Much like I interrupted the series of Simmons FREE JIM RICE article posts to cover Rick Reilly's attempt to serve as a lobbyist for the Ricketts family, I'm interrupting my breakdown of Simmons's breakdown of the Heat/Bulls game to cover a mailbag he put out last Friday. Trying to be topical. The Heat/Bulls game is already old news regardless of whether I continue to post about it tonight or Wednesday; this mailbag contains a bunch of stuff that deserves to be called out as stupid RIGHT THIS SECOND.
So Nino from Queens sent me the following e-mail: "I saw you on TV the other night and told my 3yr old son that Bill Simmons is so big headed that he cant do a little old mailbag anymore.
Q: Where does Worm go when he leaves Binghamton?
Rounders is a perfectly acceptable movie. It's a solid B. It's not really worth getting excited about. There are dozens and dozens of other good gambling movies out there.
Wait … what?????? Matt, Edward, John and the rest of us are all set to go. It's that easy? What are we waiting for? Who's not going to see Rounders 2? Can't somebody fund this already? What the hell is happening? How am I supposed to finish the mailbag now?
Q: I have a new idea for a reality TV show. It's called "Jeer Factor." Basically, it's a contest to find out which situation causes the highest volume of boos: parading Fidel Castro through Little Havana, LeBron James through Cleveland, Kim Jong Sun through Seoul, and Bernard Pollard through Boston. What do you think?
OW-UH SPARTS TRAGEDIES AHHHH JUST AS IMPOHHTANT AS INTAHNATIONAL PAWLUHTICS!
SG: Here's a more realistic idea: Is there a way to figure out which opposing athlete's jersey would go over the worst in a local sports bar?
Q: You mentioned in your LeBron column that you hate only five teams, and I was shocked to see the Jets not on the list. As a Pats fan, how do they not make your blood boil? They might be my least favorite team in all of sports other than the evil Iceland team from the second Mighty Ducks movie and Kentucky from Glory Road.
SG: I know they had a nice little mini-run of relevance and hate-ability, but please, let's not forget the DNA of the New York Jets: one great playoff moment that happened 44 years ago, followed by Joe Namath quickly becoming the most overrated QB who ever lived (look up the stats, it's true); Ken O'Brien over Dan Marino;
Q: In a 2009 mailbag (scroll down to end) you compared Tiger Woods to Don Draper. With Tiger regaining his No. 1 ranking and dating Lindsey Vonn, is this now the equivalent of when Draper married Megan and seemingly regained his mojo in Season 5?
—Kyle, Cambridge, MA
Dear Bill, I like sports a lot. I like them so much that I have an important question to ask you about Mad Men.
Q: Do you have any idea how lucky you are to watch Jackie Bradley Jr on a daily basis?
—Pete Shahid, Charleston, SC
SG: Yes! I'm well aware! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Sorry, I interrupted you … keep going.
This e-mail gave me flashbacks to those NC State and Wisconsin alums gushing about Russell Wilson in my inbox last summer. Could JBJ become baseball's Russell Wilson — one of those absurdly likable athletes who transcends stats, says things like "I don't get nervous to tell you the truth" (an actual JBJ quote), gets better when it matters, and almost seems too good to be true?
Here's the point: The Red Sox took heat for starting Bradley on Opening Day over sending him down for two weeks, then bringing up him in mid-April so they could delay his free agency for a year. And if they were Tampa Bay or Pittsburgh, I get it — small-market teams should always protect themselves against potential stars fleeing for big bucks as long as they can. But the Red Sox have gobs of money to spend every season, as well as a much bigger immediate dilemma: Their fan base had turned on the owners and couldn't have been less excited about this year's team.
Choice A: Send Bradley down for two weeks, look like cheapskates, weaken this year's team for the first two weeks, derail his momentum after a sparkling spring training.
Choice B: Reward Bradley by bringing him up right away, get the fans excited, hope he helps the team get off to a monster start, then ride the ensuing momentum to a "NOBODY BELIEVED IN US!" season
Q: A friend of mine and I have been following you since 1999. We were trying to figure out how many words you have printed since that time. Rules: no Twitter/Instant Media, and no support (you get credit for the comments in the mailbag, but not the mailbag itself). The Over/Under is 2.5 million words. I took the over; hoping that the books cover the slow slide in weekly production. As there is a case of Johnnie Walker Blue resting on it, maybe you can settle the answer.
SG: Way way way way way over. Let's say I averaged 5,000 words per week since 1999, which feels super low to me.
Q: In light of Washington's recent play (beating the Lakers, Grizzles and seemingly everyone else) would they not be considered one of the best proponents for your 'Entertaining as Hell Tournament'?
SG: For a quick refresher, check this footnote. Why wouldn't we reward late bloomers, discourage tanking, tighten the playoff race, create more win-or-go-home games and basically do everything that that EAH Tournament allows?
Q: In Boogie Nights,
Q: Do you get a boner every time you type Lebron James?
—Joseph Watley III
SG: Not every time.
Q: You know there's an ex-college linebacker named Marlon on the Real World this season, right? He started for three seasons and was an honorable mention all Big 12 at Texas Tech. A former college athlete who wasn't able to make money as a professional has now turned his attention to getting on the challenge and dominating in order to make a living? This is the next step in making The Challenge America's fifth major sport!
Q: You wrote: "LeBron allowing Hinrich to keep driving past him so he could block the ensuing layup. I've been watching basketball forever … I have NEVER seen that before." In fairness, Lucas did that to his half-brother Nathan in the deciding point of the epic one on one playground battle on the River Court on One Tree Hill.
Q: Why wouldn't Oscar Pistorius blame a jealous one-armed man for the murder of his girlfriend? There's clearly motive: the one-armed man could have been jealous of Pistorius's fame because he couldn't achieve the same Olympic fame. Why can't Lifetime show, The Fugitive: South Africa? Think of Pistorius's on the edge of a waterfall diving 100 feet with specialized flippers after screaming "You find that man!" to Jack Bauer or something.
—Alex Futter, West Lafayette, IN
SG: These are all fantastic questions and I don't have answers.
Q: So when did Brady and Belichick officially morph into Jim Kelly and Marv Levy?
—Jeff Ruder, Victoria, BC
SG: Too. Soon.
Q: Is it just me or is the Amendola for Welker swap eerily similar to the Celtics downgrading from Ray to Jet.
—Ben R., Philadelphia
SG: The bigger point: Why would the NFL stick with a salary cap that effectively prevents ANY signature guy from finishing with the team that made him a signature guy?
Yeah! Why wasn't the #1 goal of both sides during the CBA negotiations last year to make sure OW-UH GRITTY WHITE GUYS are able to retire as OW-UH GRITTY WHITE GUYS? Putting aside the fact that the Patriots were in no way unable to sign Welker due to salary cap reasons (which is a monstrous boulder of a thing to put aside, but let's do it anyways), I think we can all agree that ensuring that guys like Welker be able to finish their careers with the teams that made them "signature guys" was definitely more important than the 100 other extremely important issues that needed to be hammered out.
Q: Wouldn't the sport of hockey be infinitely more entertaining if the penalty box was converted into a sensory deprivation chamber?
Holy fuckballs, no, no it wouldn't! It would be exactly like hockey is now, but with a stupider penalty enforcement mechanism!
I'm talking no light, no sound, no nothing. When players take a penalty they have to spend a whole two minutes in the dark and silence while they feel shame. Not only that, this would mean that when the penalty is over, players get to fall out of the chamber and onto the ice with the same look of disorientation of a newborn baby. Granted, players would end up taking less penalties as the penalty box would now be as scary as the "Boo Box" in the movie "Hook" albeit with less scorpions. What say you Sports Czar? Are less power plays worth the added entertainment value?
—Eric T., Montreal
Eric T. from Montreal, I'm going to say this as nicely as I can: you're an unfunny, unclever, worthless sack of shit.
SG: Let's at least try this in the KHL or OHL to see if this works. But I'm glad you brought it up.
Of course he is.
Here's the crucial point about Junior: He's the only home run hitter from the 1990s and 2000s who makes everyone definitively say, "Well, at least we know HE wasn't cheating."
If you think Jim Thome, Adam Dunn or Frank Thomas are/were juicing, you know nothing about baseball. Oh, right, almost forgot, Bill knows nothing about baseball.
What's weird is that Frank Thomas was defiantly anti-PEDs even during his playing career, and never gave anyone any reason to think he might have been cheating … but somehow Griffey grabbed the "Well, at least we know HE wasn't cheating torch." Sorry, Big Hurt.
Please reconsider your use of "only" in the previous sentence.
Q: What would be the most devastating PED story ever?
I don't know, but I'm sure Rick Reilly's coverage of it would be much worse than any grief anyone felt as a direct result of learning about the story itself.
Q: okay, so you are on my "list", you know, the "list" i have w/ my husband that if i were ever to meet you i could hook up w/ you and he wouldn't divorce me.
It's funny how Bill thinks that simply not using capital letters is a good way to disguise an obviously fabricated email.
(Remember my "De Niro or Pacino?" argument from a 2002 mailbag?)
I certainly don't, and hopefully no one else does either. Remembering that takes up valuable brain space that could be instead used for anyfuckingthing else.
Q: What does it say about your NBA team when they have been in an arena for 25 years, only this was voted as the biggest moment of the arena by a local radio show?
—Andy Diehl, Madison, WI
The link led to a story about a WWE event that took place where the Bucks play.
SG: It says, "If Seattle doesn't get the Kings, it's getting the Bucks." I'm only half-joking, by the way.
I include this only to serve as a teaser: I am at the end of my fucking rope with the self-pity that Supersonics fans have been publicly drowning themselves in for FIVE FUCKING YEARS NOW. I'm going to write a long-ass post about it sometime in the next couple of months. Their team relocated, something that has only happened like twenty other times in NBA history and dozens and dozens more in the other "big four" sports, and they've turned it into their own little 9/11. Meanwhile, they still have an NFL team and an MLB team to cheer for. I know Hartford and Quebec City are not as populous as Seattle, but both of those cities lost their only profesional sports team in the last twenty years. You don't hear the constant wailing of a thousand tortured souls coming out of those places, do you? That's probably because the fans of those teams got over it and learned that life goes on, something which Seattle sports fans seem completely incapable of.
I can't tell which I would enjoy more: for the Kings to end up staying in Sacramento thanks to a last second deal that was brokered by Clay Bennett, or for Seattle to get the Kings, and then to get to listen to Seattle fans explain why the time their city "stole" (using that term loosely, you know what I mean) a team from another city because of that team's shitty owners is SO DIFFERENT than the time another city stole a team from their city because of their former team's shitty owners. Fuck you, Sonics fans. I'm sure some of them are cool and rational, but there are a whole shitload of very uncool and very irrational ones out there polluting the internet with their bitching. I'm sick of it.
Q: Wasn't losing Wilson the best thing that could have happened to Tom Hanks in Cast Away?
OK, I'm done.