Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bill Simmons- Still Dumb, Still a Hypocrite

Ho hum. This is all I could find to complain about on teh interwebs tonight, and it's pretty standard stuff. But I must continue my mission to make all four of our readers (note the plummeting BallHype ranking, down more than 100 spots in just 2 weeks! We need to get linked on The Big Lead again) hate The Sports Guy just as much as I do.

Go ahead, Bill. Tell me about unfortunate teams and annoying fans.

Which brings us to the difference between suffering and insufferable. When Celtics fans like me were pulling the woe-is-us routine after last May's NBA lottery, outsiders found it distasteful that any fan base that had been fortunate enough to have enjoyed the Russell, Havlicek and Bird eras could complain about anything. In our defense, it was almost worse to have lived the high life (16 titles) before falling on hard times (14 mostly terrible years) than never to have lived the high life at all.

No. No, no, no, no. That's not a defense. It's funny, this paragraph comes at the end of a long segment in which Bill acknowledges that fans of the Bills, Pirates, Blazers, have basically nothing positive to hang their hats on in the last 20 years. Which is great. Good to hear him admit that, especially in the context of his (until this season) constant bitching about the Celtics. Yet at the same time, here he is claiming it's "almost worse" to be a Celtics fan. This is a consistent pattern frequently repeated by Simmons- even when he's stumbling towards being right, he inevitably careens into Boston-homerism mode and ends up being hideously wrong.

We knew what we were missing: big playoff games, the sound of a sold-out crowd, rooting for a franchise that meant something.

Whereas... fans crappy teams have no idea what that kind of environment is like. It's not as if, you know, they can watch other teams enjoy those things on television basically each and every fucking night of the entire year (minus the playoff games, which can only be watched on like 75 or so fucking nights of the entire year). Go ahead, ask a Royals fan to describe a playoff game. See if they can tell you what a packed, loud, baseball stadium looks and sounds like. I'm guessing they have more than a vague understanding of one thanks to TBS and FOX. Now, granted, very few if any of them have probably ever seen such a game in person and felt the energy that accompanies it. But what percentage of Red Sox or Yankee fans have been to a playoff game? Two? One? Probably less than that. So their understanding as a group isn't that much more sophisticated. They've just had the pleasure of knowing their team was involved in the big games several times over the course of the past 15 years or so, whereas the Royals fans do not. But it doesn't mean the latter "don't know what they're missing." They have brains and imaginations. I'm sure they can put two and two together and come up with a vague idea of what a Royals playoff game would be like.

And because there were more of us, our suffering made us loud -- and, yes, insufferable.

Thank you. See, here he is, on the doorstep of admitting something that's long overdue. And yet, he still manages to blow it:

Same goes for Knicks fans now. In a sports world that is increasingly defined by big money and big markets, the Knicks play in the richest, biggest market of all.

This is true. But Bill's favorite teams play in the 5th largest market in the US (as of 2004, according to this website). And of course they also have legions and legions of bandwagon fans nationwide (arguably more than New York or any other city's teams), not to mention the world's largest and most influential sports network in their back pocket. So it's not much of a different situation.

You can't drown out their fans and can't reason with them, so don't even try. They will just have to figure out for themselves that they're lucky they don't live in Buffalo or Pittsburgh, where nobody hears you at all.

This is the ambiguous ending to the piece. Is he saying that he realizes the exact same thing applies to Boston fans, so maybe they need to shut the fuck up every once in a while if their precious Celtics don't go to the NBA Finals for a whole twenty years? Or worse, if their beloved "Patties" can't win the Super Bowl every single year (see Simmons's sour grapes/woe is us analysis of last January's AFC Championship Game)? If so, great. But this statement is too vague to be purposely vague. It's like he admitted earlier in the article that big market/popular teams get a disproportionate amount of press... but once he arrives at its conclusion, he feels it's necessary to make a distinction between New York fans the rest of those fans that like popular teams. Assuming that's the case, then this flagrantly obvious and glaring piece of hypocrisy has somehow slipped from his brain to his fingers to your computer screen undetected. It's truly astonishing that this is America's most popular sportswriter. Is the average sports fan just not annoyed by Boston fans? I guess so.

Too bad for me that I am, huh? My blood pressure is through the roof because of this topic.


jf said...

until this article, there's only one tag you guys use that i've caught myself saying in my head ("that's just anecdotal bullshit!!")

but now, I can add another... while reading this article (which, I think even you, larry b, will admit there is nothing TOO outrageously insulting about) i couldnt help thinking to myself, this fucking article does NOT need to be written... i mean, was the point of that article to point out that new york has a big fan base and a huge proportion of media coverage? seriously? thats not the most fucking obvious thing ever? we needed to waste space in "the mag" for that? wow...

i mean, unless i'm wrong... i HOPE i'm wrong, but was that really the point?

pnoles said...

LB add label plz plz plz.

TomE said...

Larry, I get it, loud and clear. Simmons, whose charm is fading fast, wants to butter his bread on both sides. It's bad enough that the rest of the country is standing by as New England wallows in the sports year of a lifetime, but he also insists on laying claim to the title of Most Miserable When My Team Sucks. Can't have it both ways, Bill.

larry b said...

jf- Fair points. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the worst, this particular Simmons article's shittiness rates out at about a 3. It just continues to amaze me that he is for the most part blind to his homerism. Even when he kind of admits it, he still manages to sound like he's completely ignorant towards it. Label requests have been added.

Tome- well put. Thanks a bundle. We'll just have to see what happens if and when the Patriots eventually enter a down cycle for a few years. You can't stay dominant forever in the NFL. Their time to be mediocre will come sometime soon. If I can still put up with Simmons at that point (could be 5-10 years away, when Brady starts his decline), I fully expect a number of awful articles to pop up with Bill's name next to them.

jones said...

Good times. Can I get a ruling on that? My buddy Hench calls it The Isaac Hayes Theory. This was an F-U column. My dad was practically stuttering with rage/sobbing in his Ovaltine...

Peeej said...

ya'll really dont like bill huh... good i cant stand him

Jeff said...

That was a level 7 stomach punch blog post.

I still (try to) like Simmons, since I've been reading him since his pre-ESPN days, but this column and his last one (letter to young Bill) may have been his two most useless columns ever. I mean, the letter to young Bill was basically a column explaining common modern conveniences to someone. That is not interesting.

larry b said...

Jones- this column was basically like "The Karate Kid 4."

Peeej- No, no we do not. Or at least I do not.

Jeff- Well put. I didn't say anything about the letter to himself because it didn't offend me at any point. Because of that, I actually enjoyed it. That's how far my standards for this guy have fallen. (And for the record, I still like his pre-2004 stuff too.)

Anonymous said...

His pieces for the Mag are killing whatever talent he had left that wasn't sucked up by all the Boston uber-alles stuff that went directly to the center of his brain and started boring holes that would never be filled in again.

I used to find his Boston homerism forgivable, in context, because he was rocking the house so hard on most of his other stuff. But writing a bi-weekly thing for the Mag now feels strangely like the tipping point where he got stretched too thin, and something had to give, and you knew it wasn't going to be his love of Boston mythmaking that was going to be taking a seat on the bench.

Honestly, at this point I'd welcome a Karate Kid column. Or, really, just anything that's not 1) douchey or 2) boring. Please, Bill? It's almost Xmastime.

Anonymous said...

His wife writes a whole lot better then he does.

Anonymous said...

thank you for explaining how crappy and self-righteous his writing has become. he is awful now.