Saturday, November 7, 2009

7 comments Too Busy To Think Of An Idea, Bill Simmons Just Tells Us All The Cool Stuff He Gets To Do

We have all gotten to hear about Bill Simmons' really neat adventures when he gets to go to memorabilia conventions, we all know he has an epic good time in Vegas everytime he goes with his friends and many people stare over at them in awe of what a good and completely original time he and his friends are having, but what kind of fantastically great things does Bill get to do when he is on a book tour? Well wonder no more about this because Bill Simmons is too busy to think of any other great ideas for a Friday column so would you like it if he would tell you EXACTLY, without leaving anything out, all the awesome things he does on his book tour? Of course you would. If it feels sort of lazy to you, you may be right, or you may just be jealous at how Bill's book tour is so much better than anyone else's book tour has ever been.

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.

Bill must wake up in the middle of the night, roll over off the large pile of cash that he sleeps on and get back to sleep dreaming about the line of hundreds of devoted fans who desperately want his attention and signature in a copy of the book that he has written. Then if Bill has trouble getting back to sleep he starts counting dollar bills jumping over a fence in his mind.

Book tours are hard!

The good news: All of these things are fixable. (Well, except for my right thumb. Can't feel anything. Might have to chop if off Ronnie Lott-style.)

Uh-oh nitpick alert! I am pretty sure that was Lott's pinkie that got chopped off. I could be wrong because I refuse to look it up and if Bill is being lazy, I am being lazy. Of course I don't need to look it up because I am also right about this.

What can't be fixed is my formerly hot NFL picks season. Sayonara, My Best Record Ever. It's gone. Out the window.

This is probably because the same stupid fans that line up to see Bill on his book tour jinxed him by following his picking method. You can find Bill's discussion of this in his column last Friday, which has been retitled, "Confessions of an Egotistical and Self-Impressed Asshole." The Japanese version is titled "Why No One Should Like Bill Simmons At All...Ever."

And all because my book tour prevented me from properly following football. Or, because I suck at picking games and was destined to go cold. It's one or the other.

Or because it is really all luck anyway...which is why I dedicated an entire post to beating Bill Simmons at picking football games yesterday.

Because I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, I have decided to blame the tour for my picking woes.

Actually it's because Bill has a massive ego and can't accept the fact he may actually not be good at something, so he has to make an excuse for why he fails at it that has NOTHING to do with his ability to pick games.

See, the worst thing about being a writer is that you can't see the people who are reading you. They are just nameless, faceless people with e-mail addresses. Book signings put a face on these people.

Yeah right, and after about 3 book signings nearly every single face Bill sees runs together thereby preventing him from ever putting a face to his fans anyway. I wonder if he wants to meet his haters too? I realize I am part of the problem too, don't let me fool you. I paid for Bill's book and I am enjoying the book to a certain extent. When he does research he can be a very good writer. If I went to a book signing (which I will not do) I don't know if I would want to talk about his book honestly, I would probably want to talk to him about some of the other stuff he has written through the years and it would last 5 seconds before he would rudely cast me aside because it was clear I wanted to talk about more than the book (nothing offensive, just ask him about some stuff I discuss here)...and he would cast me aside for good reason because what kind of loser waits in line for hours to heckle someone? Anyway, I would like to know if Bill meets his haters as well and how he responds to them, since ESPN won't allow comments on his columns, this is really the only time for those that absolutely hate Bill to meet him as well.

So here are the jumbled memories of my book tour. I could not present them any other way. It's all one big unrecognizable smoothie.

Awesome. Is there anything better than getting to see pictures/slides/stories of someone else's vacation?

I slept in nine different beds in four different time zones. Two of those times, I rolled out of bed and immediately appeared on a morning show. Like, immediately. Like, I hit the snooze button three times, begrudgingly woke up, peed, then groggily called the show.

Professional journalism at it's best. I guess at a certain point you get used to this type stuff and don't need to wake up and prepare.

In Philly, I met the legendary NBA statistician Harvey Pollack, one of the few remaining people who witnessed Wilt's 100-point game. He even made the "100" sign that Wilt held up. He is Yoda old. I loved him. We exchanged books. We took a picture.

Of course Bill puts that picture beside this part of his column...and this guy is old. I think the best part of the picture is that Bill Simmons apparently doesn't do the "arm around the neck" hug with people, instead he does the "arm around the neck and lean in for extra love" hug. As he would say, high comedy. Either that or Bill was just being propped up by a 90 year old man.

We flew from Philly to Hartford on something called Republic Airlines -- or as I mistakenly called it, "Raconteur Airlines" -- on a plane so small that when it started dipping during a thunderstorm, my friend (and PR guy for my book) Lewis and I started spouting out "Almost Famous" lines. I once ran over a man in Dearborn, Michigan. I can still see his face …

I am surprised the airplane pilot did not immediately begin to crash the plane if he had heard them quoting these lines. I get the feeling most of Bill's life revolves around waiting for him to get in situations like in a movie and then reciting lines from that movie. It's just a gut instinct for him.

Speaking of crashing airplanes...I heard about the JJ Hardy for Carlos Gomez trade and my first thought was "the Brewers traded JJ Hardy?" Then I realized he sucked this year and then I said "Carlos Gomez got traded?" and I realized he didn't play much this year either. This may be the first trade I can remember that felt important on both sides until I actually thought about it. In other news, the centerpiece of the Johan Santana trade was just traded for JJ Hardy. Seriously.

Two Grizzlies fans showed up for my San Fran signing. I thought this was so strange that I snapped a picture of them. There are Grizzlies fans? Really?

And apparently the one on the left is a leprechaun. Both guys in this picture are doing the "we don't want to seem gay so we will put our arms around each other and lean away so we look like siamese twins connected at the hip" pose.

As well as blogging, I like to analyze people's pictures. So that is two things I love doing that earn me $0 dollars per year. I am going to kill whoever said "find something you enjoy doing and then make money at it." He probably enjoyed making shit up and then got paid for it.

In Bristol, I made a cameo on "SportsNation," where they shot my book with two different guns. The book stopped the first bullet on page 552. The second gun blew it away. I vaguely remember making a joke about climbing on a limo like Jackie O to pick up the pieces of the pages,

I dislike this Bill Simmons guy as much as the next person, but sometimes he has his moments. This was pretty funny.

Somehow I saw my four oldest high school friends, my two closest college friends, my two closest Boston friends and everyone in my Vegas crew. Just worked out that way. Like "This Is Your Life."

I am just going to go ahead and say if you have a group of friends you call "my Vegas crew" you either have too many friends, too few friends or need to throw your DVD of "Swingers" away and never buy another one.

A few minutes before we left Bristol, I dramatically kept alive my streak of "Consecutive times visiting Bristol and running into Brian Kenny as he is in a heated argument about boxing with someone." It's almost like he popped out of nowhere on cue.

This brings up a question I have. Am I the only one who doesn't like Brian Kenny's hair? I am not a hairdresser and I don't care to go to a hairdresser nor I do know a hairdresser, but I want to do something with his hair when I see him on television. It bothers me and it has never bothered anyone else that I have spoken to. It's just indescribably bad for me to look at.

In San Francisco, I looked up at the next person in line, saw someone smiling at me, then realized it was my sports editor from my freshman year in college. His name is Gary Sulentic. Three weeks into my first semester, I wrote a sports column that he liked. He ran it. I wrote another one. He ran it. Couldn't have been more supportive. By November, the column belonged to me. I had it for that semester and the next seven. Now he was standing there with a big smile on his face. "I thanked you in the acknowledgements of my book," I told him. "I know," he said.

"Then he followed it up with reminding me I only got to do that first column because someone else was sick and after that he was planning on taking over the column from me, but it never happened because the readers liked me better. Then his girlfriend dumped him, his parents disowned him and he never graduated. He is now the manager at a Long John Silver's in Delaware. Towards the end of our brief conversation he brought out a salad fork and lunged at me...but I don't know why."

In Phoenix, I got tired of dressing up for signings and wore a sweatshirt with a Batman T-shirt. I didn't think anyone would care. The fifth guy in line said, "Hey, thanks for dressing up for us!" Well, then.

I mean really...a Batman t-shirt?

We met Reggie Love, who has arguably replaced Charles Oakley as the world's single coolest sidekick.

Reggie Love is an ex-Duke basketball player who went to a UNC Tarheels fraternity party his freshman year and got tea-bagged. I think I have seen pictures of this probably 1,000 times. That's all I think about when I hear his name...tea-bagging.

I left a book behind for Obama and signed it like this: "DEAR POTUS, PLEASE DON'T READ THIS UNTIL 2017." Because, if he does, we're all in trouble. It's 700 pages. I'd rather he figured out health care first.

2017? Sounds like Bill's a Democrat!

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.

Hasn't Ray Romano done every "getting married is Hell" joke by now? As I said before, it's funny to an extent but if you don't want to get married don't. I just can't stand the fake bitching about it from people who are really happy but for some reason they don't want to admit it.

The interview ended and I called back the last person who called. Turned out to be my editor at Random House, Mark Tavani. He told me that my book made No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. I don't remember anything that happened for the next 113 seconds.

I am not sure anyone actually believes me but Bill Simmons is gone from ESPN when his next contract runs out. He is a best selling author now. It's happening, we will have to deal with it. Two years from now when I am scanning in and criticizing parts of the two books he has written into this blog we will miss his ESPN columns.

A few years ago, I ran a mailbag question in which a reader warned me that someone named Jeff Dorman was trying to get into my mailbag, and if he did, then to answer that "Jeff Dorman sucks." A few questions later, I ran Jeff's e-mail and answered that "Jeff Dorman sucks." In the Chicago signing this week, Jeff Dorman's brother-in-law showed up for the obligatory "Jeff Dorman still sucks" signature. Which I came through on. Delightedly.

It's impossible to destroy these Simmonsites. Just when you think you have gotten one to see that Bill Simmons may not possibly be God, another one pops up.

In Phoenix, this guy wanted me to take over the Suns. Is he helping my case or hurting it? I can't decide.

Bill Simmons knows a lot about NBA basketball, that's for sure. There is just so much else that goes into being a successful General Manager than that though. You have to manage egos and deal with shit like vendor contracts (or at least oversee vendor contracts). If Bill started out in a smaller position with a club and moved his way up, I could possibly accept his need to be a GM at that point, but he can't just leapfrog everyone. Of course that won't stop his fans and him from thinking he could step in one day and do it perfectly.

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.

Right, because there is so much skill that goes into it.

More than a few readers were aspiring writers asking for advice. I always told them the same thing: "Don't get discouraged; keep plugging away." The truth is, I don't know the answer. Because there isn't one.

How about don't suck at writing and possibly get a degree in journalism in some fashion. That's always a good start. Or you could start a blog that insults current journalists which allows you to make sure everyone hates you, whether it be normal people or journalists. That's always a good method (even though I am not an aspiring writer).

I hope everyone has enjoyed Bill's highlights of his awesome book tour that was more awesome than any other book tour has ever been.

Now get this:

It's time for the Miller Lite Great Call of the Week, where I either praise a call I loved or defend a call previously thought to be indefensible.

On Monday night, Atlanta coach Mike Smith became the latest to screw up the "down by two scores in the final two minutes" conundrum. If you missed it, the Falcons recovered a fumble with 1:23 remaining on their own 47. Trailing by 11, they got two quick first downs and reached New Orleans' 23 with less than a minute to play. Right there, they should have spiked the ball, kicked a field goal and gone for the onside kick-Hail Mary combo. Nope. They kept plowing ahead. Quarterback Matt Ryan suffered a sack and was forced to spike the ball on second down. Tick … tick … tick … On third-and-13, they wasted a few more seconds on a quick slant out of bounds. Finally, their kicker nailed the 40-yarder that they could have had 25 seconds earlier. To make it worse, they recovered the onside kick but didn't have enough time (just 28 seconds) to get in Hail Mary range.

This is EXACTLY what we have suggested in the comments over the past couple of weeks. I don't care if I don't always like Bill...I feel very vindicated that people have started to agree with this concept over the past couple of years. Obviously I didn't invent this idea nor was I the first one to think of it, but I have been championing this for many years now and everyone looks at me like I am crazy until I explain why going for the field goal first makes sense. Then that person generally says I am right.

(Ben's ego calms down and he keeps writing)

A little AFC North revenge. There's a decent chance that Baltimore isn't losing again until Week 16 (at Pittsburgh). Not a reverse jinx, I swear.

Anytime Bill Simmons says something is not a reverse jinx, you immediately know that what he is trying to do is a reverse jinx.

NINERS (-4) over Titans

The strangest line of the year. I don't get it. Vince Young on the road against a good defense getting just four?

I just want to warn everyone that even if Vince Young plays well this week, I am not going to stop making fun of him. It will be a couple more weeks until defensive coordinators simultaneously say, "oh yeah, that's how we used to stop him" and they do. Vince Young should not be an NFL quarterback...have you seen him throw the ball? The throw is just ugly looking coming in and out of his hand.

BRONCOS (+3) over Steelers

I am not buying the whole "Baltimore proved how to stop Denver's offense" thing. At all. Guarantee Josh McDaniels studied what the Ravens did for 75 hours this week and made all the necessary adjustments. Beware of the altitude; beware of Elvis and Knowshon; and most of all, beware of the Neck Beard.

I told you Bill would stay on the Denver bandwagon. These are the types of games I feel like the Steelers have traditionally won in the past. Tough road games where they probably shouldn't win. I guess we will see.


David Jones said...

Do you really think I look like a leprechaun?

The lean was just because I have a wide stance.

Have a closer look:

Bengoodfella said...

Haha...I thought to myself when I was writing that, "this guy is somehow going to find my blog and ask why I wrote that." I am never right, but I was right. You look almost exactly like my roommate in college who was Irish and dressed like a leprechaun all the time. Therefore I thought he looked like a leprechaun to me and transferred that visual judgment on you. You don't look like a leprechaun in the other stuff.

People say I look like a monkey if that makes you feel any better or worse...though I of course don't see it.

Fred Trigger said...

haha, so that makes 2 SI authors, a professor, and now a grizzlies fan who have come to our humble blog to defend themselves. I think the next article I do (once I get off my ass and off of my old man sleep schedule) I'm going to try to bait said person and see if he comes to defend himself. Too bad JoePo doesnt really write anything stupid, but even if he did I couldnt imagine the onslaught of his fans that would come to bring the hammer down.

Bengoodfella said...

To be fair, my aim was not to insult a Grizzlies fan by writing that. To be even more fair, the other three probably had it coming to them in some fashion.

Bengoodfella said...

Also, I think if you intentionally bait someone they will never find it...but I would love to see an onslaught of Penn State fans come here to defend JoPa. I don't hate him and think he does a great job for someone who has exceeded the average lifetime of a United State male. I am sure he is still a great figurehead...I mean coach.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I actually went to one of Simmons' book signings in Boston and gave him a copy of one of my columns. He seemed genuinely interested, and a few days later, I got an e-mail from one of his assistants that said he (the assistant) had read it, and that he was going to pass it back along to Bill. He went on to say that Bill received more than 100 samples from various aspiring writers, but he does his best to read all of them and that I should expect a reply from Bill directly once he's finished with his tour. Unlike many of the readers and publishers of this blog, I forever will be a Simmons supporter, but I always had an inkling that he was a little bit of a dick. However, this exchange has changed my perception of him for the better. I’d assume that most writers would have just taken my column and dumped it in the trashcan on their way out the door. He seemed like a super nice guy, and even though at the signing he wasn’t writing personal messages (so that people could get back to work quickly), he went out of his way to write “Good luck, it’s only hard until it’s fun.” Bill Simmons has always been one of my idols and unquestionably my favorite writer, and even if this sounds incredibly stupid, it was probably one of the five coolest moments of my life.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, I actually always assumed that Bill Simmons was a nice guy and that is why ESPN doesn't allow comments and why he doesn't take well to criticism. I think he is actually very nice and doesn't like it when others don't treat him the same way. I also think that is the reason why he can write like such an ego maniac (his column two Fridays ago) and why he makes things about him a lot and doesn't seem to notice. He's so nice no one wants to be mean to least people that know him. Bill knows what is like to just love sports and want to talk about them all the time. I think it has gone to his head a little, but that's to be expected.

I know I don't seem like the biggest Simmons supporter in the world but I have put money in his bank account by purchasing his books so its not like I hate him or anything.

I think more people on this blog like Bill Simmons than let on. I would like to protest a little bit and make myself seem like less of a hater, but I don't think I can do that. I personally get frustrated with him sometimes for the things he writes and how he fosters a sort of Simmons Cult but that is his thing I guess. It's ok to have that be one of the coolest experiences in your life.

I personally like what you write and keep me updated on if Simmons writes you back or not. I support Simmons in a way, but I wouldn't say I am a huge fan or anything. Still, I don't always put him on the same level as some of the other people I write about here.