Jim Irsay and the two Tonys; drunk mouth?

Dateline: Tue 07 Jun 2011

Gracie Slick of rock n' roll fame once wrote that she suffered from "drunk mouth."  The anecdote involved Gracie indulging, then mouthing off to a California cop as she perched on the hood of her car, giving alcoholic lip. Not a good action plan, and one that ended in her arrest. And the realization that she had "drunk mouth." Not drunk driving, drunk mouth.

However, reading Jim Irsay, Colts owner and Everything Else in the Universe, on Twitter, gives a whole new meaning to the term drunk mouth. Thanks to Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana for being first with this. (Altho drunk mouth is entirely my own perspective).

Here's Irsay's response to Indianapolis Biz Journal's online post, since removed from IBJ (see earlier post for history). Basically, IBJ reporter Anthony Schoettle dared to comment about the windfall Irsay would get if Indy hosted the Big Ten football thingie at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Tweeted Irsay, on Monday, in response:

"BJ n little anthony, r u incompetent and irresponsible,or just plain STUPID! So eager 2 spew venom,u play the retractable fool . . .

"Notice how little anthony brings my name into false negative light,while leaving my friend Herb Simon out of his misrepresentation."


Here's the link to Irsay's Twitter, an endless and self-indulgent boring experience:


which is entertaining reading, if you like stuff like Texts from Last Night.


I am a fan of the latter, but Irsay puts drunk mouth texts into a whole new category. Maybe he needs to get back on his program? Or NOT INDULGE, as the wise old Indian told Carlos Castenada. "You indulge yourself too much," the old Indian told the writer, with measured contempt. Read the Castenada books, if you want more.

Anyhow, the whole Irsay incident/response is a reminder of the virtue of humility, and recalls one of my favorite stories from reporting days....I was at Broad Ripple Park for a Garlic Festival (circa early 1990s? Maybe 1980s).  A guy was cooking, at a live grill, with garlic. I chatted him up, then asked his name. He said it was Tony Hanslits. I knew him then as  a standup guy whose restaurant expertise/chef chops are well known.

Once he told me his name, I exclaimed, "Oh my God, you're Tony Hanslits. You're famous!"

"Nah," he said. "I'm just a fat guy who likes to cook."

Would that Irsay realized he is just a fat guy who owns a football team. Which he inherited.

Here's the link to Advance Indiana:





Josh Rogan [unverified] said:

Well it turns out that Schoettle's original post wasn't true at all.


2011-06-07 20:22:24

ruthholl [Member] said:

Thank you. That sheds some light on the whole debaucle.
I always appreciate a correction.
Still, I think Irsay is out of control, at least based on his ramblings.
If he had said what the correction said...well, that would be worthy.
Again, thank you.

2011-06-07 21:15:43

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Interesting stuff. I didn't think the Maurers would run a newspaper that retracted anything because a powerful person asked them to.

After all, if folks could get that done, what would Myra Borschoff do?

Good ole' Myra--she media-coached Jimmy during the Nora Apothecary, uh, "misdeed." Rep. Weiner could've used her advice.

2011-06-07 21:48:06

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth, I enjoyed reading your spiritual/psychological treatise on humility. Lots of wisdom and experience there.

As one of my favorite spiritual writers, Thomas Merton, pointed out: To be honest with oneself is to embrace humility. Neurosis/delusion is to believe we are what we are not - to view ourselves within the context of persona.

Or, to borrow a line from an old Firesign Theatre comedy routine:

"We're ALL Bozos on this bus."

2011-06-08 00:28:55

John M [unverified] said:

Actually, I think Irsay knows that he leads a charmed existence and has some idea of his limitations. The best example of that is that despite no football background, his dad appointed him general manager when he was 25 years old. When Bob Irsay fell ill in the mid 1990s, Jim wisely deferred to solid football guys, Bill Tobin (who already was on board) and then Bill Polian, hired in 1998. As a result, the Colts have turned from a laughingstock into one of the best-run franchises in the NFL, a model of consistency and success. In professional sports, owners who inherit their teams from their parents tend to be worse owners than their predecessors. Irsay is a rare exception to that.

Also, Ruth, I think it's pretty over the line to accuse Irsay of drunkenness simply because of his use of chatspeak. I don't type that way, even on Twitter, and find it annoying, but note that there are no obvious misspellings or fat fingers in that post. He uses 2 instead of to, r instead of are, etc., but there wasn't anything incoherent about what he said. And the bottom line is that his anger was understandable. Schoettle's post was incredibly sloppy and objectively false. It's pretty bad if a blog post is so wrong that it can't be salvaged with a correction but has to be deleted.

I'm no Irsay apologist. The LOS deal is a sweetheart deal for him and for the Colts, a direct pipeline from the taxpayers to his fat wallet. But it seems to me that your personal animus for him is getting in the way here.

2011-06-08 08:47:02

ruthholl [Member] said:

John M, you are right; it's a serious charge. I was being frivolous with the reference to Gracie Slick and drunk mouth.
But perhaps I went too far, and I regret that.
I defended Irsay's ability to run his own show after news of his addiction was made public; both Bob Kravitz and John Strauss were ready to toss the guy out, advocating for him to abandon ship, or whatever strategy would be available. I think that is nonsense. A person in recovery can run his own life and business.
I did find Irsay's Twitters silly and self-indulgent. Anthony Schoettle is a good journalist; he made a mistake, and he has corrected it. But Irsay still sounds pompous and full of himself to me, whether it's on that subject or another.
That does not mean he's acting out with his various demons (addictions). Just a strong personality.....is a nice way to say it, I guess.
I know from personal experience that the Colts PR wing is super-sensitive to any criticism. God forbid that any media should cross the Colts or make their lives here to be anything less than great for the city.
I also know there are two sides to that story.
Thank you for your constructive criticism.

2011-06-08 09:15:06

hendy [Member] said:

John M, you say you're not an Irsay apologist, but then you do that really well in your post. No one here needs to like Irsay. I don't. I find the entire Colt's franchise to be a burden on taxpayers. If they didn't have all of that subsidy, I'd have no truck or qualms with anything they did. People that live around Indianapolis have a horse in the Colts Inc. race. This puts Irsay in the fishbowl. That AS got the numbers wrong is bad or mistaken reporting-- either one deserves at minimum, the apology received.

That Irsay shoots his mouth off (grammar forgiven), is goofy. I say: Ruth hit the little red dot in the middle of the target.

2011-06-08 09:17:55

John M [unverified] said:

Well, if recognizing that the guy has any redeeming value makes me an apologist, I guess I plead guilty. Obviously, Irsay is a silver spoon, was born on third base, and is a flake. Despite all that, he is pretty good at his (inherited) job, in general and especially compared to his second generation peers.

You are correct that the way cities outbid each other for pro sports franchises is pretty sick. On the other hand, if any city in the country can argue that it's been money well-spent, it's Indy, based on the trajectory of the city since the early 1980s and the use of the Hoosier Dome and Lucas Oil Stadium to lure events and organizations and to spur downtown development.

I'm not suggesting that Irsay should be beyond criticism. He certainly shouldn't. He is among the most public of public figures in this town. I'm arguing that he and everyone else should be subjected to criticism based on reality, not based on innuendo or outright falsehoods.

2011-06-08 11:59:24

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"On the other hand, if any city in the country can argue that it's been money well-spent, it's Indy."
John, with all due respect, I don't see that this money has been well-spent.

Take a walking tour of the near east side at midnight tonight and see how much better the city is since it sold its soul to Irsay and the Simon brothers.

I suppose in saying this, I will be dissed as one of those socialists who doesn't appreciate the transcendent value of corporate welfare.

2011-06-08 13:16:35

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Whitebeard, you're wrong. This has been money well-spent.

The expanded stadium helped us land at least five larger conventions, two of which had left our city. One other convention---Hardware Wholesalers (Do It Best), comes three times a year, and was poised to go elsewhere. Those conventions alone, booked through 2016, will account for almost one-third of the money it cost to build the stadium. Those tourist dollars roll over multiple times, and provide thousands of jobs, all of which go to workers who pay taxes, etc.

I consulted with one of those organizations, which brings 25,000 persons to Indy for their show and convention. They're booked for five years, and will likely stay. Each conventioneer averages $260 a day in direct expenditures. Do the math. They flat-out loved Indy but outgrew the old facility. They hated the city they were forced to use while we expanded. Their attendees rave about Indianapolis and its warm, hospitable people.

I don't love the way the stadium was handled. But the new stadium is a plus for our city. To say nothing of the intrinsic value of having your city mentioned thousands of times a year in national media, almost always in favorable light. You cannot purchase that kind of PR.

My only regret is that we can't muster that kind of initiative and money for causes more important than football and conventions. In 30% of this city, including some pretty damned tony neighborhoods, some times you can't flush more than a few times a day because their septic tanks are saturated and the water table is too high...they're waiting on city sewers. Think Williams Creek. I can't change that.

And we had to have a federal judge tell us our jail was inhumanely over-crowded. And the Combined Sewer Overflow...the list goes on.

It seems we can only muster the vision needed for Big Ticket Items, if there's a sports team attached.

Is that the fault of the sports team? Nah.

2011-06-08 22:02:01

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Butts in the chairs to watch the 20-somethings blow out their knees and hamstrings.

Quality of life. Don't think so.

2011-06-08 23:10:30

Indy Todd [unverified] said:

Why do you keep calling Grace Slick "Gracie" over and over? I've never heard her referred to as Gracie by anyone else and she certainly doesn't go by that name. Her name is Grace!

2011-06-09 01:48:18

John M [unverified] said:

Whitebeard, I'm not ignorant of the travails of the near east side. I live in Irvington and commute through the area, by car, bus, or bike, on a daily basis. Some of it is bad, some of it isn't. I do reject the notion that the near east side would necessarily be less grim if Indy didn't have the Colts or a football stadium. The near east side isn't all blight. Neighborhoods like Cottage Home and Woodruff Place are success stories and are offshoots of downtown redevelopment, something that is closely tied to the decision to construct the Hoosier Dome and invest in downtown generally. I would guess that some residents of the near east side hold service industry jobs that would not exist if Indy were not a convention/sporting event magnet.

I don't disagree with you or TTT about priorities and so on. I do disagree that the Colts and Pacers drag down the quality of life here.

2011-06-09 09:55:41

hendy [Member] said:

Let's imagine for a moment what Indy might be like without the Colts or Pacers. Downtown real estate might be cheaper, although the Simons got their HQ real estate-- across from the State House-- for damn near free. Did/do the Simons contribute to the economy? Through paying a lot of execs some money, they indirectly do. They also indirectly contribute to the annual Xmas traffic jam in Castleton.

The downtown might not be as beautiful, and the business generated by game-day activities might not be there. The convention business might be, however- it's not tied to MSA or the Hoosier Dome---oops I mean LOS and CFH. We'd have the tax revenues that support the stadiums in our back pocket in Marion and the donut counties. We might have the infrastructure that Indy so sorely needs.

Quality of life? Ye gawds man-- the sports teams here are *entertainment*. They are NOT vital to the community. Yes, they're undoubtedly a source of pride, but they are *OPTIONAL*. Indy was founded and survived for fifteen decades without them! Yeah, it got ugly in Indy for a while-- especially when the 60's came around, and we discovered we were Alabama in our attitudes towards African Americans and therefore moved out to the surrounding counties. The manufacturing base went to hell-- Western Electric, Mallory, RCA, dozens of automobile parts plants went to the block. Why? We exported our labor to Mexico and the developing world.

Service industry jobs my ass. Let them eat f'ing cake, right?

2011-06-09 13:12:51

Pete [unverified] said:

It's sort of a false choice that's being put forth here. If the city wasn't pouring tax subsidies into the Colts, the money still wouldn't be used to fix the sewers, pave the roads, pay for cops, develop a real transit system, etc. It's been my experience that on the whole, people in Indianapolis are too stupid for words when it comes to the money that is needed to operate a city even at a minimum level.

2011-06-11 12:14:00

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