Reusse: Old Sportswriter tries to fit in with influencers

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The Old Sportswriter (OSW) discovered a few years back that he had fallen somewhat behind in the area of popular culture when hearing that Karl-Anthony Towns' new lady friend, Jordyn Woods, was an "influencer" on social media.

It was then that OSW discovered influencer was an occupation, and apparently with excellent financial reward when attracting a proper audience — for instance, young folks who know Venmo isn't a hotshot baseball prospect who just defected from Cuba.

As this issue was explored, OSW found out there is an entire industry covering relationships among influencers and other celebrities, and Ms. Woods was in the midst of a falling out with her pal since grade school, Kylie Jenner, a Kardashian half-sister and daughter of former reality show star Caitlyn Jenner.

Anyhow, evidence of the cooling off between Jordyn and Kylie was that Jordyn did offer a birthday greeting to Kylie on a social site, but it was not nearly as warm-hearted and gushing with praise as in the past.

On Friday, OSW checked again and was relieved to discover Jordyn and Kylie had patched things over by last summer and were again in photos together.

Such gossipy machinations have been the lifeblood for OSW's friends Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs, the co-stars of the long-running "Lori & Julia Show" on myTalk 107.1 FM, part of the Hubbard conglomerate.

OSW actually trudged in as co-host a couple of times, but then as a man who is an expert on being overweight, he commented on-air about an actress' weight, and that was the end of that.

The conversations are now pre-show drop-ins when OSW is at the station. When Taylor Swift came to town in late June and put 130,000 ticketholders into the Zygidome in downtown Minneapolis over two nights, well, Barghini and Cobbs couldn't have been more impressed.

"Taylor did three hours-plus both nights, dancing constantly, and with nine rapid-fire costume changes!" Lori exclaimed.

Which means, OSW said, "I probably can't astound you then, with the information that Pablo López threw 100 pitches in a Twins start one of those nights?"

A few weeks later, with Swift in the midst of the smashing Eras Tour, came the first inklings of a potential relationship between Swift and Travis Kelce, a pair of never-married 34-year-olds.

OSW can tell you this from extensive Wikipedia research: Kelce, the Hall of Fame-bound tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, had a longtime previous relationship with Kayla Nicole … a social media influencer!

No wonder the economy is doing well: We have this entire new job field: influencers.

Lately, Swift and the big lug have been hanging out when possible, and she's been flying in from sold-out concerts for Chiefs games, and she had been getting an average of 25 seconds of TV time (by actual count) during games while celebrating in suites as Kansas City made this surprise run to another Super Bowl.

The Swifties, who OSW never knew existed until Swift came to Minneapolis at the start of summer and took over downtown, have descended on TVs waiting for those moments.

Brittany Arneson was filling in for Cobbs on Friday's show and was described by Barghini as "our real" Swift expert.

OSW dared to ask this question: "I read that her last concert of 2023 in São Paulo was 'epic, legendary.' What made it so?"

Arneson said with emotion: "I almost blacked out. I was crying. We were singing songs with her that we never had a chance to sing before. Those songs from albums that resonate through parts of our life.

"We've been singing with her since she was 15. Her audience is now from ages 5 to 60."

Barghini offered this: "From the very first game she went to, she's lifted up the NFL for us. She's completely reversed the football fun meter.

"This is her first sports boyfriend. She has stopped hanging out with those musicians and actors, guys who had their egos challenged by her popularity.

"Travis is this big, nice guy, playing as great as ever, and he enjoys her being in the spotlight. And the haters you're hearing from ... they can take a hike.

"Do you get it?"

"Of course," OSW said, "but one question: What's the name of that Braun guy she feuded with over control of her music?"

"Scooter Braun," Barghini said.

Whew, that was close. OSW thought she had said "Tooter," which was the nickname for one of his all-time favorite Twins players, Steve Braun.