Saturday, August 29, 2009

12 comments This Simmons Mailbag Just Feels Half-Assed

Bill Simmons has a mailbag up. I wrote this entire post on it and then something struck me funny and I couldn't shake the feeling. I read what I had written and wondered if what I wrote was shit, but I didn't think that was it. So I went to Sons of the Sports Guy for the first time in my life and wanted to read what they wrote. The first two comments shed light on it for was half-assed. It still had all the makings of a Simmons mailbag with his annoying "real" readers and his annoying opinion. I still had to skip parts or else the post would be of epic length, but I felt like he just did it because he had nothing else to write about and had no other column he just put a mailbag up with what good emails he could find.

The Simmons mailbag is the Saturday treat for this week, unless you like our short Saturday posts, in which case you are probably already skipping parts. I don't even count a mailbag as a "column" for Bill either. I am sure it takes some work to do but it really shouldn't require that much thought and action on his part like a column does. For a guy who likes to joke about how long his columns are, to the point people take them to the toilet to read them in peace and for a guy who talks about how people read them at work, he sure does a lot of Podcasts, which from my understanding are difficult to listen to at work and in the bathroom. Just thought I would mention that.

I also want to remind everyone we have the BoTB Yahoo Fantasy Draft at 1pm on Sunday. We'll see how many of those involved will be able to attend. Live drafts are always fun because I get so caught up in talking I sometimes neglect to see it is my turn to pick soon. So if I draft Donte Stallworth, you will know why. There is a special prize if someone selects Mike Vick AND Brett Favre on their team and then drafts Donovan McNabb and Tavaris Jackson as their handcuffs. That would be great.

As I predicted a few months ago, the next city ESPN is doing the local ESPN site for (like they created for ESPNChicago) is Boston. I did predict this a few months ago but for the life of me I can't find it. I say a lot of stuff and I say it in long, drawn out posts, so it's really hard for me to find this...but rest assured I said Boston would be next.

Bill made clear on his Twitter he will NOT be writing for this new site.

Clarification on ESPNBoston launch: I'm not writing new material for 'em. If I write a Boston-related column, it'll just run there as well.

Great, just what we needed. More motivation for Bill to talk about Boston and his favorite sports teams from that area because he will have a specific audience. Can't we just put his Podcasts on and let his Boston Sports Guy columns go to the ESPN Boston site? Are we still pretending if he doesn't write about the NBA for one of his bi-annual columns, he won't write about a Boston team or player for his bi-annual column? Why do we still have to pretend this? He's a columnist who writes mostly Boston-oriented material. His name used to be the Boston Sports Guy until ESPN dropped the "Boston" from it in an attempt to convince the world he focuses on other teams, which failed.

Enough ranting on to the mailbag with "real" questions and examine Bill slow's decline from the 1999 "He writes like a fan of sports" Bill Simmons to the 2009 "He has to be the funniest, smartest, and wittiest person in the room at all times" Bill Simmons. Think about it, it's true.

Q: What happened to the Summer of Mailbag??? I hate you. Seriously.-- Mark, Walpole, Mass.

SG: Give me one more chance and 7,000 words. There's still time. We can work this out.

Of the 7,000 words probably 2,000 of them are written by the people who write into Bill's mailbag. Bill seems to be taking credit for words he hasn't written.

Q: Is there any way you could provide a larger, higher resolution version of your picture? I'd really like to Photoshop all the film credits around it so it looks even more like Steve Carell's picture on the "The 40 Year Old Virgin" poster. I mean really, the lighting is perfect.-- Teja, Hyderabad, India

SG: Yup, even people in India are making fun of my new photo.

People in India are making fun of him. How bad is that? I mean they don't even speak English, have no idea how many Hollywood friends Bill has and they all work for Dell in the customer service department...and they are making fun of Bill?

Q: Thanks for the post-Collector's Convention picture at the airport. You look like a bowl of oatmeal.-- Greg A., Birmingham, Ala.

SG: And people in Alabama are making fun of my pasty skin. This is great. No wonder I cut the Summer of Mailbag short.

And now people in Alabama are making fun of him? I bet they don't even understand half the references to the movie industry on "Entourage," and they are making fun of Bill? I bet Bill is surprised this person can even read. Do they have schools in Alabama or do they just cut the crap and send everyone to work in the fields after kindergarten?

Very few people can do veiled condescension in response to a reader's mailbag question quite like Bill can. Seriously, he lives in California where there are beaches everywhere, don't be an ass, and get a tan if you don't want people joking about you.

Q: You don't like soccer. You are just bored because the Sox aren't that good, and football hasn't started. Also, you are trying to see if you can be influential enough to make other people like soccer. You can't. Stop. Write a mailbag.-- Chris, Wilmington, Del.


SG: What do you think I'm doing? By the way, "you're just trying to see if you can be influential enough to make other people like soccer" is my second favorite conspiracy about my summer crush on soccer behind "you're only writing about soccer because ESPN made you because they invested so much money in the World Cup." It's always funny when people think ESPN operates like the Nixon White House.

ESPN would never operate like the Nixon White House. You know doing stuff like not reporting a major story about a major athlete who was accused of a crime, preventing it's employees from talking to the public about breaking stories on Twitter because it's not affiliated with ESPN or attempting to create a story and not report on certain stories by framing the public discussion through blanket coverage of an event.

Wait...they did, and continue to do, all of that.

In fact, I e-mailed these theories to John Skipper, the guy in charge of all creative content for ESPN, and here's how he responded:

"Do you still work for us?"

Here goes Bill again, relaying conversations that may or may not happen as proof of something he wants to prove. There is a guy named "Skipper" in charge of all creative content?This is the guy responsible for Easterbrook?

Q: If there was a drink called the "Bill Simmons" what would it be? First off, we can ask girls at the bar, "Hey, Can I buy you a Bill Simmons?" and of course "Hey who wants to buy the next round of Bill Simmons?"-- John T, Tempe, Ariz.

John T. from Arizona, if you do in fact exist, you should be punched in the face for massaging Bill Simmons' ego like this. Now he is going to be infatuated with having a drink named after him. Bill is like a 4 year old child that gets infatuated with something for a period of time and then forgets about it later.

Remember the Sports Czar campaign? He has dropped that because he was the only one into it.

Remember him picking out an English League soccer team? He picked a loser so he quit paying attention until this summer, when enough time had passed everyone forgot what crappy team he picked and he could latch on to a winning team.

Remember his need to become an NBA GM? Well, that actually hasn't been dropped. I am sure he will bring that up again.

My point is that now he will want a drink named after him and he will probably go to a bar and order this drink and then watch the bartender look at him like he is crazy and urge his SimmonsClones to do the same. Then there will be a drink named after Bill and his massive ego will have had it's fill of self indulgent love for the day...but it will always need more.

Q: Seattle has a mayoral candidate named Jan Drago. I am thinking of voting for her just based on her name or the chance that, when debating the city's proposed plastic bag tax/fee (which she is against), she will say "If it dies, it dies." Or should I read the voter pamphlet and make an informed decision?-- Dave S., Seattle, Wash.

SG: I received this e-mail before Jan Drago failed to make the final three for November's election, which raises the question, how could you not vote for Mayor Drago???

Bill Simmons, never one to worry about a joke or comment seeming old, has finally hit rock bottom. He is pulling emails from prior to November 2008 to comment on in this mailbag. It's not like this email is even more relevant now than it was in November or any other time he did a mailbag since then. It's about Rocky IV, not shockingly, so he could have used this email at any point over the past year, but he chose now. I have no idea why he chose now for this email to appear in a mailbag. I can't even focus right now on the rest of this mailbag. This email could have been written a year ago! Is he this hard up for material to write about in a mailbag?

Here's my question: Are we happy with these matches of sport and celebration? For instance, I'd love to see baseball players adopt the tennis celebration: hit a homer and just sink to your knees in complete shock for five seconds as everyone angrily stares at you. Wouldn't it be more fun if the winning tennis player sprinted 40 yards like a soccer player and acted like a crazy person? What if a golfer and caddy did a two-man jump-up-and-down celebration like baseball players after a walk-off?

I am hard on Bill Simmons usually but I have to say I would like to see this and have always wondered why players don't do this. My friends and I used to joke about this type stuff. In fact, back in 2002, I once did the Antoine Walker shimmy dance while celebrating in another sport. It was ugly and I probably had a little alcohol in me, which is no excuse, so I think it is safe to say I hate the 2002 version of myself for doing something Bill Simmons in 2009 would think to be clever. On a related note, I am sure if you asked Bill he thought of it WAY before I did.

That reminds me, my favorite moment of the 2009 Red Sox season happened after Big Papi's walk-off homer at Fenway on Wednesday night -- Papi crossed home plate, everyone celebrated, then they started heading back to the dugout when new teammate and special handshake aficionado Victor Martinez suddenly came roaring in from behind -- seriously, he almost bowled Papi over -- to rope him into what could only be described as a "Our very special walk-off home run handshake that we've been practicing for weeks and I can't believe you forgot about it!" moment...Classic. Maybe we should make Victor the Tsar of Celebrations.

Is there another sportswriter that can make you hate the favorite team you both share as much as Bill Simmons? As I have said before, I am actually embarrassed to share a favorite team with him. It's fucking brutal. I feel like my house pops up on the "Boston fan" locator like a person who has a sexual offense on his/her record pops up on the National Sexual Offender Registry and you can locate these people. I almost feel like I should register sometimes and provide a full explanation so people will understand/forgive me and not compare me to Bill Simmons in any fashion. I feel sympathy for Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics fans in this way. Somehow Bill being a fan of a team you are also a fan almost sucks the fun out of cheering for that team.

(Great, now my mention of the Sexual Offender Registry will give me hits for people looking for that or something else that may not be as kosher. It's crazy how things like this happen. In Google Analytics it shows people have found this site by Googling "Hiel Hitler." Thanks JemeHill.)

Q: Have you ever tried out the carts at Ikea? All four wheels turn, and the floors have practically been buffed with a Zamboni. I feel like Tony freakin Hawk hitting 720s in the pillow aisle. This needs to be an X-Games event.-- Brian, Eugene, Ore.

SG: You just broached on an idea that's going to be the linchpin of my campaign to take over ESPN6: The Self-Created Olympics.

This is actually one of Bill's few ideas, being the head of ESPN6, that he has stuck with and not forgotten over the years. Otherwise it would be on my "Remember when" list for ideas he had and mentioned every five minutes but then apparently forgot about. Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy he forgot about them, quite the opposite. He is never going to run a network and I used to think he was joking about I am not so sure.

Q: What current NBA player would best fit in with the NBA drug era of the late-70s? (Picking Ron Artest or the Birdman is prohibited)--Nick B., Centreville, Va.

SG: I have been working on this mailbag off and on for two weeks. It's a long process that involves sorting through multiple word docs of questions, narrowing them down, printing them out, going to a coffee place, jotting down notes or possible riffs for each question, then proceeding with the process of actually writing the column.

Really? That much work goes into a mailbag like this? I will usually give credit where credit is due, I even defended Peter King one time when another writer insulted him (which again I can't find because I write a lot of shit and can't remember when, where or who did it), but these mailbags should not take one to two weeks on and off to write. You have half the material already in the form of questions.

Of course it would help if Bill actually answered the question and didn't feel the need to "riff" on them. Hence this is why I think the 2009 version of Bill Simmons feels the need to be smartest and wittiest person in the room. He used to just be able to write what he thought and it was fairly entertaining, but now he has his "I am always right and the wittiest person" act to keep up, so he has to do more work to keep it up and impress everyone. I was shocked this mailbag took him so much work. I know my writing is not up to par with his but I can't imagine it would take a lot of work to answer these questions.

Q: So me and about 15 buddies are taking a train down to Chicago to go watch a WNBA game between the Sky and the Mercury. We need ideas for t-shirts because we plan on creating a scene ... so far a couple ideas are "Score three for feminism" and "0.17" in honor of Diana Taurasi. We hope to make it until at least halftime before getting kicked out. --Joel, Racine, Wis.

Remember this.

Q: Look I enjoy the soccer commentary and I really want to jump on the bandwagon but I just can't. The reason, every soccer player I've ever met is a total d-bag. How can I like a sport where every person who plays it drinks flavored vodka and attempts to screw every girl who walks by?-- Ryan, Atlanta

(Me attempting to not offend a soccer player who may read this)

I agree. Maybe Bill has one intelligent reader. Half the soccer guys at the grad school I went to thought they were hot shit, until the time they almost got beat by the intermural law school team. It went to penalty kicks...and actually they still thought they were hot shit after that too.

Q: In the spirit of "Athlete Funny," how about a ratings system for "Celebrity Sports Smart." E.g., Affleck appears to be a 10/10 when it comes to baseball, Seth Meyers seems like about an 8, anybody on a Fox show that gets free tickets to the post-season is a -10. -- Michael K., Spokane, Wash.

Bill loves it when his readers refer to his jokes and his ideas. It feeds his ego. So if you want to get published in Bill's mailbag, either reference Rocky IV or reference one of Bill's own ideas.

I have to say Seth Meyers may be an 8 on the "Celebrity Sports Smart" scale but he also seems like the kind of guy I would want to punch in the face. Even when he tells a joke on Weekend Update on SNL, he looks at the camera like "I just said something funny, you know you want to laugh at how funny I am...and I KNOW I am funny and impressive. I dare you to love me as much as I love myself." Just thought I would mention this.

Just for fun, I thought I'd ask Red Sox fan Ben Affleck (who vacillates between Category 5 or Category 6 depending on how busy he is) for his take on the whole thing. Here's what he wrote back:

"Just for fun" meaning "just to be a complete douche and show everyone how many celebrity friends I have now, I am going to be an asshole and have one of my awesome Hollywood friends write in my mailbag."

I am not printing what Ben Affleck wrote. He still owes me $7.50 for "Daredevil."

Q: My buddy and I were talking the other day, and we came up upon the subject of women shaving their legs. We decided that whoever started this brilliant tradition should be honored in some way. We decided to start the Smartest People Ever Hall Of Fame. Our first entry is the woman/person who came up with the idea for women to shave their legs. Second entry: us for coming up with this idea. Third: the guy who invented toilet paper. Who do you think should be added to our Hall?-- Chris F., Boston, Mass.

SG: First, you have to explain why this differs from Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" campaign. It's basically the same thing. So I'm knocking you out of your own Hall of Fame for not acknowledging this.

Bill just feels the need to be a complete asshole to his readers every once in a while. Bill also has failed to explain how every "theory" he has ever had has been pretty much derivative of his "Ewing Theory," which if I am not wrong, Bill did not even think of originally. He just made it popular.

With that said, maybe there should be a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame. With that said, maybe there should be a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame. Our first draft class could include, the guy who came up with the idea for women to shave their legs;

Let's sum it up with what Bill believes. He believes it's not ok to think of a Hall of Fame that is "like" the Real Men of Genius Campaign, because that is stealing the idea, but it is perfectly fine to think of a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame stealing ideas from the reader who thought of the idea for Smartest People Ever Hall of Fame and stealing from the Real Men of Genius Campaign. Basically, Bill thinks he can steal anything he wants and be a hypocrite at the same time. It's like an advanced form of multi-tasking.

Q: Can we have a "signs of too much time at work" list? I'd like to inaugurate it with "reading steve blake's wikipedia."--@sdotsom (via Twitter)

4. You have a Google alert for your own name even though you're not a celebrity.

Because it is less pathetic to be a celebrity and put a Google alert out for your own name? Why can't everyone see what an elitist asshole Bill Simmons is? He name drops celebrities that he knows, he accuses others of stealing ideas and then steals that person's idea, and he thinks only celebrities are important enough to put a Google alert up for their name...because non-celebrities aren't important enough to do this.

Q: I recently emailed you about me and buddies going to a game and heckling Diana Taurasi. Well, we did it. The Chicago Daily Herald focused on us for a good part of the article on the game and I thought you'd be interested.-- Joel, Racine, Wis.

Remember that idiot who wrote to Bill earlier in this mailbag and I told you to remember him? This is why. This SimmonsClone and his friends actually did what they told Bill they were going to do. Is it possible Bill's readers are becoming even bigger losers and more desperate to get his attention and approval?

You know how I always joke that Bill's target demographic is 18-25 white males...well from the article Joel linked...

Eight young men, who appeared to be college-aged, spent the better part of Tuesday's Chicago Sky game relentlessly heckling and chanting at Phoenix Mercury star guard Diana Taurasi.

Did we really expect him to not be within the age range? Who goes to an WNBA game to heckle a basketball player? It's actually one of those things that is more sad than funny.

(Bill talking about John Hughes)

I mean, I follow the movie world as diligently as anyone and was still learning things about him after he died.

What he means by this is that he desperately wants to be in a movie and know people who are famous in Hollywood. Bill desperately wants to know and be able to talk about knowing people who are famous. He used to write for a third rate talk show you know...he could be a star!

Then he writes about 750 words breaking down the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Again, ESPN loves to hire writers who don't either (a) have a lot to do with sports or (b) don't want to talk about sports.

Q: Hey Bill, want to laugh for 20 minutes? Put "Butt" in front of all sports team nicknames. "Pirates", "Chargers", etc. Friggin hilarious ...--Beau, Miami, Fla.

As someone on Sons of the Sports Guy said, how about the Butt Pats?

I do like Butt Panthers though. It sounds pretty tough.

I am not even going to let Bill end this column with his "yup these are my readers." We know they can write some wild and crazy stuff that is probably fake, I don't need proof of a "real" email that was originally sent to Bill Simmons as a joke to see if it will get published to know how crazy his readers are. The odds of the emails being real AND being true are approximately 3.2%.


Martin said...

Bill couldn't even get the concept of the Real Men of Genius correct. If you listen to them, they are honoring people who made silly contributions to society. Foam Finger Guy. Ice Chest Wheel Inventor Guy. The kid who wrote in wanted a real Genius type HoF. Toilet Paper is a pretty handy thing. it might seem silly, but it's a True Genius type thing, not a facetious one like the Bud Light ads.

Bengoodfella said...

I didn't even notice he got it wrong but that's ok. It is facetious though. Either way, Bill stole the idea from the kid and he is an asshole.

I do love those Real Men of Genius ads though. I see what you are saying that the kid wanted a genius HoF for those people who actually contributed real things to society. If Bill takes that much time to do these mailbags, I would have thought he could have caught on to this.

ivn said...

who the hell are half the individual defense guys on my team? serves me right for missing the draft I reckon....other than that I'm still pretty pleased with my team. too bad it isn't a PPR league though.

Bengoodfella said...

The computer will screw you on the rankings for defensive players. It's rather annoying in that fashion. You have a pretty good team and there are always defensive guys on the waiver wire anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Martin said...

I couldn't figure out how it had ranked the defensive guys at all. It had not very good guys ranked pretty high, so it was a bit confusing. I jsut kept taking guys with lots of sacks and interceptions figuring it couldn't hurt.

AJ said...

IVN - I'm with you, my team sucks cuz I didn't show up for the draft. Had some early softball games and couldn't attend it. I don't know any defensive players...i'm screwed!

Ugh, another "mailbag". When do we stop calling these a mailbag and start calling them completly made up questions disguised as a mailbag?

By the way, is Affleck considered a celebrity?

I was hoping that after the spot where that guy from ESPN said to Bill "you still work here" he would follow that up with a "you're right, I quit" response.

I like his favorite Boston sports moment this year. Except he left off the part after the celebration at home plate, when they went into the clubhouse and took their "pills" that they have no idea what is in them.

Soccer will never ever be popular here in the States. I just don't get it, why is ESPN pushing this on people? I mean I see more and more soccer ad's now on ESPN TV then I ever have before. Soccer is one of the oldest sports and has never been popular here, what makes people think it ever will? If I was a soccer fan I wouldn't even want it to be popular, cuz then you'd have all these posers turn into fans, kinda like all the Red Sox "fans" nowadays. Do you think soccer fans would want that?? I doubt it, I think they like the sport just the way it is, with real fans, not fake ones.

KentAllard said...

It takes him two weeks to put that together? That's a level of sloth even us government employees can't match.

Dubs said...

I couldn't even make it through this "Mailbag", so congrats to you for that one.

One thing to point out though: They do have elections in years besides the years that the President is elected. The Seattle mayor election is likely to be this upcoming November, not November 2008 (please note I am wayyyyy to lazy to look this up).

Bengoodfella said...

The computer doesn't rank defensive guys at all. It is annoying in how they do that. I wouldn't worry about it though, you can find good guys on the waiver wire pretty easily. There were some good ones available when the draft ended.

This was a weak mailbag from Bill and I do question sometimes if the questions are real questions.

Soccer may not be popular in America but ESPN sure as hell is going to try and make it happen. I find it interesting Bill did get an interest in soccer right when ESPN did. I am sure it is coincidence. If I was a soccer fan I would not want a bunch of bandwagon jumpers either, it would annoy me. You have a good point there.

Kent, I know! Seriously, how the hell does it take that long to put a mailbag together? The questions are there. That's what I mean when I say he has to be the funniest person in the room, he is sitting back trying to be funny, when I would prefer he either just answer the question or not be an asshole and try to be funny and create new "theories" and "All Stars." That's all he does though, try to make his brand bigger.

Dubs, this was a brutal mailbag for me. It was really half assed.

I just kind of assumed that Drago would not be running again in four years, which could be wrong I guess. So maybe Bill is three years early on the Drago train instead late like I suggested.

Dubs said...

Re Drago: I actually was referring to the election being this upcoming November. I ended up checking, and yeah, the Mayor election for Seattle will be this November and Drago lost in the primary.

It's still a hackneyed joke based on a bad Rocky movie that came out 15 years ago, but, the "email" was at least from this year...

AJ said...

I really think Simmons is not writing as much and writing more crap because he is no long the funniest writer on that site.

Ya i have a bunch of waiver requests in right now. I see my first pick was Slaton and then Brees. Good game me! Of course I actually preranked them higher, so thats why i got them. But man did I miss out on some good players. Oh well, we'll see how it goes!

Kings column is pure gold this week. Amazing how he never disappoints.

Bengoodfella said...

That's true, I guess it is good the election is this year. I still would have enjoyed the email more back when Drago got defeated in the primary.

AJ, you will do better than 0-14. If you follow the waiver wire closely, you can pick up some good players there. I have faith in you.