Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I know you all adhere closely to my gambling manifesto at all times. Always take the spread against a rookie QB on the road, unless it's Vince Young or Ben Roethlisberger or Andy Dalton or another rookie QB capable of covering on the road. Never count on Norv Turner or another shitty coach after Thanksgiving, unless it's one of those seasons where Norv Turner actually has some momentum going and his team is playing well. And of course, always make sure to lose to your sports-ambivalent wife in your annual gambling competition. Yes, I'm a brilliant prognosticator. That's why last post I said (about Bill):

I get that basketball is your thing, and that it's exciting that the US is great at it. But come on--we get amazing basketball for like 7 months out of every year here. You're no better than NBC, cramming basketball, gymnastics and swimming down our throats.

So what did he do next? Wrote a 3,000 word breakdown of swimming and gymnastics. I am a brilliant genius.

You never think of swimming and gymnastics as Summer Olympics rivals in the Magic-Bird sense,

Because they aren't individual athletes with a cool backstory competing against one another at two different levels of their profession for an extended period of time

much less the Tupac-Biggie sense,

And because they aren't artistic non-rivals who happened to peak at roughly the same time and die tragically within 9 months of each other

but that's exactly what they are.

They definitely aren't. Then again, Simmons's cultural knowledge runs about as deep as my knowledge of how to interact with women, so why shouldn't he choose Bird/Magic and Tupac/Biggie for this analogy?

They peak in the splashiest way possible for just two weeks every four years.

Just like two basketball players who wrote a new chapter for their rivalry pretty much every year for a decade, or two musicians who were really only in the public eye for a few years each!

During that precious window, they battle for worldwide attention, television ratings, prime-time real estate,

Pretty sure NBC finds time to show us each and every second of everything that happens in both of them. At the expense of anything else happening during the Olympics.

SNL cameos,

In order to remain podcast buddies with Seth Meyers, Bill is contractually obligated to pretend that SNL is still relevant.

SportsCenter commercials,

If you can find me a Sportscenter commercial featuring a swimmer besides Phelps or any gymnast, please drop a link in the comments.

patriotic pride,


the affection of horny teenage boys,


pop-culture relevancy

You already tried to say that in other ways, and still, no.

and tens of millions of dollars in endorsements.


If swimming and gymnastics were people, they would absolutely despise each other while pretending publicly that everything was totally fine — you know, kind of like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.


Look, I know most of my posts these days pick on Simmons, and that most of the time I just mock him for constantly recycling material and being unfunny, and you feel like you've read this all before blah blah blah. But let me take a step back and riff on the bigger topic here. This is unfathomably shitty writing. It really is. He wants to compare gymnastics and swimming, which is dumb, but whatever, it's better than a lot of other garbage he's written about, so I'll allow it. But he can't just say "I'm going to break down these two sports for you." No. He's got to try to (poorly) analogize them to two recent rivalries (one of which isn't really a rivalry), then provide no support for the analogies, then try to change the analogies midstream, all the while cracking pathetically terrible jokes. Look, sportswriters aren't necessarily supposed to be good writers. They don't have to be master essayists, they don't have to wow me with their prose. But holy dogshit on a stick: this man sucks asshole at writing. It's astonishing just how bad he is.

Just know that I have no dog in this race. I don't care who captures the imaginary Summer Olympics title.

How convenient! Neither do we.

But after seeing swimming and gymnastics in London, I feel qualified to answer a question that you always secretly wanted to know:

I feel qualified to answer a question Klosterman has always kind of secretly wanted to know, just because each sport is so overunderrated:

"What's more fun to watch in person … Olympic swimming or Olympic gymnastics?"

I hate to be a party pooper but I'm going to guess that it depends on whether you find swimming or gymnastics more interesting. Sorry.


Yep, he's still using that device.

Wait, this sounds like the perfect topic for one of my favorite old-school gimmicks … that's right, it's the Dr. Jack Breakdown!!! 

Please don't use three consecutive exclamation marks in your columns!  Why are you writing like a 15 year old texts!

Let's do this.

Let's present some very brief lowlights of this, because I want to go to bed.

They're holding swimming in a 17,500-seat venue with seating on just two sides, so for many fans, they could have called this Noseblood Arena. When IOC members, sponsors and heavy hitters with quality seats started no-showing events, they earned the collective ire of everyone in London. (We never totally knew who to blame, but one thing's for sure — the Olympics should definitely consider using seat fillers à la the Oscars.) Even if you dropped some coin for a night of swimming, there's a good chance you ended up watching tiny dots thrash in the pool from the 137th row. There's definitely a "haves vs. have-nots" vibe for swimming.

You know where else that vibe exists?  Between people who can afford to travel to London for the games and get any tickets at all and people who are watching at home on TV.  You oblivious fucking cuntball.

Meanwhile, gymnastics is in a 20,000-seat, state-of-the-art arena 

The swimming venue is the same age and same state-of-the-artness.  It opened in July 2011.  I get that you're doing a breakdown/competition piece, but Jesus, given that there are absolutely no rules and nothing at stake, you could at least try to minimize the spin.

in North Greenwich that doubles as the site for basketball's medal round games, and eventually, the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats or NBA Expansion Team X. Tickets were similarly tough for gymnastics despite an equivalent number of annoying no-shows, but at least there were more seats and you could enjoy the action from any section 

Watching tiny little dots on gymnastic apparatuses is WAY better than watching tiny little dots in a pool!

(especially with the big video screen).

I don't know this to be true for sure, but I'd bet good money that the swimming venue has one of these too.

So what should you like more — an inclusive sport that accommodates as many fans as possible, or an exclusive sport that operates like a snotty nightclub with a bouncer who reeks of chlorine? 

What I would like most is for you to stop being an entitled little taint hair who has it better than 99.99% of all sports fans and still thinks he doesn't have enough access.


(Confused as to why I am supposed to give a shit.)

As usual, Bill's ability to write outpaces my ability to point out how godawful he is at writing.  


Adam said...

Actually dumbass Bill, the capacity of the arena for gymnastics is only 16,500...

jacktotherack said...

I just can't begin to imagine how Bill woke up and decided this was a good idea for a topic. This is just abysmal, even for Bill's low standards. "Dur I know, how about I write about a completely non-existent rivalry between gymnastics and swimming, and then I will refer to each like they're individual people and shoehorn in a terrible Tupac-Biggie/Larry-Magic comparison. House will love it!!!"

I guess what's just so god-awful about this article is not only is it horribly written, not only is it completely made up contrived bullshit, it is completely 100% wrong. Both sports are the center of NBC's primetime coverage for the entire first week of the Olympics. Like you said Larry, each sport gets tons of airtime. So what-the-fuck exactly are they competing for? It's just a completely asinine premise to begin with, one only Simmons could come up with.

mattyice said...

I think there was a Sportscenter commercial many many years ago where the anchors are carrying Kerri Strug around the newsroom. Olbermann was in it... so that tells you how long ago it was.

cs said...

He's the editor in chief of Grantland. Amazing. Those writers must loathe him.

"splashiest way possible"


"I feel qualified to answer a question that you always secretly wanted to know"

Only child right?

Alex said...

Why do I get the image of Simmons walking around the Grantland office screaming 'I'm the Editor. I'm bigger than the Lizard King!"

I feel you Larry about not being able to "keep up" with the nonsense.

My initial plan for my shitty blog was to read and critique bad political punditry a-la FJM, but it got to be so overwhelming, depressed, I just gave up and chose to sporadically pick and choose pieces or else I'd die.

You need a team to take on the stupidity. Simmons on his own is a full time job.