Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas Odds and Ends

A few things of note:

Simulated Bowl Games:

1. ESPN is continuing their trend of simulating bowl games on video game platforms. Here are some of their simulations for some of the average bowl games. I kind of bitched about this before the season started... and I really haven't formulated a coherent thought on this... but how many people confuse the categories of "Actual College Football News" with "A Couple of Interns in Bristol Jacking Around"?

Do they have a one-time official simulation? Do you think corn-fed Lincoln-educated interns re-run the game till the Huskers pull it out?

Simmons and Reilly:

From the ombudsman's most recent column over at the "WWL" regarding two of our favorite FJayM whipping boys:

The mailbag also received a number of inquiries concerning the absence of Conversation pages on columns by two of ESPN's most widely read writers, Rick Reilly and Bill Simmons. These pages allow readers to comment, compliment, disagree with or even disparage the writer's work and are linked directly from the column page.

Observed Brian from Rockville, Md., "It gives the impression that they are somehow beyond commentary by the fans, which I find troubling given the opinionated stances they take on issues. What does ESPN risk by not allowing dialogue and debate to accompany their work?"

What's ESPN's rationale?

"We encourage user interaction in many forms across," said Patrick Stiegman, vice president and executive editor & producer for "In the case of Bill Simmons and Rick Reilly, based on the volume of comments, we channel feedback via heavily trafficked venues such as writer mailbags, live chats and -- in the case of Simmons -- a tremendously popular Twitter feed. Both also have distinct sections within the site (Sports Guy's World for Simmons, Go Fish for Reilly) through which fans can correspond."

Seems like one strong opinion deserves another, and it seems that's possible even without a Conversation page.

Reilly also provoked some angry feedback from readers concerning an article that appeared in ESPN The Magazine and later on Some of you, as well as some bloggers, accused him of plagiarizing a column he had written earlier in his career while at Sports Illustrated. Even though it seems difficult to plagiarize yourself, a response was still in order.

Rob King, vice president and editor-in-chief, said he and Gary Belsky, editor of ESPN The Magazine, "looked into this immediately" and concluded that the column -- headlined "Why I love sports" -- was a case of "uncharacteristic carelessness." "Rick, who is noodling with column ideas all the time, keeps an ongoing file of works in progress, some more fully fleshed-out than others," King said. "In this instance, Rick, seeking an evergreen idea for an upcoming issue of The Magazine, inadvertently chose a set of notes he'd forgotten he'd used in a previous assignment. Rick expressed no small degree of embarrassment, and I can assure you we will put more rigorous checks in place to ensure that this won't happen again."

1. Reilly and Simmons' lack of conversation pages is simply due to volume? I smell a rat.

2. That Simmons has a widely popular Twitter feed seems appropriate: most of his thoughts aren't suited to the complexities of real life but rather to the quick-burst-inanities of the 140-characters or less.

Simmons' future columns could just be published on The Bottom Line during NBA telecasts.

3. I don't know how complex Reilly's notes are, but a column of his titled "Why I love sports" can't be that complex. He should just consult my notes on the subject of why Rick Reilly loves sports.

Either way, when you're a journalist in the Reilly ilk, it becomes pretty damn hard not to repeat yourself, since you don't go out and actually learn about sports but rather sit back and comment on them without doing the work of a journalist.

Must be Winter:

In nosing around for bad journalism, I trundled over to NBCSports (OK! I admit it! I was looking for HatGuy since I hadn't posted!). I found someone named (really) Justice B. Hill. I wonder if he is related to Jemele Hill. His articles aren't good or bad in quality, they're just overly simplistic and sentimental in topic:

Think you can hit a baseball? Think again.


Love for glove is baseball's first bond.

Also, Bert Blyleven writes for NBCSports. I think I'm going to see if he's written anything stupid lately.


Jack M said...

Simmons had these 3 tweets regarding the ombudsman column:

"I wish the Ombudsman had asked me about the absence of Conversation pages in my columns. Not like I am hard to reach."

"Im against Conv. pages for this reason: ESPN columnists aren't allowed to do media criticism. Um, don't Conv. pages feature media criticism?"

"I'd love to have Conv. pages under my columns. But I should be allowed the same luxury of criticizing media people in my columns. Right?"

So there's that.

Biggus Rickus said...

So he took a lot of money to be reined in? I feel the opposite of sympathy.

Adam said...

Huge logic flaw on ESPN's part with regard to feedback. The conversation pages allow everybody to publicly see how much Reilly and Simmons suck. Emails, chat, and twitter are all screened to some extent. We wouldn't want to embarrass our two highest paid writers now would we?

Also Bill, if you love your readers as much as you say you do, why don't you let them criticize you, like, ever. Do you really think those thousands of comments are from media people?