The tale of a pseudo superstar

April 22, 2014 | Tony Wisniewski

I used to be the next great Baltimore media superstar.

It was the mid-2000s, I was working in the sports department at The Baltimore Sun.  I was young, handsome, brilliant, and knowledgeable.  I was the type of sport-laden “mind that would come along once, maybe twice in a generation”—a self-describing line from The Big Bang Theory’s Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Alas, Sheldon Cooper and I have a lot in common—as our stories are mere fiction, derived from the type of creative make-believe that convinced someone like Anita Marks into promoting herself as a former “professional quarterback.”

I was never the next superstar at The Baltimore Sun, or anywhere else in Baltimore.  In fact, I’m fortunate to even be able to call myself a former media member—it’s an accomplishment that many yearn for, but rarely obtain.

Nearly a decade after I sat in The Sun’s news room answering the rapid-fire high school sports score-reporting line , I finally have come to terms with the fact that I have nothing to show for my efforts other than a shared byline on a small story about Baltimore’s Jessica Long.

Now, at 30, I’m no longer young.  Married, with budding specks of gray invading my mop, and more than several extra pounds protruding over my belt, it’s up for debate whether I’m still handsome.  And years removed from any sort of blog writing or sports reporting for websites like Examiner, Bugs and Cranks, and a dozen or so self-created failures, I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone—other than close friends and family—who believe I know jack about Baltimore sports.

But here I am, back at it, thanks to the kick-in-the-pants from my buddy, Will, a fella has forgotten more about local sports than I could ever hope to know.

Will and I remember a time when Baltimore media boasted legendary media members like John Steadman, John Eisenberg, Ken Rosenthal, Vince Bagli, and Chuck Thompson.  These days, most Baltimore media outlets—with the exception of a few (WNST being the frontrunner) have forgotten the idea of what “local” means—lack the local passion and historical firepower to opine about anything other than less-than-stellar and dimwitted attempts to discern the “here and now,” with little recollection of what it was like “then and when.”

Don’t get me wrong, here and now is king when it comes to media—but there’s a thing called context, and it means a heck of a lot when generating conversation with a fan-base as knowledgeable, excitable, and pleasantly irrational as the one here Charm City.

A guy like me remembers the “when,” and lives the “now.”  And it’s this, and this alone, that has thrust me into coming back and being a member of local sports media.

If I have to do it on my own, so be it—which is why I’ll be writing at BaltimoreSportsWiz.com.  But, truth be told, left up to me, I’ll choose to bring whatever  talent I have left from my days a delusional up-and-comer in the Baltimore sports world to WNST.net and WNST 1570AM, where I’m a member of the “Baltimore Sports Media Superstar” competition.

I’ve heard some of the other contestants who are up for the gig on the WNST Audio Vault.  Some are really good, others are really passionate, and I have no idea if I’ll be lucky enough to even be in contention.  And that’s OK because I’ve come to realize that I’ve missed being immersed in the local sports conversation, and it’s time to jump back in.

With an opportunity like WNST’s contest, and a little bit of remaining God-given ability, there’s no reason I can’t fulfill what I once thought I was—a Baltimore sports media superstar.

But for real this time, not just make-believe.

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