I’m a fan of irony. I think the Wizard of Oz is a great movie (Dorothy spent the whole movie trying to get home, when she had the ability all along) and I once read a great story about how in 1974 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission had to recall 80,000 of its own lapel buttons promoting “toy safety”, because the buttons had sharp edges, used lead paint, and had small clips that could be broken off and subsequently swallowed. I can’t help but find it a little bit ironic that less than a month after I started “critiquing” (for lack of a better word) the Sports Guy’s columns, he decides to focus on his concept of “sports hate”. The key here, is that “sports hate” is not a real hatred of someone… you can hate what they stand for (hating Scott Boras because of his incessant greed) or who they play for (disliking Jeter because he plays for the Yankees) or for any number of things… but you never truly hate the person. You sports hate them because it is fun.
I don’t hate Bill Simmons the person… in fact, far from it. He is a talented writer, and when allowed to be creative (take a listen to one of his appearances on Adam Carolla’s early podcasts) he has a great sense of humor. I rip him because I know how good he used to be… I rip him because of how good I know he CAN be… I rip him because it is fun.
(And as much as I really liked this column he wrote… I’m gonna rip this one too)
Why do I sports hate the Sports Fella? It takes him less than 40 words to utter the line “If you read my basketball book” and repeat one of the stories he has told in an old column, and again in his new book. One would think that since he already has hit #1 on the NYT Bestseller list for nonfiction, that he doesn’t need to use his column space to constantly pimp his tome. This is very similar to his “Subway Fresh Take Hotline” on the podcast, and his lame “Miller Lite Great Call of the Week”. Terrific examples of shamless corporate product placement, and reminds me way too much of the great Wayne Campbell… after he sold out.
About halfway through we get the obligatory “Mike Dunleavy stinks” portion of his column. I am actually shocked that this hasn’t been sponsored by now, since it has become a part of just about everything his has written since 2006. Ideas? I am thinking the “Conair (get it? Conair…clippers) Mike Dunleavy Anecdote of The Week. Who’s in??
As he gets into his picks for the week (and after we get the Miller Lite Great Call of the Week out of the way) we have the “Underdog Lock of the Week” and his “Pet Peeve of the Week”. Ok, enough already. How about we add one more… the “Immodium AD Crappy Column Idea of the Week”. I have a few nominations already.
Looking at the structure of his weekly pick columns, I can’t help but think that he has this giant whiteboard in his home office (or bathroom, wherever he writes this each week) with a big checklist on it. It has things like “Roadhouse reference”, “book plug”, “Gus Johnson reference” and every time he shoehorns one of those things into an article, he can check it off. Check em all off, and there you go – column done!
That being said, I’ve completed my checklist for the week…
The piece of garbage we will be critiquing ever so gently today can be found HERE.
In reading SG’s latest column, I can’t help but be a little confused. Are we supposed to feel bad for him? His biggest theme in his writing as of late (besides complete repetition of columns and tired references) has been trying to earn some sympathy from his readers because he has such a tough tough life. Really? It was merely a week ago that he boasted of adding 4 televisions to his “office” (basement) so he could max out on his football watching. (translation: “TMZ watching”)
So I’m supposed to feel sorry for someone who works a few hours a week (most of his readership works 40+), has to focus on sports (as opposed to TPS reports and other business-world related crapola), and makes an obscene amount of money (whereas most of his readership is likely non-millionaires)? Stop me if you think I am out of line by not buying his “woe is me” crap.
My lack of feeling bad for him begins with paragraph #1:
Book tours are debilitating. My body clock is so screwed up that, on consecutive nights, I woke up in the middle of the night and had no idea where I was. My right thumb has swelled to 140 percent the size of my left thumb. My back is crumbling like blue cheese. My immune system might turn me into Patient X of Swine Flu 2.0 before everything’s said and done. Even my BlackBerry mouse no longer can move to the right.
“Book tours are debilitating”. He got a book published! Do you know how many struggling authors out there would kill to have a book published, and SG decides it is in the best interest to whine about how tough it is to travel to different cities and sign your own name for a couple of hours while idiots kiss your ass? This is akin to complaining that “my back hurts because I keep my wallet in my back pocket, and I have so much money in it that it forces me to lean to one side.” or “I am SO tired this morning, I mean the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were keeping me up all night at my place.” I’m crying over here… really, I am. It’s insulting.
He continues to complain about his book tour in excruciating detail.
Like, I hit the snooze button three times, begrudgingly woke up, peed, then groggily called the show. They will not be sending these interviews to the Radio Hall of Fame.
They won’t be sending the interviews to the Radio Hall of Fame because William has the worst radio voice in the history of radio. He sounds like Jay Leno after he had been kicked in the gonads. This has nothing to do with content.
I brought my Dad to every signing this week. In Chicago, someone noticed him and joked, “My God, David Crosby has lost a ton of weight!” That was followed by the debut of my Dad’s “Wait, I didn’t know I was going to be heckled on my son’s book tour” face. High comedy.
Wow, another ” ‘fill in the blank with something not funny’ face” joke from the SG. I wonder how many times he saw the ” ‘I can’t believe I paid $24.50 for something I could have put together myself with a printer, some Scotch tape and access to the ESPN archive’ face” during his scrapbook tour.
We ran out of books in D.C. again. Second straight time. This gave birth to a new face: the Bill Simmons “They Promised Me This Wouldn’t Happen in D.C. Again” face. I still feel awful. I will be back, D.C. I will be back.
How does this even happen? Isn’t this simple math? Actually, it’s not what it seems. It is less of a “I ran out, I am sorry” mistake, than a “I am going to use this story to show how immensely popular I am in DC! I am going to say that I am SO popular, that I brought more than last time and still ran out!” move. Nicely played. You had me going for a second there, SG. Actually, later in your column you talk about running out of Halloween candy, so maybe you really can’t count. We may never know the answer to this question. I am guessing that SG is so bad at estimating, that he fills up the bathtub to the rim and then gets in, but can’t figure out why it overflowed.
The World Series started and finished during my tour. In the Newark airport, Lewis and I watched the second and third innings of Game 2, then had to board a plane not knowing whether Pedro would survive our flight. The plane landed in Boston an hour later. I glanced at my BlackBerry. The top e-mail read like this: “GOOD GOD, THAT’S GRADY LITTLE’S MUSIC!” Say no more. I didn’t even have to look at the score.
At what point can we hope to retire the Grady Little/WWE’s Jim Ross reference? This shows up so often in his columns, that I am convinced he has it programmed in as a shortcut on his Microsoft Word so he can easily insert it into any piece at a moment’s notice.
This happened at every signing: I’d be banging out signatures and talking to people when suddenly I’d hear the sound of a little kid either yelling or crying somewhere in line. A weird nature-type thing happened each time: The sound made me happy. What is it about being a parent that, if you’re away from your kids for a few days, even the unhappy sounds of other people’s kids make you happy? Bizarre.
First of all, I can’t get on board with SG referring to “signing his name” as “banging out signatures”. Are we supposed to believe that SG repeatedly doing something that he learned how to do in the 10th grade (har har) is impressive? Actually, now that you mention it, the other thing he says he “bangs out” are his columns. Maybe there is a correlation, there. Both a column and a signature on a book take less than 30 seconds. Bingo.
Second, he fails to mention the second half of the “kids crying” episode, where between tears, the kid begs his parents not to make him talk to the creepy guy who smells like coffee and Parliament Lights… the real reason for the tantrum.
Every time someone asked me to sign a book for a friend who was getting engaged, I signed it, “WELCOME TO HELL.” I just thought this was funny. Nine out of every 10 people agreed. The 10th person seemed horrified. Whatever. Ninety percent is solid.
Nine out of ten people agreed? 89 of the remaining 90 thought you should give the “marriage sucks” position a rest. Stick to sports. Everyone heard the marriage stinks jokes 15 years ago, when Al Bundy was letting them fly on Fox, and 40 years ago when Ralph Cramden invented it. It is a wildly unoriginal concept.
I did enough radio interviews that, by the time I talked to NPR this Thursday, I realized that I could discuss my book on autopilot. I had turned into a Book-Pimping Jukebox. Press A-2 and I will tell you why Oscar’s triple-double is overrated. Press C-7 and I will tell you why the Basketball Hall of Fame needs to be blown up.
This shouldn’t be considered all that impressive, because he put his columns on autopilot three years ago. He’s merely applying those “mailing it in skills” to a different media. Bravo. Talk about efficiency.
In Chicago, a woman asked me to sign her chest, followed by a Borders representative saying, “No, he can’t do that!” and an extra second when I nearly yelped, “Wait a second, I’d be happy to sign your chest!” before realizing that that was an absolutely terrible idea.
This would have been hilarious, if it wasn’t the exact same scene that played out in Happy Gilmore.
I stayed at a hotel room in Manhattan that had an awesome view of Central Park. Had no idea it extended as long as it does.
Wow. How insightful. Thanks for that.
I wrote my Week 8 Picks column half asleep on a Saturday cross-country flight, didn’t finish it before my battery ran out, then wrote the last third of the column on my BlackBerry. You’re not gonna believe this, but I finished 4-9.
Ok, he’s not surprising anyone by telling them he wrote that column while he was asleep. Finally, he earns some honesty points here. Follow that up with an excuse for making some bad picks, and we have everything we need for a successful column. In fact, I am proposing that each week for the rest of the year, he just make picks on Fridays with no commentary… then write a brief (don’t want to ask too much of him) sentence at the end which explains in why his picks from the previous week were garbage. Some examples could include “I went 3-10 last week because I spent all my time counting my money instead of researching the NFL” or “The reason I went 4-9 last week was that I spent all week at Kimmel’s, and I planned on doing some research, but then Hugh Hefner came over to watch football, and I got distracted by Abraham Lincoln, who sat next to me on the couch.” (You do realize that it is only a matter of time before he name drops someone outrageous like the 16th President of the United States… we get it, you know famous people.)
I stopped the signings for two days so I could spend Halloween weekend with my kids. We live in a neighborhood that gets slammed by trick-or-treaters; this time, we ran out of candy with dozens of trick-or-treaters left. Just as we were about to start turning people away, my daughter announced that she wanted to give away her candy to the remaining trick-or-treaters. And she did. She’s 4. She is going to be a good kid. I know it. This was the happiest moment of my book tour, hands down. My father
told me I would understand someday, but I already do.
Here we go… it started with his sob story about his dog last year, and he delves into the serious for another brief moment while telling us how much of a saint his daughter is. Look, SG, you are no Mitch Albom. It’s only a matter of time before SG publishes his next book “Fridays with JackO” by William Simmons. Everyone goes through it, in every medium. Actors build their foundation with silly stuff, and puff pieces, and then go for the Oscar by “uglying up” or playing someone with a disability. It’s textbook. Halle Berry was in a bunch of crap, and was known only as a hot actress until she uglied up and won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball. Billy Bob in Sling Blade, Charlize Theron in Monster. It is formulaic and only a matter of time before “William” pulls this template off the shelf and goes for something different. Highly unoriginal, and sure to be vintage Sports Guy.
Wow, did I just compare him to Halle Berry? Shame on me.
He wraps up the column with his picks (don’t forget! he was soooo tired when he made them!) which I will spare in terms of a critique.
I’ll be back Friday afternoon, where I plan on copying and pasting this column and attempting to pass it off as new material.
Check out the last three podcast descriptions for the BS Report… book plugs, book plugs, and book plugs.
I actually got an advance copy of the blurbs for his next three podcasts… they are as follows:
1. Simmons joins his dad to discuss his new book and seek the love and attention he never got as a child.
2. In part one, Bill Simmons talks to himself in the shower… about his new book!
3. In part two, Simmons welcomes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to talk about healthcare reform, the state of the economy, and bi-partisan politics… as they all relate to his new book!
He’s at it again… somehow turning an innocuous weekly NFL picks column into a thousand word love fest… of himself. He waits all of ZERO words before he gets into some Billy-love, check it out:
You may not have noticed. You may not have cared. Hell, you may have thought it was a weekly typo. But through the first six weeks of the 2009 NFL season, your buddy Simmons was enjoying a career year with his picks column.
Correct, I did not notice. (Because his picks are less about actually choosing teams and more about working in the same tired pop culture references.)
Correct, I did not care. (Who is pathetic enough to track someone else’s picks for 7 weeks and actually care? Not I.)
And whoa… you are not my “buddy”. I take great umbrage with this line, because we’ve seen the SG transgress from a local, somewhat humble writer (who actually COULD be a “buddy” of ours) to a big shot with a bigger ego, who name drops celebrities like it is his job. (Oh wait, it is his job. Carry on.)
He only takes 17 words off before he infuriates me again… stop me if you think I am out of line:
I spend more time on this column than you can possibly imagine. It takes me three-and-a-half days to write. I watch every minute of football on Sunday and Monday. I scour newspapers and TV shows searching for tidbits. I spend two full days writing material, making picks and flipping games around every which way. Three years ago, I even turned my office into a man cave and added four televisions just so I could watch as much football as possible.
Really? More time on this column “than we could possibly imagine”?? Ok, I am imagining that he spends 3 minutes on this column every week. Copy/paste the game lines each week, press the button on his “80s Movie Reference Generator” a few times. Since I only imagine 3 minutes, if he spends a grand total of 5 minutes a week on this pile of dung, then it is certainly more than I could possibly imagine.
In addition, are we supposed to believe that he had success over the first few weeks of the year because he pays more attention to football than other people? Come on. There are people that do this for a living and their success rate is the same as every Tom, Dick, and Bill who has ever bet on a game… a little bit of knowledge, and a whole lotta luck. Personally, I think it was just an excuse to work in that (a) he actually has the time to watch every minute of football each week.. go ahead, rub it in… and (b) that he has the money to put four televisions in one room.
He goes on to talk of his “system”… or “Simbotics”, as he (and ONLY he) has named it. Sneaky move… link to a 2004 column within this one… that way people click back, read another column before coming back, making THIS one seem longer! Brilliant!
Let’s go into the actual definition of what Simbotics represents:
SIMBOTICS – (sym-BAH-tix) noun: 1. The system of column-writing known for its repetitive nature, and lack of originality. 2. A type of medication taken to counteract the effects of reading a national “sports” column written by a well-known sellout. 3. The field of study focused on ball-washing legitimate writers Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman.
There, now that we are all on the same page with regards to the true definition of Simbotics, it’s time to move along…
SIDEBAR! Miller Lite Crappy Call of the Week! Here, Willie tries yet again to get his name attached to a particular “theory”, with his dual sport corollary. First off, it’s dumber than dumb. He has to know that professional athletes have no emotional ties to the city they “work” in. Gone are the days where players had a sense of loyalty and city pride… not anymore. If he thinks the Phillies were going to play better because the Eagles rolled, he was an idiot. He also came up with this crackhead theory on very little rest (makes sense) as he writes “I’m typing this on a cross-country flight after staying out in Boston past 2 a.m. and getting up at 5:30 a.m. for a 7:30 flight. You know you look bad when the guy sitting next to you sees you, then glances around the plane to look for an open seat.” Just looking bad? That’s it? So it had nothing to do with the fact that there was a chinless middle aged man who smelled like Marlboro Reds and spent the pre-flight time scouring the web for naked pics of Jon Hamm sitting next to him? Right.
He then claims to get the following email repeatedly from many readers:
Awesome job with the picks this year! I’m riding you this weekend.” Here’s what I wanted to send back: “No! No! Don’t ride me! Get off! GET OFF! RIGHT NOW!”
First off, I am sure there are tons of idiots out there who would bypass their own research, and put their own money on the line based on the words of some dude who makes his picks based on what Andy and Red would choose. The problem is, those people are SO dumb that they don’t know how to send email, and thus could not have contacted the SG. Hence, the story is fake.
Secondly, I highly doubt he would ever utter the lines “No! No! Don’t ride me! Get off! GET OFF! RIGHT NOW!” I am guessing he would take whatever he could get, even if she was a deuce, deuce and a half.
the Sports Turd then tries to explain why his “system” failed last week and he had a mediocre 6-6-1 record… he says:
That’s how 9-4 becomes 6-6-1. Bad luck. Bad luck that happened because bad-luck readers were rolling with me. At least that’s what I like to tell myself. And even if it isn’t true, I think it’s true, and that’s all that matters.
I am sure this was tongue in cheek (god I hope so) but it’s NOT luck when you win, but it IS luck when you lose? Way to sell your “loyal readers” up the river.
I actually am not going to comment on the picks themselves this week because it is the same thing every single week, and unlike some people, I prefer not to beat a dead horse. Here’s his three and a half day column in 30 seconds: “bet against a crappy Qb, Seattle basketball reference (what?), Brenda Warner joke”. Thanks, we’ve heard it all before.
One last note before signing off until (inevitably) Friday again… he manages to plug his book several times throughout the column, but this like irked me to no end:
I’m afraid to plug this book again after doing it so shamelessly this week. I felt like I should have been dressed like Snoop Dogg in the “Starsky and Hutch” remake. But hey, it’s the best book I will ever write and I wanted you to read it. So there.
I’m just going to edit this little paragraph, and see how it reads…
I’m afraid to plug this book scrapbook of diarrhea again (but I ABSOLUTELY WILL) after doing it so shamelessly this week. I felt like I should have been dressed like Snoop Dogg in the “Starsky and Hutch” remake. But hey, it’s the best longest book I will ever write copy from columns I have written over the past few years and I wanted you to read buy it so I can put even more TV’s in my “office”. So there.
Clips forward Blake Griffin breaks his kneecap and will be sidelined for several weeks. It’s only a matter of time before SG takes credit for the jinx factor on this one, based on the following, from his latest column:
I hate the lottery system because it puts good rookies on bad teams, then expects them to turn those teams around. Sometimes it happens; other times it doesn’t. But those young players end up assuming an enormous amount of pressure during a point in their career where, actually, they’d be much better off blending in with a good team and easing along into whatever they end up being. Of the past 15 years of blue-chippers, only Duncan and Kobe were given this luxury. Griffin is the luckiest blue-chipper since them: not only does he play for a potential playoff team, but he doesn’t have to fight with someone for minutes or carry the scoring load. He just has to worry about running the floor, rebounding and finishing. A cushy situation, to say the least. For once, it appears as if becoming a Clipper was the BEST thing that could have happened to someone.
(Note: Please don’t e-mail this paragraph to me in three weeks if Blake is rolling around on the floor holding his right ankle. Thank you.)
I actually have to give credit where credit is due… it was maybe 5 days tops before Blake got hurt. Not a bad prediction at all. (Not a tough one, but not a bad one. It’s like predicting that Thanksgiving will fall on a Thursday this year.)
SG’s column can be found HERE.
It’s Friday afternoon, do you know where your “football” column is? At the beginning of the NFL season, SG’s intentions were good… write a column a week previewing the NFL action (i.e. helping with gambling picks). I am sure the loyal readers thought this was great… guaranteed one column per week, plus with the NBA coming up, his Bruins getting started, and the ramp up to the World Cup (SG’s new favorite non-sport), the Sports Guy’s World should be overflowing with new material this fall! Terrific!
Well the double-dipping has begun already. Instead of writing his annual NBA preview column AND his NFL picks column… he mashes them into one incoherent pile of dung. One would think that with a book tour coming up, he’d want multiple opportunities to pimp his new scrapbook! Nah, LG (the Lazy Guy) let’s it fly this week with a hybrid article. God forbid he should write more than once per week.
So let’s critique the NBA preview! Let me first address the concept… a list of NBA players. Awesome. Wow, we’ve never seen this before from Willy.
True to form, the Hollywood Guy themes his list “The 33 Most Intriguing NBA People”. Odd, that he would choose to truncate his list at 33 people… I mean, most lists are in nice round numb– oh wait, I get it, he’s a huge fan of a certain basketball player who wears number 33! He NEVER mentions that. I am as big a Larry Legend fan as the next guy, but at some point you have to realize that EVERYONE gets it… you’re a fan. Move on, Sportsguy33@Twitter. (Does anyone else get the creepy feeling that SG makes the Sports Gal dress up in short shorts, throw on a pair of Converse Weapons and make her wear a wispy blond fake mustache when he wants to get amorous with her? Just a thought.)
Next up, the “most intriguing” players? When did he start writing for People magazine?! What’s next, the “Sexiest Power Forward Alive” column? Come on!
Let’s get into the list itself… and we’ll skip the first few boring entries and move right to #27, Anthony Randolph. SG writes some sort of Anthony Randolph-related paragraph in almost every NBA column he writes… and I am convinced that it is for the sole reason that IF Randolph turns out to be a stud, he wants to be able to say “I told you about Anthony Randolph! I’m brilliant! I should be am NBA GM!” He wants to be “that guy”. We all know this guy, he exists at all of our fantasy football drafts… last year he took Matt Forte in the 13th round but “totally knew he would be awesome”. It’s a crapshoot at best, and if he turns out lousy, no one cares. It’s the perfect gamble.
Moving along to #20… Nate McMillan. He really spent an entire paragraph on the coach of the TrailBlazers? What a waste. I guess the only bigger surprise is that there wasn’t a “Hey, Greg Oden is OLD!” joke mixed in there. He’s usually good for one of those in every column. (Not just NBA ones, either) Of course, he finishes with his “Ladies and Gentlemen, your Portland TrailBlazers!” signature line. Remind me when he became Ed Sullivan again?
I’m not even getting into his Miller Lite Great Call of the Week (which I will dub the “Miller Lite Less Filling Call of the Week” from here on out, because you finish it feeling less intelligent than when you started) because he drones on AGAIN about Mike Dunleavy. I am waiting to find out that the real reason behind all this hatred boils down to Dunleavy cutting in front of him at Peet’s Coffee back in 2005 or something. (After all, it can’t be because of the way he coaches the Clips… who gives a rat’s ass about that?)
#17: Donnie Walsh… we are 16 people into the list, and 6 have been non-players. No one wants to read about this crap.
#15: Rudy Gay. I really have no complaints about this pick… I think he is an “intriguing player” and actually has some funny lines about a great show, Curb your Enthusiasm. I just wanted to respond to one line in particular about Rudy. SG writes “You can get Gay for the right price.” You sure can, Bill, and your “right price” was on your ESPN contract, as soon as you signed it.
#14 through #11, four more non-players. I love reading columns about old farts in suits.
#10: Blake Griffin. Finally, some original material! This is some good stuff, but it’s only original because Griffin is a rookie. Look for the exact same paragraph in his upcoming mid-year player trade value rankings, his end of year trade value rankings, and every NBA player list column he writes for the next 10 years.
#8: Shaquille O’Neal. Wait, I got distracted by the list of upcoming book excerpts that will be published this week… first being “Should Bill Walton have won the 1978 MVP?” Wow, what an interesting question. Debating an irrelevant award (the only hardware that matters is the Larry O Trophy) that was given out 31 years ago? Seriously? I can’t wait for his hockey preview column, where he tries to figure out why Jacques Plante didn’t win the 1960 Vezina Trophy.
#7: Kevin Garnett. (SHAWSHANK REFERENCE! SHAWSHANK REFERENCE!)
#5: David Stern. Can’t believe he is not #1 on this list, given the SG’s infatuation wiht the man. News flash. Stern is not the evil genius you want him to be, William. He did not freeze the envelope of the Patrick Ewing lottery, he didn’t banish Jordan after finding out about his gambling problem… you are giving this midget way too much credit. You WANT him to be Tony Soprano, but he is more like Tony Miceli.
Blah blah, Tim Duncan LeBron James… I stopped reading already.
So I have no problem admitting when I am wrong… and this is one of those times. I was wrong when I predicted that the new SG book would be a terrible purchase because it would essentially be a scrapbook of his previously published basketball articles. Instead, the real reason it will be a terrible purchase is because the new material in there STINKS. Wow, two more excerpts, and both happen to involve the ABA. Fantastic. Very relevant, William. I can’t wait for his The Book of Football when he spends half the book writing about the USFL.
“So I said, ‘New Jersey Generals? More like New Jersey PRIVATES!’ Hahaha.”