Jose de Jesus Ortiz (pictured) knows he has big shoes to fill. But judging by this weekend’s introductory column, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has chosen a journalist up to the challenge of succeeding the late Joe Strauss, who passed away last December from leukemia.
Ortiz starts off by recalling his first visit to St. Louis. He was a teenager, on his way to USO basic training, and picked up a souvenir for his mom along the way. Ortiz goes on to highlight an even more dramatic moment from those early life years:
We’ll also hold our local athletes accountable – on and off the field. For instance, we’ll have no sympathy for athletes who drive drunk. I nearly was killed by a drunken driver when I was 13, prompting a man to pace back and forth in front of me saying, “He’s going to die! He’s going to die!” as my dad cradled me in his arms while we waited for paramedics to arrive.
So, yeah, I take that selfish crime quite personally.
Ortiz has been a sports beat writer since 1997. He started out with the Long Beach Press-Telegram, covered the Mets for the Newark Star-Ledger and moved over in 2001 to the Houston Chonicle, where he focused on soccer and the Astros. He was also honored for a 2004 column criticizing the Atlanta Braves and an Atlanta judge for allowing Rafael Furcal to play in the 2004 National League Championship Series after Furcal was convicted of a DUI.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Tony La Russa Will Miss the Thoroughness of Joe Strauss
Image via: stlouistoday.com