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Saturday, December 26, 2009
Newsflash: Mark Titus is still funny

By Eamonn Brennan

Ohio State benchwarmer Mark Titus would be unremarkable -- another nameless, faceless short guy at the end of a college hoops bench -- were it not for his much-loved blog, Club Trillion.

In the past year, Club Trillion has managed to become the most popular player-written college hoops blog in the world. It might also be the most popular independent athlete blog in any league, anywhere. That's because Titus is whip-smart and unusually funny, and his hoops posts manage to take readers inside the life of a college hoops player, a world most of us rarely get to see. If you're not reading Club Trillion already (and if you're reading this blog, you probably are) you should be.

Why do I bring all this up? Because the New York Times's Pete Thamel did a feature and a related blog post on Titus today. The verdict? Mark Titus is hilarious, even when he's not blogging:
Matta’s favorite moment came seconds before tip-off of the tournament’s championship game in 2007.

“For what it’s worth,” Matta recalled Titus telling him as the starters took the floor, “I got five fouls to give.” Titus then pointed at the end of the bench and said, “I’ll be right down here if you need me.”

Matta cracks up while recalling the story. “It was good for me then; I needed it,” he said.

Like I said: Mark Titus is funny.

Thamel's blog post is less interested in Titus' humor than in the way his blog sets a precedent for athlete-fan communication. We've heard this story before. (Media types tend to be more obsessed about this topic than most. You can guess why.) It goes like this: Athletes don't need media middlemen anymore; fans can watch the game and see the highlights on Sportscenter, and rather than read postgame quotes in a story, they can go straight to the athlete's Twitter page for what media new-agers would call "unfiltered access." This is all true. And for pro athletes, it works well. But for college guys, the chances of Titus' example becoming widespread seem far less likely. College athletes are far more cloistered away from the media by athletic departments and their PR wings. They're protected in ways professional athletes really aren't. Matta trusts Titus to write his blog posts without "crossing any lines." How many coaches would reciprocate?

That's unfortunate, because more information is almost always a good thing. But for now, it seems likely Mark Titus will remain one of a kind. At least we have one of him.