John Bolaris’s Latest Twitter Freakout
There are a few things you can count on these days — taxes, talk of whether Donovan McNabb puked in the Super Bowl, and John Bolaris Twitter freakouts. Over the weekend, the between-gigs meteorologist/social media addict issued the following statement:
One sportscaster in town,who I did respect until I had the pleasure of being totally disrespected by & humiliated,very nice MB
— JOHN BOLARIS (@JohnBolaris) July 6, 2013
That’s usually called a “blind item” in the gossip biz, save for one detail — Bolaris mentioned the initials of the offending sportscaster (subtle, he is not). It didn’t take long for his followers to ask whether the “MB” in question is Comcast SportsNet anchor and WIP host Michael Barkann, which Bolaris quickly confirmed. What, we wondered, could have offended the former Fox 29 weatherman, who was last seen threatening to “kick the loser ass” of a former business partner? Can this burned bridge be rebuilt? Should Barkann hire a bodyguard?
The beef dates back to just before the start of the U.S. Open in Merion last month, when Barkann and his WIP co-host, Ike Reese, were discussing the ominous weather forecast and its possible effect on the tournament. Bolaris — whose reaction to the words “weather,” “forecast” and “on-air” is Pavlovian — called in to offer his take just before Mike and Ike wrapped up at 1 p.m. He spoke with a producer and Barkann, thinking Barkann would relay his comments to their listeners. Alas, the show ended with no Bolaris shout-out.
That led to this tweet from Bolaris’s fiancée and frequent Twitter accomplice, Erica Smitheman:
@MBarkannCSN NO RESPECT! For Merion forecast! You are all class…my fiance gave you a detail forecast,you shut him down.sorry listen 4 Ike
— Erica Smitheman (@EricaSmitheman) June 12, 2013
Barkann’s only response came on the air, saying that he’d simply forgotten to mention Bolaris’s forecast since it was so close to signoff that wasn’t looking to offend J-Bo or his lady. So why, weeks later, did Bolaris decide to bring this up again?
“It’s been bothering me,” he told me by phone. “[Barkann] acted like he was writing down what I was saying — ‘Uh-huh, yeah, yeah, OK.’ I analyze computer models and spend time on it for the listeners. To be humiliated and act like he’s writing it down — dude, just tell me you don’t want me to give you the forecast. He could have said it’s going to be tight, or that I’m uneasy putting you on the air. If I was still on TV, he would have put me on.”
Bolaris added that he’d previously had a good relationship with Barkann. “I remember when Michael wanted to get on ’MMR. I got him on ’MMR so he could yap. I never had a qualm with him.” Striving to provide a little perspective on the subject, Bolaris admits that “in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing.” Barkann seems to agree, as neither he nor Comcast SportsNet would comment on The Forecast That Never Was and the ensuing one-sided Twitter war.
Asked whether this burned bridge could ever be rebuilt, Bolaris said with a laugh, “I guess we gotta wait for the next U.S. Open.” That should give Barkann about 30 years to prepare for round two.