Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bill Simmons - The Kurt Warner Of Boston Sports/Reality Show Writing


I'd be lying if said that, at least up until now, I wasn't a huge Bill Simmons fan. He was the first sportswriter that had more than basic literacy in pop culture and actively made me laugh when I read his stuff. Even if all he did was talk about some stupid fucking Boston team, he was so unique that I didn't even mind. He even occasionally dropped subtle complaints about ESPN, and that was fucking sneaky! In many ways, he was the original sports blogger, even if he would never deign to use that term.

Those days are over now. The rest of the Internet took Simmons' lead and ran with it. Even surpassed it. Now every blog compares some sports team to some other popular culture grouping (Lord knows we've probably done it). Plus, now we (thankfully) have entire sites set up to prove that Bill Maas is a complete retard. Simmons helped pioneer a lot of this, and that's pretty cool.

But even in years past, I had a sneaking feeling that, while Simmons was an entertaining writer, there was a great possibility that in real life he was a smug, arrogant douchebag. He bragged about playing sports instead of watching the Star Wars movies (even though he's seen The Karate Kid roughly 4 million times). He once taunted Colts fans by saying he was going to sleep with his Pats Super Bowl DVD under his pillow (or something to that effect. I don't have Insider.). And, of course, there was the endless name-dropping. Carolla. Kimmel. Uh... J-Bug. It all sent off the aura of someone far too pleased with himself.

But I still read him. Even if the shit wasn't as funny, and even if Deadspin had overtaken Simmons' page as the go to place for sports humor on the Web, without worrying about all the stupid Boston dogshit.

Well, that's over now. Today's chat with Simmons offered proof positive that the guy is a full-on fuckstick of the highest order. The evidence:

I'm happy to chat about that but we're not going to be posting any jokey/offensive questions about (TO), especially when we don't know all the facts yet.

Sounding a little like a tightass, but I'll let it slide.

Brent (South Dakota): As a media person, what are your feelings on Jason Whitlock's departure? Did he destroy himself, or should a media person be allowed to criticize his work associates without fear of retribution?

Bill Simmons: (12:41 PM ET ) I like Jason a lot, I've enjoyed exchanging emails with him and I liked having his column on Page 2, so I'm disappointed in what happened. But I don't see what he had to gain by venting to a blog. What's the benefit? So you win the respect of the 3,000 people who spend 8 hours a day posting on sports journalism message boards and blogs because you were "shooting from the hip"? Congratulations. What is this, wrestling? I just feel like there was a better way to handle it. I will really miss having him on the website, I always enjoyed his perspectives on things. And I still plan on reading him at AOL. But I'm disappointed with how everything went down.


Given that Simmons has made fun of Jim Caple (fair enough) and Dan Shanoff (upcoming) on his site, that's fairly hypocritical. But you know what's really fucking hypocritical? Trying to categorize people who read other sports blogs as losers. Oh, I already know I'm a loser. No arguments here. But what fucking right do you have, you stupid Masshole fuck, to rip on the same kind of people that support your goddamn site and your original site, which most people would characterize as a blog? Are you fucking kidding me?

Millions of people, maybe more, check out blogs like Deadspin, MJD, and the Big Lead every day. Are these people more loserish than your audience? Oh, you keep on believing that.

You've written all the time about how you wish you could rip on other ESPN personalities. Now Whitlock does it and he's a dipshit for it? Let me write you a prescription from TO's pharmacist, you fucking asshat. We move on:

Luke (Nashville): How many more years do you see yourself being the Sports Guy if you do leave the Disney family are you going to set up a blog similar to what Shanoff has done?

Bill Simmons: (2:39 PM ET ) Who's Shanoff?


Pretty fucking arrogant. But wait...

Shanoff (NY): That. Hurts.

Bill Simmons: (2:41 PM ET ) Just. Kidding. Although I wish you had worked as hard on the Quickie as you do on the blog.


Really? Because he wrote that shit every day and you write two fucking articles (one of which may or may not be a mail-in Tiger Woods piece) every week. Nice feedback, you fucking dick.

Matt (Getting Marriedville, PA): Planning a Bachelor Party in Vegas for Final Four weekend. Where should we stay? Which casino has the best sports book?

Bill Simmons: (3:14 PM ET ) You're crazy. Vegas is done. Go to New Orleans, go to Montreal, go to Toronto...


That's odd, because you've reveled in your trips to Vegas in print roughly 5,000 times over the years. Didn't know Vegas is "done", even if it's the same exact town as it was a couple years ago. Finally, someone has combined with assholishness of a Bostonian with the haughty douchebaggery of an Angeleno. I'm ecstatic.

But let's go back and find even more ridiculousness. How about a quote from Simmons' talk with Chris Ballard at SI?

I think back to 1998, when I had my own column, and it was dismissive, like, "Oh, he's on the Internet." It was an old guard/new guard thing.

Isn't that exactly what you're doing to the people who got the Whitlock interview? You complain about newspapers never letting you write or paying you anything. Now you get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and somehow those who would emulate you aren't worthy?

Shanoff can't say this, so allow me: FUCK. YOU.

I'm here to tell you your services are no longer required. I can find my sports-related humor without a reference to Larry Bird every five goddamn lines, and I can take comfort in the fact that it wasn't written by that one asshole in the pickup game who insists on being point guard and shouting out coaching instructions. YOU are the old guard now, my friend. You write for a Disney site that won't let you say anything. You can't even say fuck. I can. Fuck fuck fuckkity fuck. It's fun. Try it. Oh wait, sorry. Your editor says you can't do that. Too bad.

But I hope that 5,000 word essay you wrote on Dennis Johnson turns out really nicely. Fucktard.

PS - Your book sucked, douche.

NOTE: This rant generated some pretty interesting comments down below, including thoughtful defenses of Simmons from commenters Mike Futia, Friz and gladwell (clearly slumming).

Here's my take: We rip on our favorite athletes all the time. I don't understand why ripping on broadcasters and sportswriters is any different. Does that cross some sort of line? What's the difference between me making fun of Bill Simmons and Simmons calling for Doc Rivers' head? Do the vast majority of sports fans give a shit either way about any of this? Probably not. But some of us like arguing and making juvenile dick jokes about it. I'm not fighting any greater war. It's like a sports bar argument. The argument is the sport.

Frankly, I think this whole "bloggers think everything sucks" viewpoint is dumb. I take the rest of my life seriously enough. The blog exists so I can make all the tasteless TO suicide jokes I please. I'm not some fucking nihilist. This is a satire site. That means everyone gets made fun of. Including, and especially me. There's no grand master scheme to get Deadspin links and then take over the sports blogging gay mafia. It's for fun. 8-year-old fun, but fun nonetheless. Hey, that dog has a puffy tail!

97 comments:

Logical Negativist said...

Well done sir, well done.

Monday Morning Punter said...

Amen.

If only the shark Simmons had jumped had a laser beam strapped to its head.

Unsilent Majority said...

it's like my first love just took a shit on my heart...or something

Clownpuncher said...

This is the best thing I've ever read ever.

Not to go all Simmons on you guys, but Simmons is the The Who of internet sportswriters. At one point, he was a true pioneer, but now he is a whore with pictures of naked kids on his computer... I think I messed up that analogy, but you know what I mean.

Spaced Cowboy said...

Seems Mr. Bill forgot that his former core audience read him because he poked fun at the bigblowhards of old journalism.

His 12 minutes of fame have gone to his head and he now disses the very fans of his who also read mjd, deadspin, ksk, biglead, dan shanoff, and now aol with the addition of big sexy..

to sum up quickie style

Bill. Simmons. Done.

g.m.s. said...

nice writing Drew. I couldn't agree with you more. I think this front Simmons has been putting up lately with regards to alot of the blogs (which he, himself, has admitted to reading) is really just hiding what has to be a growing insecurity for him that he has become irrelevant. In an internets world where you can't throw a stone without hitting a sportsblogger (most of whom have more insightful, more humorous, and DEFINITELY more unique input than Simmons) he has to be feeling a little out-of-touch. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one.

GentleWhoadie9000 said...

I would have just posted that picture of him up top and we could have all just nodded in agreement, but I'm really lazy and have so much hate for the guy (and everybody else responsible in any measure for poker being on television) that i can't really express it coherently.

well played

BigRicks said...

Though Bill Simmons is the douchebag de jour, We all, of course, agree with his sentiments on Rick Reilly.

Satchmo said...

Nicely said.

It might also be noted that Simmons can't even pretend to be a journalist. He ranted later in the article about how he hated 800-word limits.

Why? It's not because they're that limiting. It's because he can't stick to his blogger/rant/excessive metaphor style of writing in such a short space. No wonder he hates the format. It's because he's not a journalist.

Bill Simmons is a blogger who made good and is now paid to post blogs for ESPN. To pretend that he's something else is pure hypocrisy.

You think you're too cool for school, but I got a newsflash for you, Walter Cronkite.

You aren't.

ChrTh said...

While I agree with what you're saying, I wanted to point out for factuality purposes (is that a legit phrase?) that Bill has been on the 'don't bother with Vegas' kick for a few months now. This wasn't the first time he's said something like that.

Spectacular Sam said...

That was awesome. But now Simmons is going to team up with Peter King and they will attack you with scalding hot lattes.

The Hoi Polloi said...

wow! just wow, wow, a thousand times wow. You just rocked my world and I enjoyed the sensation. And I too enjoy saying FUCK, especially when I can say, FUCK BILL SIMMONS

thirdstringjd said...

I could not agree with this more. I've been reading Bill since he had an AOL Messege Board but lately he has absolutely lost me.

He was a blog - he ripped EVERYONE in Boston and all of a sudden he became popular and he became the butt end of the joke that he used to make and he turned into the biggest pussy about it.

I hate the fact that he openly mocks the blogs who don't kiss his feet like some sort of messiah of the internet writing revolution - and when anyone tries to do anything original he mocks it.

Dat RoRo Kid said...

You're my fucking hero, drew. Couldn't have put it better myself if I'd worked on it for days on end. That guy's spiraling head-first into fuck-facedom.

The guy paved 'A' way but get off yer fuckin' soapbox.

And Fuck Boston, too.

dusty said...

I will go so far as to give you a Standing Ovation and toast you at 4:20..very good rant. I would go so far as to say this douche qualifies for fuckwit of the week..or perhaps the year.

He manTooth said...

I think a better music analogy for what Mr. Bill is pulling is the Metallica/Napster hypocrisy. Metallica made their early career on "illegally" traded tapes, then sued fans over doing essentially the same thing with mp3's 15 years later.

Bill's inability to adapt to the blogger culture he helped influence is Ulrich-esque. If Simmons ever leaves ESPN to get "edgy" again, it will no doubt be his version of "St. Anger."

doug_plank said...

Go to New Orleans?!?!

What kind of crack are you smoking?

Bring your scuba equipment and spear guns.

Vegas is still the shit especially for bachelor parties.

He might as well as suggested Memphis.

SandisfieldStyleBBQ said...

that was awesome, and long overdue

El Padrino said...

excellence lives here

Mike Futia said...

He was just busting Shanoff's balls -- nothing wrong with that. Lighten up a bit guys.

Also, about Shanoff's "columns" being anything close to Simmons' -- umm, Simmons writes two columns a week and they are about 8,000 words each. Nobody even comes close.

As for his comments re: Whitlock -- well, he was just being honest about it, just as Whitlock was honest in his interview with The Big Lead.

Simmons is a pioneer and anybody & everyobody that has a sports blog out there right now wishes they were 1/10th as successful as he is.

Finally, the only blogs he are "ripping" are the ones who purposely go out of the way to criticize his and other people's work, instead of trying to come up with something original.

All that being said, he seems to have lost his fastball and was definitely better a few years ago.

Combat Chuck said...

In today's installment of "Guess the KSK post author before you get to the end", we can clearly identify Big Daddy Drew based on the use of the term "Fuck" (and its galaxy of variations) 19 times in a single post.

TomGoFlyAKite said...

In today's installment of "Guess the KSK post author before you get to the end", we can clearly identify Big Daddy Drew based on the use of the term "Fuck" (and its galaxy of variations) 19 times in a single post.

I actually thought it was going to be Awful Announcing, but good job I guess.

GentleWhoadie9000 said...

vegas is fucking wack, but not for the reasons bill simmons says it is.
i ain't gonna splain. if you won know hows i feel about it, read my bleugg from like 2 weeks ago.

NFL Adam said...

If you will allow me gentlemen, to weigh in. (And after the joke about T.O. being Tony Dungy’s son, I wouldn’t blame you if I was banned.) He bashes Whitlock for being outspoken in an interview, but he bashed Disney and the “restraints” in an interview with Bat Stool Sports. Plus he was kind of an (expletive) in his interview with SI, too.

The thing that gets me is the Las Vegas stuff. As the son of a Rat Packer, it has always bothered me that this guy has kind of billed himself as some sort of Las Vegas insider, though I would imagine he has been to the town maybe 10 times. And here he is trying to pan the Las Vegas experience like he is some sort of Tony Bennett.

Simmons “work” has fallen off the map. You are being too kind. He does one crappy NFL handicapping story a week, where he steals jokes from other writers (DJ Gallo comes to mind) and passes them off as his own (In fact, his Art Shell story looks very familiar with another writer who panned the Shell signing back in Februar) and a mailed-in mail bag. So to call him Kurt Warner is unfair. Kurt Warner was a champion. No, the Sports Dork is like the Val Venis of sports writing. Flashy gimmick that got him over at first, but then he went downhill and has become a mid-card jobber.

Diablo Panochero said...

Your message is right on.

Let's not forget, however, that everyone reading this has blown off more than a significant number of company time being entertained by Simmons. Even though he's a shell at this point, he still deserves some respect.

And don't even deny that you wouldn't amputate a testicle with a KFC spork for the success he's had.

joe said...

Great post Drew...

that being said, I almost agree with him at times.
I starter reading Deadspin because I enjoyed Will's books (esp life as a loser), but he's essentially become the moderator of a glorified sports message board.
At time Deadspin can seem like just a bunch of drunk photos and snarky comments and finding fault with everything.
Advance your medium, do some real writing. (I should point out that it's not as if Simmons does this, his 'serious' bits read like high school journalism).

Maybe I'm just bitter about TO, I realize he's done some stupid shit, but there are 100's of athletes who are actual criminals out there, and aren't demonized as much as TO.
I'm not against making a joke at the situation, but the ratio of TO-jokes to sympathy was something like 15-1.
After all, not to draw any sort of comparison, but there were no smug comments/jokes/lame-ass liberal anti-war comments on that post where the Ohio State fan died in Iraq.

Hollywood Wags said...

Haven't read Billy in months, read an NFL picks article last week, his fucking wife is involved now?

I bet losing readers keeps him up at night playing his video games...

Jackie Jokeman Martling laughs at your career Billy.

Frank & Lena said...

Here's the thing though...I think this reaction is exactly what Bill wants.

I think he wants out of the "game".

I agree, his articles of late blow hard...I wish maybe he'd find a new avenue to take instead of beating his current one to death.

Friz said...

I mean...Drew...you're essentially proving Simmons' point, and highlighting your own insecurity. Also, that you read everything Simmons writes. Which is fine and all. I'm just confused what goal is achieved by taking random potshots at the guy at every possible turn. Don't read the column, eh?

Despite the frequent brilliance of this site and the deadspin comments section, this post essentially shows how the online community turns into a self-congratulatory echo chamber for people who think it's cool to say everything sucks. Nice job.

AlCantHang said...

Amen and Amen. He's gone beyond cocky.

Fuck Bill Simmons

ChrTh said...

Did anyone else notice that the second part of the Shanoff comments (The That Hurts + Blog over DQ) got edited from the chat wrap? Do you think Bill had second thoughts, or the editor(s) took it out?

UIUC-Chief said...

Nice work Drew, your feelings are shared by many of Simmons' current and ex-fans.

In response to Joe, where does BS get off saying:
"He graduated from law school and just took the bar... I am trying to get him to start his own sports blog. I have this great idea for him - instead of writing columns and testing the limits of his talents, he can just sit back and post snarky comments all day about other people's columns. I think this could work."

I like you assume that he meant this as an attack on Will over at Deadspin. But he does the same thing, he doesnt test the limits of his talents, All Simmons work is repetitive and he does not change his methods, hell his best selling book was nothing but old columns he republished with snappy little footnotes.

Spectacular Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
joe said...

Very true, Simmons often does the exact same thing that he attacked there, he just does it in 3000 words instead of a couple paragraphs.

I dunno sometimes, I frequently read, and am always entertained, by a number of blogs. But there's a high signal-to-noise ration.

The world of blogs is littered with angry Maddux/Tuckermax wantabe's, and smarmy, bottom of the barrel Gawker/Wonkette imitators.
I think BS makes some valid points (and some silly "I'm not a nerd, these blogs are, they're also not as relvant as me" ones).

The funny thing is that Simmons CANNOT write a serious peice to save his life, like his Tyson essay. It read like something I would write (and incase my posts here aren't obvious, I'm a butcher of english).


Personally I was a bit taken back by some of the comments I read about a man, for all his flaws, was obviously disturbed and had just attempted to take his own life, as well as Will's Jim Rome-esq "you guys are bringin' it, ON FIRE yeah!" remarks.

Od course I now see that BS indulged in some tasteless (and lame) TO-bashing at the end of his chat.

gladwell said...

I'm reminded of something Bill James wrote back in the early 1980's, when those great Montreal Expo's teams were finally falling apart. James pointed out that everyone turned on Gary Carter, even though Gary Carter was far and away the best player on the team. In Canada, we call this the tall-poppy syndrome. I thought it only happened with sports. But I guess it also happens with sportswriters.

Willie Moe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Willie Moe said...

Couldn't have said it better myself! It's the same old tripe every single column! And have you ever heard him talk. When you hear him you can't possibly picture him doing anything remotely manly. It makes me picture him on the sofa with his lady watching Mad About You DVDs. Love the blog. Kudos! Keep up the good work.

Unsilent Majority said...

I've always been a huge simmons fan, at times i've also been an apologist. Even I have to admit that his smug attitude is pretty fucked.
But hell, it took me years to admit that Danny Snyder was a tad smug.

Slade said...

Re: "He graduated from law school and just took the bar... I am trying to get him to start his own sports blog. I have this great idea for him - instead of writing columns and testing the limits of his talents, he can just sit back and post snarky comments all day about other people's columns. I think this could work."

As a member of the site SonsoftheSportsGuy.com, my gut says this was a shot at the community we have over there. Believe me, we have members that are much more brutal on Simmons than even this, Drew.

twoeightnine said...

Danny Snyder was a tad smug
I'm hoping that you were just confused about his height.

Mark said...

Who's Bill Simmons?

Alex Fritz said...

Clay Travis passed him as the funniest sportswriter on a mainstream site this year. (I'd say Gallo did, too, but he's not allowed to be very funny on his ESPN columns compared to the sports pickle.)

Ryan Being Manny said...

I can't exactly agree with you guys. Obviously Simmons has dropped off significantly, but, raise your hand if you DON'T write or read about sports 8 hours a day. That doesn't make us losers, but the fact is people that read and write these things know that Scoop is a jack ass, and that Shannof is worthless (really, I could write two sentence dismissive blurbs every day. The Quickie was a complete waste of time). Is it really worth losing your job? He knew it would get him booted from the sports reporters. As for the rest of your gripes with the chat, its completely obvious to everyone who reads Simmons that he is having a mid life crises (which, in part, has to do with the fact he is self conscious and didn't see the constant bashing comming). Trying to sound cool is his denile defense mechanism. His style depends on his psuedo (and I would say faux-) coolness. Lets just hope he can find his place as a nearing 40 sports blogger. I don't think he can, but don't we owe him a shot?

Ryan Being Manny said...

P.S. I think with the bash on the intern he was just making fun of What Cott did AS the intern, which, admittedly, is a lot like they do at Deadspin. Part of me thinks the reason he decided not to have a new intern (besides his lack of production was highlighted by the daily updates) was how well its done at Deadspin. I really dont think it was a malcontented dig.

Alex G said...

ksk is self-indulgent, lazy writing. from what i can tell you exist solely because you flooded deadspin's comment sections. you aren't funny, you aren't talented, you aren't interesting, and you aren't original. get off your high horse. you would not exist without simmons. i wander over here once every few weeks off a deadspin tip hoping you'll have something worth reading, but it's just some attack on someone who wouldn't know you were alive if it weren't for will leitch. honestly you guys, i fully understand the hypocrasy of me attacking you for doing nothing but attacking everyone else, and lord knows no dude outside of a 6 block radius has heard of me...but honestly, you aren't going to last like this. put some thought into it. we know you hate espn. we also know you would have nothing to do without them. suck it up, know your place in the world, and produce something of value or fucking save it. judging by the head you get in your comments section i feel like i'm in the vast minority here but your work makes me frustrated and angry and disgusted. anyway, there's nothing i hate more than people going out of their way to slam someone so this is over and you wont hear from me again. jesus.
and yeah, feel free to take a look at my blog that i wrote for like two months last year and tear it up if that helps you sleep at night, i don't give a shit.

NFL Adam said...

So it was Bill Simmons, and not Al Gore who invented the Internet?

Monday Morning Punter said...

Alex G, are you related to Kenny G? That would clear a lot up for me.

feep said...

alex g, please refer to the initial post on this site:
There will be no analysis. Any mention of statistics to prove that a certain team is "better" than another will be countered with stats like this: 98% of assholes use stats to make a pointless argument. The only thing that we offer is the funny. Bring the funny or get the fuck out, that's our motto.

Seriously, that wasn't funny at all. You've totally missed the point of this site. Kind of like how Simmons has missed the point of writing.

alex g, are you bitter because you're from Boston and you have to protect your Boston pride?

On the upside, maybe Simmons will improve his writing now that he has seen it on the wall. Or something like that. Truthfully, Simmons knows that he is only as popular as ESPN makes him. If they were to ever stop featuring him and making people actively go to his article on their own, that would be the end. He is a shell of a writer who probably has potential but is just living off the success of the parent company and not off the strength of his writing.

As a side note, the 25 million reasons for TO to not commit suicide... is that before or after taxes?

Keith said...

personally i blame this on the Boston sports scene. if the Patriots and Red Sox still sucked, he wouldn't be quite as pompous as he is now. he's still be an asshat...just a humble asshat.

Flux said...

So it's funny when Simmons makes fun of everything else... but when he takes a few well-aimed swings at sports bloggers, you get your knickers all in a bunch? Grow a thicker skin; this post is equal parts embarassing and self-indicting.

Your daddy, Bitch! said...

Hey sometimes Simmons aggravates me too, but at least he’s not a no name pussy like you jack-offs. Simmons will be around for a long time while you maggots are forgotten like yesterday’s news. Grow some balls and do something productive with your life, rather than living other people’s. Dickheads

Christmas Ape said...

Oh, that's it, I'm killing myself. Pills, please.

Big Jim Slade said...

Well goddam if this Simmons blog didn't bring out more wet blankets than a pool party at Screech's.

Hey Flux and Alex G: Gay marriage finally gets legalized, but the the reception caterer serves veal.

Discuss.

craptastic42 said...

You hacks just proved Simmons's point. He's "smug and thinskinned," but you're the ones who posted an angry attack on him because he dared to say that there are sports blogs who attack other writers all the time? Isn't that what u guys did? You lose all credibility saying he's irrelevant, ESPN mustve given him his own spot on the main page just for shits and giggles. Maybe you should threaten to show pictures of his kids, that worked great the last time.

Johnny Cakes but not gay said...

u guys sure read every little thing Simmons writes VERY closely. Stalkers.

Jon Pyle said...

You make some valid points about Simmons but I think you're off on a few things. Simmons' writing hasn't gotten worse. If anything it's improved, technically speaking. Only the way you view his writing has changed. In 1999/2000 you thought it was awesome (as most young, male Sports Fans did) because he wrote like we would. He captured the way we think about sports and pop culture like nobody else had ever done. He was the innovator of that (forgive me for this title in advance- I couldn't think of a better phrase) "Page 2" Pop Culture meets Sports perspective for the mainstream. The problem is, he's still using the same routines, jokes and stories as he did 5-6 years ago. Now, there are people doing "The Sports Guy" better than Simmons. But truthfully, the fact is he's still better than 98% of what's out there on all mainstream sites.

Honestly, he's more like The Simpsons (speaking of blogger/fanboy criticism) than Kurt Warner. An innovator that became stale in the eyes of those that initially embraced him most fervently. Now, a few other shows are doing the satire that made the Simpsons famous better than they are, the same way a select few writers are blending pop culture and sports better than Simmons. But because you were first wave on the bandwagon, you take the alleged decline in quality somewhat personally.

I don't mind Simmons criticism. Just make sure you call a spade, a spade. For better or for worse: you've changed, he hasn't.

TuckPendleton said...

It's interesting that you guys line up to whack a guy who puts his real name to his words with everything he writes. Unlike here.

Sure, (and this includes myself) we all use silly internet monikers so we don't get found out at work, and that's fine when you're making fun of people and making dick jokes. But since this Simmons post reads as an attempt at an actual piece of criticism, have some balls and attach your real name to it. It's called accountability, gentlemen, and it's a fact of life in the grown-up world.

As far as I can tell, if you want to write a column for Deadspin, you use your real name. Even James Frey had more courage than you guys. Yeah, Deadspin will link here, but I doubt you'll see "Unsilent Majority" as a byline there. (As an random example.) Because they want to be taken seriously. Or semi-seriously, at least.

You guys are like the kid whose parents got divorced, you got more responsiblity than you wanted. You started a little site, but it got some big attention. And you want to keep acting like a kid, but the fact is, you're in a different world now, and with that world comes hard choices. People expect more out of you.

Personally, I hope you guys take it to the next level. It's clear the writers here have the talent. But maybe it's easier to take cheap anonymous potshots, and maintain your exalted "outsider" status, then stake your claim to something and work from there. I guess we'll see.

Unsilent Majority said...

So who was that Boston Sports Guy I always heard about?

Monday Morning Punter said...

His name was Robert Paulson.

TuckPendleton said...

UM, if this was the mid-90s, your point would be valid. But it's not.

You guys are on the radar of sports readers across the country -- as much as you might want to pretend otherwise, you're not a niche site. "Boston Sports Guy" as he existed then certainly wasn't getting any attention from SI or any other major sports publication or newspaper.

But you guys are. Because the web matters far more now. KSK's sole focus is also the most popular sport in America. Covering every team, coast to coast. You guys are demanding a national audience. It's evident in your writing, and your attitude. KSK, for all its declared love for the dick joke, has some serious ambition.

And there's nothing wrong with that. Simmons wanted to be more than some guy yakking on the Net, too. But in 2006, you can't just throw columns out there anonymously, but still expect to be taken seriously when you want to tear down another writer (or lift them up, for that matter.)

Captain Caveman said...

Sheesh, we've been over this before: most of us use pseudonyms because we have real jobs that we can lose by writing a blog. And it's for fun: none of us really stand anything to gain by writing here; we just do it because we like sports and making fun of things. And calling out Bill Simmons for being a dick to his former co-workers (one of whom has embraced Blogspot, and is therefore one of us) and for failing to see his own hypocrisy in his attitude towards blogs and how he achieved a meteoric rise on the Internet... well, I thought it was a pretty fun read.

And I'm not secretive about my name being Matt Ufford, but that's only because I don't have the shackles of a cubicle and TPS reports.

flubby said...

You hacks just proved Simmons's point. He's "smug and thinskinned," but you're the ones who posted an angry attack on him because he dared to say that there are sports blogs who attack other writers all the time? Isn't that what u guys did? You lose all credibility saying he's irrelevant, ESPN mustve given him his own spot on the main page just for shits and giggles. Maybe you should threaten to show pictures of his kids, that worked great the last time.


So are you "J-Bug" or "House"?

Big Daddy Drew said...

KSK, for all its declared love for the dick joke, has some serious ambition.

And the award for giving us wayyyyyy too much credit goes to Tuck.

Unsilent Majority said...

National audience? Ambition? I do this for fun. we don't advertise and we're not out looking for money. Truthfuly I just need an outlet so I don't scream at my coworkers for being ignorant Steeler fans...that's what Xmas Ape is for.

btw, Deadspin doesn't use bylines but i've been credited on the site under my real name and my pseudonym

GentleWhoadie9000 said...

Count me as somebody who never liked Bill Simmons in the first place- thus I've never had the opportunity to player hate. For starters, most of his pop culture tastes are boring. The things that make him such an "average" guy make him awfully unremarkable. He watches what everybody else watches and listens to what everybody else listens to. Dynamite. That's awesome. Also, that New England sports fan bullshit wore thin on me real fast. Stop whining you fucking baby.

Liberally add a whole bunch of b-grade Seinfeld-esque "you ever notice how..." insights and you get a self-important Masshole blustering on and on about pop culture he picked up without leaving his house (except to go to vegas, which is totally sweet by the way).

Stew said...

I think the criticism being leveled here is a bit harsh for a whole bunch of reasons. First of all, I don't think Simmons is attacking blogs per se. What he's said, many times, is that he doesn't get blogs that have nothing to say other than to rip on other writers. And I agree with him. If you're just derivative of something someone else wrote, why bother reading what you have to say? You really have nothing original to add the discussion? My guess is, it's a lot easier (and probably feels safer somehow) to vent on others than to stand out by saying something original yourself and thus enabling others to attack you. And Simmons has at least never done that.

Secondly, his writing has definitely gotten tighter over the years. Just read some of his old stuff and it takes him like 5 sentences to say what could have been reduced to 3.

Third, he's shown he can be a serious journalist - occasionally anyway. He's done serious pieces on Ali, Tyson, and just recently on the nature of sports movies over the years, with the villains changing from black to white.

All that said, I think his articles have lost a little freshness lately. There's only so many times you can go to the well with references to the Karate Kid or Hoosiers. Even the whole "alright I made that last part up" bit, which was hilarity when he first unveiled it, is a little stale, maybe because we expect it now.

All in all, my take is that the ripping on Simmons is way, way overdone. A lot of people either didn't have the skill to do what he did as a writer, or lacked the drive to pursue it the way he did. He paved the way for everyone else. My guess is, in 2 years, he won't be writing for ESPN - or for anyone else - anymore. He'll be working on screenplays, another sports book, and collecting royalties on the first one.

jeskeets said...

Wow, I'm gonna have a whole lot of fun if we ever find a picture of Big Daddy Drew and Simmons hugging.

(PS: SI.com's Dwyer is the funniest sportswriter on a mainstream site. Well, he is if you like that basketball shit.)

JBG JBG JBG said...

gladwell, all due respect, but analogizing bill simmons' work to gary carter--even at an historical and contextual distance--is absolutely ridiculous.

more and more every day, the chill, schoolmarmish prick at the core of his hectoring persona is coming out to play, and it's a good goddamned thing that people are finally figuring this out.

Unsilent Majority said...

skeets, i've spent countless hours on that same pursuit. as soon as i find it, it's all yours

TuckPendleton said...

UM --

You have to work with Steelers fans? Oh, man. I don't know what you did in a previous life to deserve that horrific fate, but I hope it was worth it. :)

In terms of the bylines on DS...you're right, it is not a largely bylined site...I guess I was referring the string of NFL previews they did. But we all know Will's name. Ditto for Harry Knowles, Simmons, Jessica Coen, Richard Johnson, Reilly, King, Dan Shanoff, Whitlock, the guys who run Smoking Gun have their names on the site, etc. Even Scoop Jackon.

I guess it comes down to this: KSK wants to "bring the funny"? I'm all for it. But if you want to play both sides of the fence, and be taken seriously, -- write criticism, especially of other writers mining largely the same vein, and especially the writer who helped create the very niche you work in -- you can't be surprised when people ask for a little more accountability.

SandisfieldStyleBBQ said...

Simmons is kinda acting like a woman lately, he references chic shows more than wrestling and other stuff his core audience relates to. I'm sure he's attracting lots of half ass sports fans that will buy up his next book, but in doing so he's losing the respect of readers that had appreciated his previously "outside the box" style of writing.

DaveRoberts said...

This has served to either

1. Solidify the backers of Simmons who still enjoy his (occasional) work. Sure, he's tailing off a little but that sort of jerkish, selfish quality he had was always enjoyable. Oh wait, until he says something that might offend you.

or

2. Has just created one big ol' circle jerk for the people who hate everything at the worldwide leader. We could all write a book on what is wrong with ESPN and how dilluted it's become but what's the point of that?


that being said, I enjoyed the piece because it's your take and you called him out. although it did seem a bit rushed, supplemented with profanity to disguise itself for actual substance. attack BS all you want but pack a little more punch next time. you're riddled with holes.

Unsilent Majority said...

so's your mom.

sorry, that was childish and inappropriate. but hey, nice sb in the world series!

Oops420 said...

The fact of the matter is, Simmons is still a funny guy. Lets face it, you get what you pay for. He's a good cheap laugh while at work, looking to kill some time. True his jokes are a bit stale, but you know what? They still make me laugh. Why do we all watch re-runs of Seinfeld? It's still funny that's why. Get this analogy? You guys are like a bunch of underground music fans, that turn on their favorite band, just because they went pop. Regardless if he's "mainstream" he's still funny and a unique writer. Especially when it's compared to the other writers on that site. No one should hate the guy for trying to make a living, this is what everyone on these sites aspire to be. Lighten up and take it for what it's worth, a cheap laugh.

thope said...

NEWSFLASH:
Bloggers are sick of Simmons. Fucking sellout.

Although you gotta expect it, after all LA+ESPN has created some pretty heinous trash.

Kudos BDD, just said what thousands are thinking.
Huzzah, 75th comment, Go for 100 you longwinded bastards!

Paul Teeple said...

Though I know this is a football site, I'd like to draw a hockey analogy... in hockey if the players feel that one asshole player is taking liberties with their team and the refs aren't doing anything about it, someone's gonna go throw down with the asshole. They call it self-policing. And from my experience, that's what the blogosphere is largely made of: self-policing writers. Simmons does it (sometimes), Will does it, Whitlock did it for a blog, BDD does it (a lot). Not only is it a part of blogging, I would tell you that it's a necessary part because there needs to be critics, espcially of the hyper-sensitive ESPN. (When was the last George Solomon article, WWL?)

In other words, ESPN isn't going to allow published criticism of Simmons anywhere so why not have a blog that has a national level of notoriety like KSK run its criticism?

Now granted there are lots of blogs out there who solely exist to piss and moan and sling mud at writers who badly outclass them; they're the blogging equivalent of sending Jaromir Jagr to go fight someone. The KSK guys have actual talent and can actually entertain you with dick and fart jokes and liberal use of "fuck" while still delivering an on-point criticism of another writer; KSK is more like sending out the Hanson brothers for a dustup. (Case in point- BDD's Advice Post to Tony Kornheiser... if you didn't find yourself both laughing and nodding your head in thoughtful agreement then I only have one question for you: does your knee still hurt when it gets cold outside, Mr. Theismann?)

On the other hand, I'm not going to say Simmons was wrong for attacking lame blogs because he's still got a right to do some self-policing as well. I think the problem is that every blogger thinks that anyone who has a blogspot account is their brother in arms. Which is silly because in the end we are all, in one respect or another, citizen media critics and just because someone else uses the same media as we do doesn't make them infallible. If blogs out there suck, it's not a crime for someone, whose lucrative career just so happened to be springboarded from blogging, to say "this is shit" or even publish the thought "this is shit" (err, in Simmons' case, "this is s**t"). Simmons' biggest crime, IMO, was not specifically mentioning the blogs he was attacking; the generalization was taken as an assault on all blogs everywhere even though he could've just been talking about two or three blogs that truly do suck.

Just looking at both sides, here.

thope said...

paul teeple, you are one long winded bastard.

not to say you don't have good points

Big Daddy Drew said...

These comments are all about 30 times more thoughtful than the original post. Thanks to tuckpendleton and the rest.

As for the anonymity thing, I would love to put my name on this stuff. But I'm not in the position Harry Knowles or Simmons or any of those people were when they started out. I have a career that supports my wife and kid, and I can't really jeopardize that by tossing my name up here for clients to see. The only way to make up for it is the fact that anyone is free to comment here and tell me what a dipshit I am. And they do.

As for the rest of the whole "don't rip on the other writers as a way of protecting yourself or not providing substance", feel free to look at the archives of this site. There is a shitload of original content: playlists, drugging guides, gambling guides, fantasy posts, that are all original columns ready for anyone to tear apart. Sure, we occasionally give a writer or two the Fire Joe Morgan treatment, but it's not some big insecurity thing. I read the Simmons chat, felt strongly that he was douching it up, and fired off a rant. I don't sit in some lab for weeks dissecting each column like some kind of writer stalker. That would be gay. It's like following a team. Sometimes they piss you off and you bitch about it. There's nothing else to it.

But keep the comments coming. And be sure to throw a bukkake joke in there or two.

Unsilent Majority said...

what the fuck is hockey?
what the fuck is an analogy?

Paul Teeple said...

What the fuck is the internet?

Unsilent Majority said...

Where the fuck am I?

Johnny Cakes but not gay said...

Somebody post a picture of Simmons' daughter. so what she's 2 years old, he writes about her. Open season.

I see you did your football picks with spreads, humor, and SNL analogies. I wonder who could have inspired you to do such a thing.

Unsilent Majority said...

point spreads, humor, and saturday night live are all registered trademarks of Bill Simmons...nobody before him would have ever thought to use such devices.

Paul Teeple said...

Who (the fuck) is Barry Bostwick?

ojarhead said...

I dunno....I think you are reading too much into some of BS's chat comments and taking them too personally....his comments on Whitlock don't seem like a slap in the face to bloggers...more like he was surprised the guy risked the opportunities he had on ESPN.COM and ESPN for a blog interview...I mean, if Whitlock is writing for a living, taking the risk of losing those opportunities is questionable, ya know?

D said...

That was one of the lamest "takedowns" of a journalist I have ever read.

I guess that writing the words fuck, douche, shit and dick must make you feel like you are really getting something across to the reader but it just comes across as weak and inarticulate.

Unsilent Majority said...

ojar, whitlock was fired from espn.com...that was kind of the point of his coming out party. he was still involved with espn television until he (knowingly) said what he really thought of Lupica (and he's not the first).

he probably could have kept his mouth shut and done the ESPN dance but apparently he was sick of their shit.

ojarhead said...

fair enough...although, i really the real point of his coming out party wasnt so much his being sick of their shit...but to get the attention for the new AOL gig...

Jeff said...

Do you talk to people like you write? Seriously, I feel awkward just reading this. You're commenting on the comments of someone who was comments on people who PLAY SPORTS FOR A LIVING. Think about that one.

If you don't like someone, don't read their shit. Kinda like I'm going to be doing with this blog.

Awal said...

I'm late to this party, so no one is ever going to see what I write. And at the risk of using something that sounds like Simmons' own words, I would contend that the better comparison or analogy is to Joe Montana. He's had a long and distinguished career already. In large part, he's redefined the "game" in which he plays. Unfortunately, he's in his Kansas City Chiefs period. Often still he's capable of putting up an unbelieveable completion or a great set of downs; even rarer he'll put an amazing game together, but you know that he's begun that inexorable march toward irrelevance and that over the course of a season, he'll be a disappointment. None of which is to say that you can't remember him fondly; none of which is to say that he's not a hall-of-famer; only to say that he's not what he once was--in large part because everyone around him has copied his game, and the younger guys can do it better.

Unsilent Majority said...

You're commenting on the comments of someone who was comments on people who PLAY SPORTS FOR A LIVING. Think about that one.

and now you're commenting on the comments of someone who was commenting on someone who comments on people who PLAY SPORTS FOR A LIVING....NOW I'M DOING IT!!!

Ian McPhee said...

I live in Boston, unlike Bill Simmons - who was born in NY, grew up in CT (which as anyone from New England knows is not New England, but a suburb of NY) and now lives in L.A. If you flirt with becoming a Mets fan at any point in your life, as Bill admits to in his book, I speak for a lot of people when I beg you not to write books about the Red Sox. Those "BORN INTO IT" T-shirts were created by people who see through Bill Simmons-types. He isn't here and he doesn't live it. He is a fucktard.

Offy said...

To build upon what the last poster said, Simmons still writes about Boston sports like he still lives here when he couldn't be more out of touch. When the rumors were flying about the Red Sox possibly trading for Roger Clemens his hate-on blinded him and he wrote about how Sox fans would never want Clemens back. I saw multiple polls by the Globe and Herald as well as a local TV station or two that averaged about 72% of people wanting Clemens to return. Not entirely scientific, but a good example of how out-of-touch Simmons is.

Freddie Flintoff said...

Who's Bill Simmons?

Jason "Sweet Baby" Matkovich said...

Hey, I'm a Steelers fan and right now, WE SUCK! Ben looks like he forgot how to play the game, the line forgot how to block. Our best quarterback right now is probably Charlie Batch but its still better than Aaron Brooks. Ben is 0-140 something passes for touchdowns. That is downright deplorable. And Cowher seems to have had his I'm Keith Hernandez moment and played Ben too early. Well, now his confidence looks shot and that can not be good at all. I say he should have played Batch the first three games, especially after that appendectomy.

Yeah, I know, I just used a Bill Simmons joke there using the "Keith Hernandez" and its obvious because it wasn't funny but you know what? You all understood what I meant and was a lot easier than writing Bill Cowher finally won a Super Bowl so now he thinks he can't do anything wrong. And Bill is funny occasionally, just like how you will occasionally see a music video on MTV.

Purdue Matt said...

Fuck Bill Simmons.

plainview said...

Bill Simmons is still the best sports journalist/blogger/whatever you want to call him. He never said that the deadspin bloggers or readers were losers, he just criticized how Whitlock handled the situation. Simmons isn't as funny as he used to be, but everyone declines, and I still look forward to his next column.