Positive Vibes Only
I’ve been thinking all week about what I’d write for my last blog at Barstool Sports.
Weird to say. Today is my last day at the Pirate Ship.
Man, everything happened so fast. Fast to come. Fast to go. What a whirlwind. It really wasn’t in my plans to leave, and despite what the incels on Twitter/comment section might think, I was never going anywhere. I could have stayed as long as I wanted being the black hat of the company.
Someone had to be the Iron Sheik.
I didn’t intend on it be a “heel” tbh. Kind of funny that the girl from a newspaper company was too controversial for the pirate ship at times. Most people outside of this company actually consider me to be outgoing, warm and amicable with a goal of making people laugh (sometimes even at my expense). I’m for sure playfully honest and blunt. A ball buster? No doubt. Sometimes people take that the wrong way of course. But villainous? Never heard that one.
In fact that was the entire intention behind the sweatshirt I wore on my first picture day. Good vibes. Warm energy.
Narrator: there would not be positive vibes only. There would be lots of negative vibes too.
LOL. That’s what made this shit such a wild ride. And at times, an emotional one, too.
Playing a villain when you’re not one is hard work.
The great benefit though, of working at Barstool, probably the most underrated one too, is the ability to hone your voice and do whatever you want, inside and outside of the walls of HQ. Pretty rare. I felt free to be myself while working for this company in a way no other place would allow. I mean where else can you feel unencumbered enough to attend a sex party without the fear of being outed and fired/suspended? Worst case, at this company it just becomes a part of content for a week or two.
And then an opportunity I couldn’t have imagined for myself popped up. To host a daily gambling show, do radio for the biggest sports talk radio stations in the country, and still have the flexibility to pursue other TV gigs not just in sports but in entertainment.
And not just host like Molly Querim or any other woman that acts as an airline traffic controller (no shade to traditional hosts) but be the “cringey” unapologetic try-hard a small but very vocal part of this fan base considers me as… Up front and in your face. Insufferably opinionated and wildly overconfident. Oh yes, and with an innate ability to infuriate people and ENTIRE fanbases with just a few words.
I mean a Barstool producer from Philly told me he spent almost an entire family dinner talking about… me and Mr. Balloon Hands… Ben Simmons.
“Who is this Trysta girl because I hate her.”
My new bosses’ ask of me was simply this:
“All we want is you to be yourself and to be happy. We’ve seen the Barstool you. We don’t want to change that.”
That was something I just couldn’t pass up no matter how much I wanted to stay here long term.
The chance to be a “hot take merchant” (as my erstwhile editor Coley Mick likes to so fondly call me) worked out pretty well for Stephen A and Skip… and I just couldn’t turn the offer down.
Back to my last blog…
I thought about a blog listing the ten things I learned at Barstool, the first of them being that Smitty and Nate (Smate) are actually twins that were separated at birth, and along with ClickBaitSmit create the Unholy Trinity of Barstool Sports. Smitty the father, Nate the son, and CBS the unholy ghost. Beaten down by life, barking at shadows in the night, obsessed with what others are doing because daddy doesn’t love them and will never love them, no matter how much they try and find irrelevant things to tattle about to try and gain approval that will never, ever come.
Doesn’t that make you kind of sad?
I mean I always got sad for them, because counting blogs from other people or dissecting their brand new YouTube account isn’t good content nor is it a fulfilling way to go about your workday (especially coming from someone like Smitty, who wrote one blog every other day the entire month of July, but who’s counting?).
As an aside, the one piece of advice I have for anyone in the content game is that pandering to the most toxic portion of your existing audience does not help you grow a new one, but in fact shrinks the one you already have. Toxicity breeds more toxicity. And if you spend enough time around demons, eventually you become one yourself.
Ultimately, I didn’t think that pointing out Smitty and his alter ego have written TEN blogs about me in the past couple months was a good idea, because hey, what good would that do? Credit to me for going high when they go low. I could have also gone deep into the annals of Barstool history to find the hundreds of times that daddy expressed his loathing of Adam Smith and Eric Nathan but despite my vengeful instincts, I do try every day to be “positive vibes only.” Because no matter how much you point out hypocrisy, or punch back, dragging others through that gutter only makes you feel better for like two seconds until you feel bad again. Then like an addict, you have to do it again to feel alive.
I’m sure there are people who understand that feeling. It’s an empty well of unfulfillment that no amount of mud tossing will fill.
In the end, I decided to go the sentimental route and talk about how much I’ve loved my time at this company.
I’m proud of what I’ve done here. I’m proud of who I’ve become here. And I’m really proud to say the Dave Portnoy hand-selected me to work here. And I’m thrilled that when I decided to go, he remained as supportive and kind as the day that he hired me.
In my 21 months, I wrote almost 500 blogs, launched, wrote, and produced 75 episodes of an NBA podcast, created 4 seasons of Stool Slang (a mini-documentary series about Barstool phrases and moments in history), made an interview series with athletes and entertainers, originated a Barstool employee gameshow (The first BFFs) and another series on old takes our employees had on Twitter, snatched Brandon Walker’s ankles in one-on-one (that wasn’t really hard) along with playing other Barstool employees in Let Her Shoot until Covid shut it down, hosted a radio show on SiriusXM with Mike Portnoy and Cousin Murray and lastly, what I’m most proud of? Figuring out fucking TikTok.
To create something from nothing is really cool. Almost 100k followers in 8 months when I had never even used it before. I was afraid of the platform and now I can’t get enough.
You can call me a lot of things, but unproductive/lazy isn’t one of them.
My favorite moment? Hosting Barstool Radio with Dave and Riggs and Frankie when Martha Stewart accidentally gave out the number to BSR on her Sirius show. And we spent two hours answering questions about Thanksgiving recipes, as I furiously googled answers on my phone and handed it to Dave so he could problem-solve Marge from Sioux Falls’ gravy recipe live on the air.
Other high spots? Doing an interview on The Cousins with the head of the Washington Post’s video production who was on the ground during the Capitol riots the day before, being an inaugural cast member of Barstool Survivor, my dog attacking Nate for no reason, losing in DRAMATIC fashion in Jenga on a two-handed foul, throwing my last cornhole match because I wanted to savor my last moments, the Sunday Sermons, working with Will and Taylor and the Bussin’ with the Boys gang, playing golf with Dave’s parents in the Barstool Classic, and having American Thanksgiving with Spanish Stoolies in Madrid. I could go on and on. So many great memories that I’ll never forget.
Truthfully, there are also some things I do regret. See, I’m more self aware than you give me credit for. That Nash headline was a trainwreck. I think about that all the time and wish I could go back and do it differently. The Puerto Rico blog, while funny and savage (and I really didn’t mean it to be mean spirited) wasn't my best, most PVO moment and hurt a couple of people I barely knew while they were on their vacation.To Daniela and Jetski, I’m really sorry and I hope you can forgive me. Also, from the clouds I tweeted an idiotic thing in an attempt to be cheeky about someone here, immediately regretted it, deleted it and apologized. Big T is the only person at Barstool I ever came after unprovoked and I can say pretty confidently, we resolved it and are on good terms now.
Do I regret trolling Ben Simmons, and the delusional fanbases of the Sixers, the Celtics and the (not so delusional) Bucks?
Absolutely fucking not.
My Ben Simmons' take was spot on and came to fruition on the biggest stage possible for the Sixers which also coincided with a fuck you scream from the depths of my soul that will live in Barstool lore forever. Moreso though, without “Mr. Balloon Hands,” I’m 100% sure I don’t get the opportunity to be on WFAN, 670 The Score, WEEI and WIP. It’s what the top bosses there said put me squarely on their radar.
The universe is undefeated. Karma is real. And it’s pretty perfect that the moment I divulged I was leaving Barstool was the exact moment this Mr. Balloon Hands breaking news hit our timelines:
Oh my god. What a bum. How fucking perfect.
It started here:
And ended with people in Philly (and New York and Chicago and in virtually every major market in America) getting a chance to hate me up close and personal starting VERY soon.
And lastly, do I regret writing all those “boring ass” gambling blogs about the WNBA or wagering eight units on the Jazz in the Ben Simmons “statement game”?
Well, I won that bet so, no. But also, since I’m now hosting a flagship gambling show five nights a week… I’d say overwhelmingly, FUCK NO.
And for those that forget, I gave internal doubters my betting slips on many occasions so they knew my bets were real. Find a new slant.
Remember kiddies… ALWAYS keep the receipts.
So thanks to the friends I made here (and yes there are a lot of them). Thanks to the enemies I made here who raised my profile enormously. Thanks to the snakes in the grass that smiled in my face and talked shit behind my back and will probably keep tuning in wherever I go. I know who you all are, even the “nice” ones. Thanks to Erika for pushing me to lean into the villain role.
But most of all, an enormous thanks to Dave for creating this incredible factory of bizarre and beautiful content that is almost impossible to describe to anyone, not on the inside. There will never be another Dave Portnoy, and it will always be one of my greatest honors to not only work for him, but to call him a friend. I feel almost exactly the same way as Stu Feiner does about this man. I’d do almost anything for him.
He’d for sure be the first name on my invite list if I had a Barstool going away party but you know I’m not going to.
If you can’t tell, I’m going to miss it here and I’ll continue rooting for this company’s success to the moon and beyond.
Thank you for the ride. Looking forward to what’s next.
PS For the many people who actively worked and rooted for the demise of This League? Guess what? Stay tuned, this pod is coming with me. And you’ll get a LOT more chances to hate me this upcoming season. Same channel, same place, different name. But the same THIS LEEEAGUUUEEEE energy after every segment.
PSS If you think I’ve “retired” from Barstool Sports and will never be back? You don’t know Dave Portnoy. Just remember that “someone has got to wear the black hat.” Playing the villain isn’t easy but it can sure be lucrative. And remember, I now own the Philly Gambling House and live rent-free in the Philly crew's head from now until forever…
PSSS I’ll leave you with this quote that your fearless leader has used to describe me a few times now:
“Somebody has to wear the black hat and give the audience someone to shake their fists at. They want someone to hate. And if that's what you want to pay me to do, I'm happy to do it!”
Drama moves the needle. It’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later.