Gooden was going to be one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Strawberry was going to hit 600 home runs and be an all-time great. But it didn’t happen. And we are still trying to come to grips with why it didn’t. This is a story about wasted talent — talent at the highest levels — and that’s why we are obsessed with them. The fact that they are black has nothing to do with it.
If this was Modiano’s only off-base opinion, I could understand. But like Mushnick, he consistently takes the most asinine view on things. Here are some other column topics:
— Ichiro Suzuki is the real “hit king” because he would have had 4,600 hits if he played his entire career in the major leagues.
— Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hitting streak is invalid because he did not have to face black pitchers.
— Maria Sharapova gets a pass for her PED use, but if it were Serena Williams…
— The federal drug crackdown following the death of Len Bias was racially motivated.
It should not be a shock that the once proud Daily News employs someone like Chuck Modiano. This is the same clickbait website masquerading as a newspaper that also has something called a “Liberal Redneck” correspondent and never met a Kardashian story it didn’t like.
Fortunately, Modiano’s columns appear only sporadically, so his nonsense is reasonably easy to avoid. But if he starts to write regularly, we’ll all have to learn how to spot them and quickly click on something that makes sense.