Monday, July 13, 2009

Bill Simmons is the Most Popular "Sports" Columnist on all teh Internets

See what I did there with the quotation marks? Anyways, that popularity is generated by efforts like this train wreck of a mailbag.

SG: Take it from someone who worked on a late-night talk show for 18 months: Celebrities are staggeringly, improbably short. It's bizarre. I always wanted to play in Garry Shandling's weekend pickup game just so I could play center once in my life.

What? Bill worked on a late night talk show? Whose show was it? I've never heard a peep about this. Seriously though, how self-congratulatory and/or insecure can one quasi-famous guy get? Look, Bill, it didn't work out for you. Probably because you're not that funny, you're certainly not that creative, and you're almost definitely a huge pain in the ass to work with. Move on and enjoy your job as a sportswriter who doesn't even bother to write about sports. You can stop telling people about the "failed TV writer" portion of your life. Sheesh.

(And by the way, I am 6-foot-1½. See? You didn't know that! I'm taller than you thought, aren't I? Admit it. ADMIT YOU CARE!)


Q: I started a new job today and I found a copy of your recent column in the men's bathroom stall. I think this job is a keeper!
-- Derek L., Houston

Baseball's All Star weekend is here, NBA free agency is underway, so is the Tour de France, the U.S. Open was a couple weeks ago and the British Open is this weekend (if you're into golf, which I'm not, but I assume at least a few fat old white guys send emails to Bill), Roger Federer just broke a very significant record, and the NFL season is on the horizon. But no. We don't have time or column space to discuss those topics because Bill needed to print an irrelevant ass-kissing email from some clod whose day was made by a computer printout he found while taking a dump.

Q: Do you, Kimmel, Carolla and Cousin Sal have a name for yourselves? If not, I suggest the Crap Pack.
-- Jason, Philadelphia

Say, you may not have heard this, but Bill used to write for a couple of B list TV personalities. It's a part of his life he doesn't really make a big deal out of, though, so you'll have to pay close attention if you want to catch him talking about it.

SG: (Searching for a comeback …)

(Hoping some moron TV executive is reading this, and gives me another shot ...)

Q: I was getting on a plane to Vegas recently for a guys' weekend when I noticed some schmuck in first class who looked like a perfect cross between Pat O'Brien and Danny Bonnaducci [sic]. I was fascinated the whole flight and couldn't wait to tell my friends when we met up. We ultimately named him Bon O'Briduchi and for 72 hours of liver-killing shananigans, he was the invisible fifth guy in our group. We even tried to find similar real guys on the Strip and would make jokes like "Sure, that guy looks like he enjoys drinking, fighting and getting crazy with hookers, but he's no Bon O'Briduchi." In fact, my friend actually bought a round of five beers instead of four and justified it by saying, "Bon just went to take a leak, he'll be back in a minute." We ultimately decided that Bon now resides with such legendary fictional alcoholics/sex addicts such as Norm Peterson, Glenn Quagmire and Joey Buddafucco [sic].
-- Dave, Denver

Dave from Denver should be sterilized, placed in a crate of some kind, and shipped to Siberia so that he cannot reproduce and runs a minimal risk of annoying anyone. Yes, these are Bill's readers- who I'm guessing don't behave all that differently in public than Bill himself.

Q: I have no idea why, but I have a massive S&M crush on you. With other men, including my boyfriend, I'm pretty normal, but something about you makes me want to tie you up and have fun with you. It's weird. This is not a drunk e-mail, or a high one, or anything like that. Can I get a "Yup, these are my readers?"
-- Jennifer, Atlanta

Woo hoo! Sports!

Q: Hey Bill, I saw your man Ray Allen at a bar in Hartford on Saturday night. After getting over the shock of seeing him, my boyfriend turned to me, very serious, and said, "OK, go have sex with Ray Allen and tell me how it is." Would you make that offer to the Sports Gal for any sports figure? If you did would she be offended? Because I wasn't, and I think maybe I should have been.
-- Jen S., Newington, Conn.

Hey, at least this one involved an athlete. I only included a very small sample of the questions in this massive pile of suck of a column, so let me justify my use of sarcastically suggestive quotation marks in the post's title by breaking down the mailbag by questions per topic.

MLB- 1
NBA- 8
NHL- 2
NFL- 1
Other sports/sports in general- 5
Assholes kissing up to Bill/talking about Bill- 4
Shit that has not a fucking thing to do with sports- 9

Five of the NBA ones were quick one liner sour grapes cheap shots at the Lakers. Throw those out and we've got a mailbag written by a sports columnist on the country's most popular sports website that's almost that's almost half about sports. Keep those one liners in, and that percentage skyrockets up near sixty! Why is this happening? How can this man be so useless and yet so popular? The answer is simple, and also happens to be the answer to any number of random questions I find myself asking the cosmos on any given day: America is full of people who are fucking stupid. There's nothing more to it. For example, that's why there are millions out there who don't believe Barry Bonds used steroids. And why Chris Berman is still being hired to announce the Home Run Derby. BACKBACKBACKBACKBACK



I'm pretty sure that at this point the main reason Bill is still employed by ESPN is so that Rick Reilly looks intelligent and heavily invested in sports by comparison.


rich said...

ESPN is technically the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, but they have this annoying habit of blending the two areas together. Want the Phillies - Pirates score? Well you'll have to watch our report on Romo and Simpson breaking up. I could stand it when they advertised what programs were what. I knew Cold Pizza did more entertainment than sports, so I avoided it. I knew Baseball Tonight was about baseball scores and analysis, so I watched, but ever since they 'snuck' a shoe commercial (Only $230 a pair!) into the 8th slot in "Top Plays," I just stopped watching ESPN except for televised games (and even then often muted).

Since this is America, I can't begrudge them that they're doing this, as they're obviously raking in the dough. However, ESPN is more or less of a monopoly (at least on tv), so unless I want to fire up my computer to see the day's scores, I don't really have any other options at this point. Thank god for data plans on phones.

On the flip side, I've spent the past few months looking for an alternative site for getting actual analysis and they all pretty much suck. has Peter King who pads his articles on his thoughts on coffee and his 'annoying' travel tips. No offense, but if you're getting free airfare/hotel, you don't get to complain about the coffee not being served until 6:30AM. FoxSports is pretty craptastic (for a major site, their web-designer seems like a minimum wage HS dropout) and the league sites are all pretty much bastions of bias.

Basically, just because ESPN is the 'best' (I just shuddered and vomited a little saying that), doesn't mean it shouldn't strive to be better. Put a proverbial chinese wall between your entertainment and sports portions or at least advertise what's sports and what's not.

Larry B said...

The cross promotional stuff with Disney and ABC ruins my day every time I cross paths with it.

John Foley said...

These are the least entertaining kind of articles on this site, just so you know. You hate Bill Simmons, you don't think he's funny, you think he's repetitive, you think he mentions his friends too often, etc. We get it.
Not telling you what to write, obviously, just expressing my personal opinion. You'd be better off dissecting real examples of crap journalism, not a guy who never pretends to be a journalist.

Larry B said...

John- You're a somewhat faithful reader and commenter, and you seem like an intelligent guy. Much respect. But I really don't give a shit about how you feel re: Simmons or my posts about him.

Your argument is the least compelling one Simmons defenders make. First of all, if you read carefully, you'll note that I'm not necessarily attacking him for writing a mailbag that's only half sports; I'm really attacking the masses who flock to him and make him so popular. I mean, lucky him! He's got such a massive following that he could make a mailbag that didn't contain a single sports-related question, and it would still get a jillion pageviews. While that does make me despise him, my real issue is with the sycophants/fanboys who gobble up anything he writes, no matter how much it sucks (that article about his dead dog was a travesty) and send him a congratulatory email to boot. Whatever, Simmons is what he is. But everyone who helps make him what he is and reinforces that for him can go tackle a moving freight train for all I care.

Second, as soon as THE SPORTS GUY goes out and says "Just so everyone knows, I am NOT a sportswriter," be sure to link me to that. You know, if the guy who self-identifies as THE SPORTS GUY say it. To my knowledge he never has. And why would he? He's obviously always dreamed of writing for TV, and it's a hell of a lot easier to be taken seriously if you pitch yourself as a sportswriter than as "a guy who sometimes writes about sports, but more often writes about celebrities, reality TV, his own family, and going to Las Vegas."

Oh, and I do have to say, his decision to print emails like Derek L. from Houston's is pretty fucking terrible. "Hey Bill, just wanted to write in and say that I've got a crush on you! Bye!" Even if you're a huge Simmons fan, did that add anything to this column for you? I should hope not. Jesus, at least ask the guy to help you and your friends make a decision about which cast member of Real World/Road Rules Challenge is most comparable to Tom Hanks or something.

Jarrett said...

rich - gives you all the sports stories you need with all the graphical packages you've come to expect, just with more hockey, CFL, and curling. And sometimes annoying "canada only" javascript box warnings.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I feel the same way. I can't watch Baseball Tonight at all and any time I need information about baseball I go to the MLB Network. I love how they do live look-ins on all games and actually talk about teams that don't rake in all of the money for stations like ESPN.

Sunday night on ESPN they did a 3 minute feature on the Yankees and Red Sox were in the AL East race and how that division had shaped up all year...this was in the first 10 minutes of the program. They honestly believe there are only two teams in MLB.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot out there, non-Canadian (which I will check that out soon as you put a hockey post up), to get information about sports through. I can't tell you how excited I am about MLB Network, though I am sure it will start sucking at some point.

My problems with Bill are pretty easy in this situation. Like Larry said, his mail bags are complete wastes of time and he does call himself the Sports Guy and The Boston Sports Guy, so at some point he does claim to be a journalist who knows something about sports.

What kind of self important person would print letters that basically are just sucking Bill off telling him how great he is? He is an insufferable asshole and I just don't get why many of his fans don't see that part of him. For him to print complimentary emails about himself that has nothing to do with any sports is just his ego in over drive.

We all know he wrote for a second rate talk show, we get it and we remember. The problem with Bill is that he is not happy where he is now, he actually believe he is too good for ESPN. He wants to be an author, an NBA General Manager, and a "comedy" show writer all at the same time. Most of all, he just wants everyone to know how impressed his fans are with him, so that is why he is printing mail bags all summer.

I like you John as well, but to accuse Larry of beating a dead horse and being repetitive in his criticism of Bill is ironic since that is how Bill has made his entire career. Repetitious references and the same joke, just with a different name.

Bengoodfella said...

The program they did the feature on was SportsCenter. Apparently anything those two teams do is a top story.

cs said...

If I get a vote, never, EVER stop ripping on Bill Simmons.

And secondly, Bill always posts those Vegas stories and just asumes they are interesting to his readers and are real. Most of the stories are probably made up by very, very lonely people. Fact is, who the hell goes to Vegas, has a running joke, and feels compelled to email it to some stranger? And why would said stranger feel compelled to share it with a thousands of people?

rich said...

Jarrett, I actually use TSN to get my hockey news. I stumbled across it when hockey came back from the strike and I heard the Flyers had made some major acquisition and ESPN/SI/Fox/NHL didn't seem to have any info on it. That and they sometimes run awesome articles on Don Cherry, who may be even crankier and more insane than Skip Bayless (but much, much, much less insufferable). TSN had it up a day before the NHL and almost a week before ESPN/SI/Fox did.

I just feel dirty/weird getting my news on sports more popular in the states (baseball, football and basketball) from a different country.

Bengoodfella, I hear you on the Yankees - Red Sox thing. Even when it's a NYY - NYM game, ESPN devotes full segments to it. I know there a lot of NYY and NYM fans, but they seem to be clustered in one city. Why subject everyone to your love fest or at least save it for the awkward 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the game where no one really has anything important to say besides that the key to winning is to hit and pitch well. The internet has been a godsend to people who aren't living anywhere near their teams' state(s), but instead of a diversity of subjects, ESPN/SI/Fox all pretty much run out the same 12 or so articles.

John I hate to pile on, but regardless of what Simmons calls himself, he is a journalist (I looked up the definition ::pushes glasses back on face::). Defending Simmons by saying he "never pretended to be a journalist" is like saying nobody can hate on Bush because he never pretended to know what he was doing.

I get the feeling that Simmons thinks that his life is more interesting/valuable than everyone elses' and that people like to live vicariously through him. It's the only way I can justify him writing articles about his dog, movies he likes, etc.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't actually have a huge problem with the NYY-NYM or the Red Sox overall, I have a problem with the way it is presented that what they do or say is much more important than anything else that goes on in baseball.

I actually blame a little bit of that on Bill Simmons and ESPN because he primarily talks about the Red Sox (when he is talking about sports and not himself), because the fact he is so successful on the ESPN site has kind of put the impression out that the Red Sox are important. I agree, the Internet is a godsend for me or I would never find out information about some of my favorite teams.

Rich, I agree with your assessment. I believe Bill thinks that everything he says, does or experiences is better than what anyone else has experienced. He has a massive ego, don't let him fool anyone.

Though I did actually like the article about his dog...but I am a sucker for shit like that. Otherwise, what he thinks, says, and experiences are the best things in the world.

I could write a book about Bill that would put his newest book to shame.

Elliot said...

And while you're at it, leave that Rick Reilly fellow alone will you?

John Foley said...

Come on now. I never defended Rick Reilly.

Iridescence said...

Bill Simmons is an idiot. He just Red Sox fans a bad name amongst intelligent people. If I want to read stuff about the Red Sox (which admittedly I often enjoy doing) there are many writers who write far more interesting stuff about them than Simmons does in his insipid columns. I really have no idea why he is so popular.

Xavier said...

I have far too many email accounts, so if you're confused, this is also CitizenX-

You missed the question where he was talking about over-30 stars and three of the people he mentioned weren't over 30, including Jameer Nelson who is but a pup of 27.

Also he called Jeter washed-up. Lets argue that some more.

John Foley said...

Before the season started I was definitely fearful that Jeter was washed-up. I couldn't be happier that he's having such a good year. Let's hope he has a few more of those and gets to 4000 hits. That should quiet some of the naysayers.
Simmons has an annual tradition of declaring Jeter and Rivera washed-up. It makes him feel better. That and pretending that none of the '04 Sox were on PEDs.

Tonus said...

I think we learned a lesson here-- don't step in between Larry B and Bill Simmons, or you WILL get run over.

Iridescence said...

A lot of Jeter's power this year is thanks to New Wankee Bandbox but I'll give him credit, his numbers are better than I thought they'd be in other areas offensively. Bartlett probably deserved the start at SS (even if he is a fluke this year) but Jeter is having a good year. He is still WAY over-rated defensively though.

One of these years Jeter and Rivera are gonna be washed up. Most Red Sox fans just start every year hoping "this is the year" :) but even with them having good years the Sox still have the better team so whatever...

And John Foley,
I would seriously bet you $100 that Jeter never reaches 4000 hits.

John Foley said...

You're probably right. Jeter probably doesn't get 4000 hits. I didn't say I thought it was probable, just that I would like it. I hear those stats about how Jeter has more hits at this age than Pete Rose did and I get greedy. I don't think he'll play as long as Pete Rose did.
4000 hits is just wishful thinking on my part, not what I think is really going to happen. I'd like him to win 5 more World Series too, but I'm pretty sure that won't happen. Hell, I'd settle for 1.
4000 hits would just be a nice huge number that I could use in Jeter's defense. It gets a little tiring having to defend him, especially since I'm perfectly aware of his flaws and how overhyped he is. I hate all the commercials he does. I hate the Gold Gloves. I hate listening to John Sterling talk about how Jeter has played a "brilliant" shortstop this year. I hate the "calm eyes/Captain Clutch/face of the game" bullshit. Yet I can't do anything about it.
Tim McCarver would have you believe that Jeter is the next Honus Wagner. The average Red Sox fan would have you believe that Jeter is the next Deivi Cruz. Somewhere in the middle of that is the truth. Closer to Honus Wagner.

dan-bob said...

In two and a quarter years of this blog, I think that is the first-ever mention of Deivi Cruz.

Iridescence said...

John Foley - "The average Red Sox fan would have you believe that Jeter is the next Deivi Cruz. Somewhere in the middle of that is the truth. Closer to Honus Wagner."

Well this Red Sox fan pretty much agrees with that. He's not Honus but he'll easily get into the HoF and deserves it. It just doesn't seem enough for many Yankee fans to say "He's really good." They have to worship him and insist he's perfect.

You obviously are an exception to that and I commend you for it :)

PS Sorry if this larde market team
chatter is bugging the blog authors. So...How bout them Marlins?:)

Larry B said...

Yes, CS, you do get a vote. In fact you get the only vote- as long as you agree with me.