Thursday, February 4, 2010

25 comments Bill Simmons Examines Sports Suffering, Ironically Forcing Audience To Suffer Through Sports Column

I have laid off Bill Simmons for the past couple of weeks (months?). Mostly, the reason for this is that he hasn't written too many bad columns in that time span. It's hard to criticize something that isn't too bad. Well, as many had mentioned in the comments to the Friday post, Bill is adding to his "Levels of Losing" and makes some interesting choices in ranking the most tortured franchises. It's not the most tortured CITIES, but in some cases Bill talks about the overall sports city to see how tortured that city truly is. Enough explaining by me, let's let him explain.

A few weeks ago, I was trapped at home on a Friday night. My wife and daughter were away. My son was asleep.

Let me guess. Someone called repeatedly and asked if you had checked on your child lately and it later turned out it was someone INSIDE THE HOUSE...but then it just turned out to be J-Bug and House playing an absolutely hilarious practical joke based on an idea Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla had thought of?

(Speaking of Jimmy Kimmel, I like how he inserted himself into the Conan-Jay Leno-Letterman fight. It's like he had this one chance to remind everyone he still had a show on ABC and needed to do the most annoying things to remind people of this to boost ratings. If Bill wasn't up Kimmel's ass he would have given him an award for "Inserting yourself into someone else's argument to benefit your self" at some point in one of his columns. Kimmel said/did some funny stuff, but he needs to butt out. The big boys were fighting and he really had nothing to do with it. It's like when the small-time East Coast and West Coast rappers were backing either Biggie or Tupac in the mid-90's during "the feud," it wasn't really to take sides, it was just to remind everyone they DID exist as rappers and their album could be purchased at stores. )

The Celtics had just blown a winnable game in Atlanta. I was flipping channels and thinking about things like, "I wish we had gone for Jamal Crawford over Rasheed Wallace" and "I wish Rasheed Wallace didn't have bigger breasts than Rashida Jones." And as I was thinking about breasts, I stumbled across Jennifer Love Hewitt -- someone who, as far as I can tell, has made an entire career off her chest.

Hold on guys for a quick detour, Bill has to meet his word limit so he can still brag about how much he writes each week.

She was starring in "Ghost Whisperer," one of those network shows that remains on the air forever even though nobody has ever seen it. In this episode,...

Bill will be back, right after he sums up the entire episode that had absolutely nothing to do with "Levels of Losing," sports or Rasheed Wallace's breasts in general. It's pretty much an episode synopsis to tell his reading audience that Jennifer Love Hewitt ended the episode in a tight nightgown. I am pretty sure Bill is 40 years old.

I was thinking about her three Mondays later, after the NFC Championship Game, when I was sifting through e-mails from devastated Vikings fans, and I realized that, for some readers, I apparently have turned into the "Sports Whisperer." They channel me as an outlet for their pain.

Hey look, Bill just tried to make himself more important than he truly is by giving himself a nickname. Remember "the Sports Czar" and the "VP of Common Sense?" No one is as good at giving himself nicknames and fake sports jobs better than Bill Simmons. If he didn't have a job, giving himself fake jobs would be his job.

He spent 5 years of his column-writing life whining about the Red Sox, then whined about not being able to whine about the Red Sox after they had won the 2004 World Series, then whined about the Celtics when they don't get Greg Oden, whined about how people treat the Patriots after Spygate, then whined about losing the Super Bowl, and finally because his teams are all good at their respective sports he has to finally start whining about how bad NBA General Managers and officials are.

My point is that if there is ever a guy who would expect to hear complaining about their team's difficulties, it's Bill Simmons. I would think that a guy who bases his career partly on speaking and writing from a fan's point of view could understand before this point in his career how fans might write to him about their sports pain. Apparently the only job description Bill doesn't seem to want is the actual job description he currently has, which is to write like the average fan.

Why me? Because I have a column and an e-mail address. Because, as a Red Sox fan, I suffered through a lifetime of losing lowlighted by two of the worst defeats in sports history.

Bill is so tortured everyone! There have been 2 GAMES that Bill's team should have won, but did not, in sports history. Just as a note, Bill's three favorite teams (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics) have won 9 championships in their respective sports since 1980. Many other people would love to be as tortured and deal with the lowlights Bill has had to go through.

I know Bill would never realize this, but there are other people in this world without a sports column on ESPN.com who hear about the pain of a team's loss from that team's fans. Of course Bill believes he is special in this respect, but he really isn't. It's sort of what people do. They vent to other people. In fact, I am writing this post to people I have never met about Bill Simmons' column because I want to vent about it or at least discuss it.

Because I once wrote the "Levels of Losing" as a way to quantify sports pain. Because things worked out for me; the Red Sox eventually won titles in 2004 and 2007. If any stranger could understand your anguish after a heartwrenching loss, it's me.

Or perhaps anyone else who cheers for a sports team that has suffered a tough loss could understand the pain of these fans who write in. Another name for these people who could understand is "anyone who follows sports." These people are also qualified to understand your anguish.

Let's mock some emails from Vikings fans:

I'm watching the Vikings-Saints game. So are the guys in the apartment next to me, only my TV is running 10 seconds slower than theirs. I just heard Favre's pick before it happened. And now they're going to OT, where the Saints are sure as hell gonna win the toss. The girl I love won't talk to me. Please give me a reason not to kill myself.
-- Nick, Minneapolis
You just wrote into Bill Simmons telling him all of this. There is no real reason not to kill yourself at this point.

As a lifelong Vikings fan, son of a lifelong Vikings fan, and grandson of a Vikings fan the day the team came into existence, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that tonight's game would end the way it did. Eight months ago I had my tonsils removed. Two percent of people have issues with the incision bleeding when they have a tonsillectomy. Again, as a Vikings fan I knew without a doubt that it would happen to me. It did.-- Peter D., St. Paul
Perhaps this is just God's way of punishing whiners. If I were Bill I would do whatever I could to stop propping up these people who feel so badly about their lives they have to write Bill Simmons about their sports problems. At one point, Bill got it. That was my favorite Bill Simmons. He doesn't get it anymore because his favorite teams won 6 titles during the 2000's and I think he is trying to be more of a brand at this point.

To make it a little easier, of the possible 30 seasons in the 2000's to win a championship in MLB, the NBA, and the NFL, Bill's favorite teams won the championship 20% of the time. So let's say he shouldn't really be feeling anyone's pain for a few more years. Bill made part of his career on complaining about how bad his teams were or at least sharing his pain with the world, but it's just not true anymore, and hasn't been for nearly a decade now.

I don't know where this falls on your levels of losing rankings, but I can tell you I'd feel a lot better if somebody had just punched me in the stomach. I definitely feel it in my stomach, but it feels more like a virus, like a big, painful empty hole in the pit of my stomach, accompanied by throwing up, irritable bowels, shaking ... I just feel like curling up in a dark bathroom for the next 48 hours. I've been a Vikings fan my entire life, and I find myself questioning why. I'm not a religious man, but I imagine this is what a crisis of faith feels like.
-- Ryan K., Bloomington, Minn.
Oh my God, grow a pair or find a psychologist. It was a tough loss, but what the hell did you expect when your favorite team signed Brett Favre? He specializes in tough losses in the playoffs. The loss was tough, but being overly descriptive and feeling even sorrier for yourself by writing a guy whose favorite teams are all winners isn't the solution.

That was just half of the self pitying emails from his readers Bill Simmons received. The others were along the same lines as these.

Collectively, hundreds of those anguished Vikings e-mails made me wonder: Did I make a mistake with the top level of the Levels of Losing? Am I not channeling other people's pain well enough?
As I have mentioned several times already, Bill's teams won 6 titles in the 2000's, so he probably was not channeling other people's pain that well. It's hard to feel empathy when you are on top of the sports world.
Originally, I named Level 1 "That Game," a Guillotine/Stomach Punch combination that happened only one time: Game 6 of the '86 World Series. After all, no effed-up franchise ever came closer to winning a title without actually winning it, and no franchise ever blew that same chance in such agonizing fashion.

I hate to break this to everyone, but there was a Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. The series wasn't over when the ball went through Buckner's legs. Even though it may have felt like the series was over, it really wasn't. So while I am respectful of how difficult that loss was for Red Sox fans everywhere, it wasn't like Bill Buckner's error directly and at that moment lost the World Series for the Red Sox. The Red Sox still had a chance to win the 1986 World Series. The pathetic showing in Game 7 lost the World Series for the Red Sox. Of course Bill has to have his team's losses be the most difficult losses in the history of sports, but other teams have lost difficult, important games as well.

See, Game 6 might have been the most powerful Level 1 example, but it wasn't the only example. The Bartman Game, Byner Fumble, Pedro/Grady Game, Gary Anderson Game, No Goal Game, Darrin Nelson Game and Jose Mesa Game all were Guillotine/Stomach Punch combos for effed-up franchises.

I have a few problems with this list. For the Bartman Game, I don't think fans can bitch and moan about being cursed or stomach punched when it is one of their own idiots fans who screwed up a game. Second, the Pedro/Grady game was just poor managing. Granted there was a ton of people who knew to pull Pedro from the game and the Red Sox fans were hurt by this, but this was about poor managing and not anything close to Bill Buckner's error. The Red Sox won the freaking World Series the year after that happened, so it didn't hurt them too badly in the long haul. Also, Darrin Nelson dropped the ball, but it was tipped. Plus it was a tough catch anyway. I know it hurt the Vikings but I can't buy that a Level 1 example of Bill's stupid list can be something like a tough catch wasn't made or a manager made a bad pitching move. I just don't see it that way.

It's Bill's dumbass list, so I let him make the rules, but it doesn't mean I won't argue with them.

Limiting Level 1 to the Red Sox was purely an only-child, everything-revolves-around-me decision. I mean, Steve Bartman had to leave the country. That wasn't a Level 1 defeat?

I don't think it was a Level 1 defeat but probably a Level 1 fan screw up. I don't know why I keep arguing with Bill over his own criteria, it feels pointless, yet I keep doing it.

The Norwood Game seems like a Level 1 loss in retrospect, but Bills fans weren't fully tortured yet. Only AFTER the agony of that defeat did they become Level 1 eligible. Same for Browns fans after The Drive paved the way for the Byner Fumble a year later. The key is "fully tortured." You can't be a little tortured or pretty much tortured. You have to be fully tortured. Haunted, even.

Which makes me wonder how the Pedro/Grady game can make Bill's list since the Red Sox won the World Series the year after that incident. So if Bill is going to take in account what happened to the Browns after The Drive, shouldn't he discount the Grady/Pedro incident? That incident pretty much was the end of the Red Sox Curse, it was the final nail in the coffin before the turnaround the next year. I just think even though the Red Sox fans were "fully tortured" (mostly by some of their fan's need to feel tortured in my mind), if Bill looks into what happened the year after Norwood's kick and The Drive, he has to look at what happened to the Red Sox after Pedro/Grady. It was a tough game given the history of the franchise, but I don't think the game in itself should be ranked this high on Bill's list.

Here I go arguing the criteria for his list again instead of making fun of his choices.

1. You need at least a 35-year drought without a title.
So that means in 2030 I can be a tortured Panthers fan? This just seems stupid to me.

Just look at the difference in desperation between Mets fans (last title: 1986) and Knicks fans (last title: 1973). Starting with Dwight Gooden's positive coke test in 1987, Mets fans have suffered as much as any fan base in sports over the past 23 years: the Scioscia homer, the fall of Doc and Darryl, the Bobby Bo era, the Kenny Rogers Game, the 2000 Subway Series, Yadier Molina's homer and the Collapse of 2007.
Every franchise has tough losses, I don't get why Bill has to collect all of a franchise's tough losses and then try to get their fan base to feel sorry for themselves. It's like he is the spokesperson for complaining about your team. Some teams win and some teams lose, but that shouldn't give you permission to excessively cry about how bad you have it.

I think we are broadening the list a little bit for a Mets fan to feel tortured. I know Mets fans may disagree but the Bobby Bo era involved bad signings by the front office (I have a hard time counting an entire era as a time when the fan's were tortured. It's too broad of a timespan to me), the Subway Series is where the Mets got their ass kicked by the Yankees and the Braves blew a couple leads in the Kenny Rogers game, so it's not like the Mets were dominating. Put down the tissues and just deal with it. Fans shouldn't feel tortured because their team makes bad personnel decisions, get their ass kicked in the World Series, and can't put away a team on the road.

We just entered our sixth straight decade without the Royals/Kings franchise making an NBA Finals. But the Kings moved to Sacramento in 1984, making them ineligible for Level 1 because anyone who cares about them could start caring only 26 years ago.

Bill is an idiot. There is no way a Royals fan could still like the team now that it is in Sacramento?
What kind of sense does this make? Did Brooklyn Dodgers fans not cheer for the team when they went out to Los Angeles? I would be many did.

3. During that 35-plus years without a title, it's not enough to lose. You need to have your guts wrenched a few times.

A great example: Heading into 2005, the White Sox hadn't won a World Series since 1917 and the Cubs hadn't won since 1908, but only Cubs fans were considered "tortured." And with reason. Maybe White Sox fans hadn't won anything, but they didn't have a ton of scars, either.


So it's fine to feel tortured if your team has been good enough to make the playoffs on several occasions but it's not fine to feel tortured if your team has never been good enough to make the playoffs enough to blow a few of them. So in Bill's world, good teams have more cause to whine than bad teams can. How is a person who follows a successful team "less tortured" than a person who follows a team that hasn't been as successful? Has Bill ever had to sit through his team missing the playoffs a few years in a row? I know he has, so he should know this is a dumb rule.

4. Only teams in cold-weather cities are eligible for Level 1 unless the situation is so cruel/unusual/unforgiving that it's practically unprecedented.
Rule #7 (for next year) "The team has to have played in Boston at some point."
Suns fans are a good example. On paper? Level 1 eligible. Forty-one seasons, no titles. Lost the Kareem/Neil Walk coin flip. Lost the famous triple-overtime game in 1976. Lost three agonizing games in the 1993 NBA Finals, as well as Mario Elie's "Kiss of Death" 3-pointer that ended their season in '94. Their Nash era stretch from 2004 to '07 was basically one long liver punch. And yet, how could Suns fans be truly tortured? They live in Arizona! They have things to do!

It's Bill's list, it's Bill's list, it's Bill's list, it's Bill's list. (Bengoodfella trying to hold it back)

THE WEATHER IN AN AREA IS RETARDED REASONING FOR A FAN BASE NOT BEING TORTURED!

And maybe being a Saints fan (as I wrote last week) hasn't been a barrel of laughs, but there's a spiritual optimism around that team -- something tied to the festiveness of Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras and the city in general -- that was beaten out of Jets/Bills/Vikes/Browns/Eagles fans a long time ago.

Of course this spiritual optimism is held back by the massive hurricanes, general poverty of some sections of New Orleans and the fact few teams from New Orleans have ever succeeded over the past 30 years. Let's just face it, Bill think Northern teams have it worse than Southern/Western teams because Southern/Western teams don't have writers like Bill writing for ESPN telling everyone how tortured they are.

On Wednesday's podcast, I asked my buddy Geoff (die-hard Vikes fan) whether he actually thought Minnesota was going to win on the final drive of regulation. This is someone who started rooting for the Vikes at age 6, the year of the Hail Mary play, and spent the next 35 years getting kicked in the teeth. What was his answer?
YES!
How dare he have some optimism about sports! Doesn't he know that you don't get any sympathy and no one is going to write about how you are long suffering if you don't spend at least 2 days feeling pity for yourself and telling everyone how bad you have it? How will his teams ever get attention for being so special as to suffer? Doesn't he want to be self-pitying and loathing?

So when that brutalization kicks into motion again, even casual fans with no real interest instinctively start rooting for that team to NOT get brutalized. It cannot be up for debate. There are no degrees. It's like how we should figure out prospective Hall of Famers -- either you know or you don't.

Absolutely, the Hall of Fame should be decided on whether the voters KNOW a player should be in the Hall of Fame or not. No statistical evidence or any other type of evidential proof, just a gut feeling.

Actually I think that is how it is decided now, at least in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Possible factors that could negatively affect this empathetic assessment: success of other teams in the same city (for instance, nobody is feeling bad for Boston Bruins fans after the other three Boston teams won a combined six titles this past decade)

Yet, Bill has two Red Sox moments in his new Level 1. I guess he just assumes everyone still feels bad for the fan base.

lack of media attention;

You know I have a problem with this. How the holy fuck could a team be knocked down a level on anything (real or made up) because of a lack of media attention? So basically the teams the media follows the most are the most eligible for Bill's fake list. This is the epitome of stupid.

and steady losing devoid of playoff nightmares (like the Lions or Saints).

I still don't get how a team that has been so bad as to never make the playoffs but loses in a tough fashion when they do, is less tortured than a team that loses tough in the playoffs but overall has a history of having good teams. I just don't get this. A constantly bad franchise is just as torturous for a fan base.

(This is why I don't cover Bill Simmons columns, halfway through I always feel like I am speaking in tongues and can't remember what I had written before. He has an effect on me that way.)

14-15. Seattle Mariners/Seahawks


They have never won a title. Ever. The Mariners won 100+ games one year and then got their ass kicked by the Yankees, lost Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr. and they have to deal with a ton of depressing rain. The Seahawks had never made a Super Bowl and then they finally were able to and the officiating was cruddy. The next year the franchise back (Shawn Alexander) decided he wanted a contract extension AND wanted to pick that season to be washed up/get injured. In later years the quarterback for the team (Matt Hasselbeck) aged 20 years in one season and now they just hired Pete Carroll as the head coach. These two franchises have suffered more than a #14/#15 should just based on the entire Seattle area's suffering.

Additional Thoughts: Had to be included after the repeated failures of the Griffey/Ichiro Mariners, Super Bowl XL and the Sonics hijacking. Only a title can snap the city out of it. The good news: They listen to the right kind of music to get through this. "Black hole sun ... won't you come ... and wash away the rainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn."

Yes, because it is 1994 and everyone is still listening to grunge in Seattle. Keep believing this.

13. Portland Trailblazers

Last Title: 1977.

Um...I thought there was a "35 years without a championship" rule among the 6 that Bill just listed? I guess Bill is just going to arbitrarily not follow the own damn rules that he set. THIS is why I can criticize Bill's rules because even he doesn't follow them.

Additional Thoughts: Even though they shouldn't be eligible until 2012, I'm including them because of the many Drexler Era meltdowns, the 2000 collapse, the Bowie and Oden decisions, and the team's "only child" status in Portland.

Why make a list of anything if you can't even stick to your own criteria in making the list? Why even make the rules if you can't follow them? Why have rules for choosing the teams at all? Bill is going to choose the teams he wants to choose anyway, he should just not have rules for his tortured franchises and say he is going to choose whoever the hell he wants. He's doing that anyway.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: 2008 NFC title game (to Arizona).

I don't know if this was a devastating defeat or not. I know we have some Eagles fans out there...was this a devastating defeat? I wouldn't see how this loss would be any worse than the other NFC Championship Game losses at home or losing to the Cowboys this year in the playoffs.

This is the kind of thing that happens when Bill Simmons thinks he can speak for fan bases of sports teams all across the nation. That kind of thing is him irritating me by actually believing he knows which games left these fans the most tortured.

Mitigating Factor: The Phillies' 2008 title knocked the Eagles down a few spots. At least the people of Philly know God isn't against their city now. Or, they're reasonably sure.

So a championship in the same city with a different team in a different sport is a mitigating factor? Let's remember this.

Switch McNabb for Favre this past Sunday, and Eagles fans absolutely would have been waiting for that interception to be thrown. To rope them into a Level 1 loss would take a Herculean choke.

So because the Eagles fans don't have any hope and never think their team can win that makes them less tortured? Shouldn't it be the opposite? See, Bill's rules (when he follows them) don't make sense.

11. New York Jets

So the Eagles got mitigated because the Phillies won a World Series title, but the Jets are mitigated even though the Rangers, Giants, Islanders and Yankees have won titles? I like lists, lists can be fun, but they have to be logical and make sense. It doesn't make sense to mitigate one team because of championships in the same city with different teams in different sports and not mitigate the ranking for every team on the list due to another team in the city winning a championship. Like Joe Morgan says, I need some consistency.

8. New York Knickerbockers

Last Title: 1973.

Like I wrote with the Jets, shouldn't the Knicks spot be mitigated in some way by the fact the Yankees, Giants, Islanders and Rangers have all been good? (Yes, I realize all Knicks fans aren't fans of those other New York teams) Not to mention the fact the Knicks haven't even been any good for the last 10 years, so it's not like the fan base has had any recent disappointments. Shouldn't a team have to be good during the 35 year period or does having Isiah involved with the team count as torture?

I know the fan base is tortured, but somewhere in that fan base there are also fans of the teams that have won championships and I would think this would mitigate the pain some. Not to mention, New York has so many damn sports teams, the torture of the Knicks stinks for their fans, but there are other teams in the area that can take a fan's focus away from a team like the Knicks. Basically, a Knicks fan doesn't have to dwell on the Knicks losses and can move to the Yankees or Giants if they need to make themselves feel better. Of course Knicks/Mets/Jets fans are just shit out of luck.

6. San Francisco Giants

Last Title: Never (unless you count 1954, when the team was in New York).

Of course that shouldn't count because the team relocated and there are no fans of the New York Giants who became fans of the San Francisco Giants according to Bill Simmons retarded "relocation rule."

I think I am getting hung up on other teams in the area being mitigating factors, but San Francisco has 2 major sports teams and the 49ers won 5 Super Bowls between 1981-1994, have seen two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time play for their team and it is a sunny and warm weather city. What happened to Bill's rule about sunny and warm weather cities? It goes out the window because he wants to ignore that rule right now.

Additional Thoughts: You'd think a 66-year title drought, the Bonds/BALCO fallout, a borderline Level 1 loss in 2002 and having its first World Series home game in 27 years postponed by a devastating earthquake

The Bonds/BALCO fallout isn't really a reason for Giants fans to be tortured. Let me explain. The fans of Bonds/Giants were pretty complicit in the whole thing. San Francisco Giants fans defended Bonds a lot when there were rumors that he used steroids and even after there was proof. They stood by their man, at least many of the fans did. There is nothing wrong with this, but I think we have to take this into account into whether the BALCO/Bonds issue tortured them or not.

Some of the Giants fan base would only believe Bonds used steroids if somebody snapped a picture of him with a syringe and a hooker...even then some Giants fans would probably believe the hooker set him up. So either they don't care or don't believe it, but either way I am not sure we can throw a pity party for Giants fans because of BALCO, simply due to the fact they supported Bonds a ton during that time.

I think the most impressive part of these additional thoughts is that Bill can predict the future. He said the Giants have a 66 year title drought. They last won a title in 1954. I am no math major but I think that is a 56 year title drought, not 66 years. So Bill knows the Giants won't win a World Series until at least 2020 or he can't do math and neither can his editor.

5. Cleveland Indians

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: With apologies to the 1999 Indians (shut out by an injured Pedro Martinez coming out of the bullpen in a wild Game 5) and 2007 Indians (blew a 3-1 series lead to Boston), the answer is still Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Every bit as devastating as the 1986 Red Sox collapse at Shea, but without the fanfare because of residual bitterness from the 1994 lockout.

I don't think it was so much the residual bitterness from the 1994 lockout that caused the lack of fanfare of the Indians collapse compared to the 1986 Red Sox collapse, but a lack of media coverage (Dan Shaughnessy, East Coast media, etc.) between the two collapses. I hate to sound like a bitter "I hate the East Coast" person (because I really don't) but the reason the Game 6 collapse is so well known is because it involved a team from Boston and a team from New York. Nevermind the Red Sox could have won Game 7, so the Buckner error didn't end the series, yet that game is still seen as a greater collapse than other Game 7 collapses.

Meanwhile, when the Indians blew Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, they didn't have another game to try and win. Meanwhile, I don't think the 1997 World Series collapse got as much fanfare because it involved a team from Cleveland and a near-expansion team from Florida. Those aren't exactly sexy teams.

Rock Bottom: Two recent Cleveland aces (Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia) starting Game 1 of the 2009 World Series ... but not for Cleveland.

I will not argue with the Indians at #5. Heck, maybe they should be #2 or #3 because of the eternal sucking of the Browns and Cavaliers.

Additional Thoughts: Lost some "tortured" street cred because "Major League" and "Major League 2" have been on cable so often that 30.9 percent of Americans now mistakenly believe that Charlie Sheen was the 1994 World Series MVP.

Two words for Bill Simmons when he talks about street cred and Hollywood movies in regard to MLB teams..."Fever Pitch."

3. Buffalo Bills

Rock Bottom: Let's go with this one -- a while back, I wrote that Buffalo had lost three straight Super Bowls, and my editor corrected me that it was actually four. But still, the Bills lost so many Super Bowls in a row that someone who writes about sports for a living couldn't remember the exact number. We'll never see anything like that again.

Three things that shock me about this passage:

1. Bill thinks rock bottom for the Bills was when he personally couldn't remember how many Super Bowls the team lost in a row. He thinks the franchise's rock bottom revolved around something he personally couldn't recall. How self-involved can you be? I think he truly believes the world in some ways revolves around him and what he does. It may be "only child syndrome," if there is such a thing.

2. An ESPN editor corrected something? I don't believe this. This may be the 1st time I have ever heard of this happening.

3. The same guy who writes about (Boston) sports for a living also just thought 54 + 66 = 2010...let's just say Bill seems to have trouble with basic math, so I wouldn't have high hopes for his memories of the early 90's. No to mention, and I am fine with admitting his strengths (the NBA, getting people to read his column, he's fairly creative, and can write good columns when he wants to), but knowing much about other NFL franchises outside of the Patriots isn't a Bill Simmons strength.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Every 10 years or so, they rip the intestines out of their fans. Happened in 1975 (the Hail Mary), 1988 (Darren Nelson), 1998 (Gary Anderson) and 2009 (12 men). ... By the way, none of those were the four lost Super Bowls. Not even the Red Sox annihilated their fans at such a consistently efficient pace.

I'm going to go ahead and say I think the Vikings should be #1 on this list. Losing 4 Super Bowls, these 4 things Bill just listed here that didn't happen in the Super Bowl, having the Timberwolves in the same city, and having the millionaire of the Twins act like he has to shop at Dollar Tree so they can't keep a good team together when free agency comes for their star players all potentially add up to this conclusion. Of course the Twins have won championships (1987 and 1991---damn that Kirby Puckett) and really aren't an overall unlucky team. I would be very close to putting Minnesota #1 on this list despite these two championships...especially compared to #1.

I really think Seattle should be ranked higher overall.

1. Chicago Cubs

Last Truly Devastating Defeat: Bartman.

I still question whether it can be devastating if the fans themselves are the ones doing the devastating.

Additional Thoughts: Cold weather, a 102-year title drought, a checkered history, a Level 1 loss that happened recently, self-loathing fans, a nagging sense that it can never turn around ...

Again, when it comes to other teams in the area being able to mitigate the fact a franchise hasn't won a World Series...the Bulls won 6 NBA Titles and clearly God doesn't hate Chicago because the White Sox won a World Series. So I think Chicago, as disappointed as the fans are that they haven't won a World Series since 1908, has had some of the disappointment mitigated by the fact they got to witness the best basketball player of all-time win 6 NBA Titles. Of course Chicago did have to deal with Jay Mariotti writing for its city paper for many years, so I should factor that in I guess.

They get my "fan base that's wired the most tightly" vote for this reason: Remember Game 1 of the 2008 playoffs at Wrigley, when the Dodgers jumped out to an early lead and the crowd died immediately? No faith at all. It has been beaten out of the fans.

I am telling everyone, and I mean this as no offense to Cubs fans, but once the Cubs win a World Series title they will easily be the most annoying fan base in the United States. For anyone who thought Red Sox Nation was bad, just wait until the Cubs win a World Series. The bandwagon will all of a sudden get many, many, many more people.

I can accept the Cubs being #1 on Bill's list if he had not used the Phillies World Series victory to lessen how tortured Eagles fans were, but he didn't do that. I think the Cubs are #2 on the list, but the success of other teams in Chicago wouldn't make them #1 in my mind. Of course I can't expect Bill to fully stick to his own rules, so I really have no point.

You'll shed some blood and tears. You might need a miracle to turn momentum around, and you might even need to sell the soul of one of your kids. But it has been done. Hell, I was there for one of those karma swings: Oct. 17, 2004, Fenway Park, Dave Roberts sprinting for second right in front of me, my whole life about to change ... and I had no idea.

(the sound of Bengoodfella banging his head against his desk for no good reason)

I am a 17-year-old senior at Averill Park High School in upstate New York, the only Vikings fan amidst the swam of Pats and Giants fans. I inherited the Vikings from my dad, and my first sports memory is watching the Gary Anderson game. For the past decade, I have suffered with the Vikings, watching everyone else celebrate the Giants' and the Pats' Super Bowls, while my Vikes continued to lose in ever escalating horrible ways.
Hey buddy, try being a Lions fan. I am sure they don't have a lot of sympathy for Vikings fans right now.
But I kept coming back every year, as they found new ways to torture me, because sports are what I live for. Then came the NFC Championship, and once again, I was caused excruciating pain by the thing I love most. I'm finding it hard to commit myself again, as after each year I suffer more and more. Being a Red Sox fan, you have experienced this same pain, but ultimately, you got your redemption. All I ask for is something to remind me that the misery and despair are worth it all, and that being a sports fan isn't just masochism with commercials.
-- Patrick, Albany, N.Y.
Patrick, with all due respect, you are 17 years old and having a typical "my life is over" teenage breakdown. Be glad you aren't the fan of a team that has stunk for the past decade and get over the Vikings loss. Writing Bill Simmons to help make you feel better is pathetic. Sports are fun, but they are not life, quit acting like they are.

All this drama is a bit much.

Maybe I can't contact ghosts, and maybe I don't have spectacular breasts, but I can feel your pain, Patrick. No, being a sports fan isn't just masochism with commercials. Yes, the misery and despair will be worth it some day. Keep the faith.

Bill COULD feel his pain. He no longer feels the pain of a fan who follows a team which is tortured, I would hope the 2 World Series titles have eased that pain a little bit. Maybe I should create a "Levels of Bad Sportswriting" pyramid or something to be ironic...or would that be too Simmons-like?

25 comments:

rich said...

Thank you for making my day that much better.

As for the Bartman game... how is that even close to "winning without winning?" It happened in a non-decisive game of the NLCS. So very, very close to winning.

White Sox fans hadn't won anything, but they didn't have a ton of scars,

Because having a couple of your team's players banned from the sport for throwing the WS isn't a scar?

There are no degrees. It's like how we should figure out prospective Hall of Famers -- either you know or you don't.

Which is why every player in the HOF has been unanimous and every player not in the HOF never even received a vote. You see, you know they should be in and who shouldn't!

who writes about sports for a living couldn't remember the exact number.

Does Bill write about sports? I mean at this point I'd say he whines about sports and writes about terrible tv shows.

Excellent ripping into BS. Well done sir, well done.

Anonymous said...

You're a bit off the mark on the Brooklyn Dodgers. The majority of those fans and those of the departing SF Giants mainly became Mets fans.

There's not a huge following for those teams around here anymore.

Sadly, as a Mets fan, it seems our owners never dropped that alegiance to the old team.

ivn said...

thanks for tackling this column...I've been circling the waters on this one for a while.

"They have never won a title. Ever. The Mariners won 100+ games one year and then got their ass kicked by the Yankees, lost Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr. and they have to deal with a ton of depressing rain. The Seahawks had never made a Super Bowl and then they finally were able to and the officiating was cruddy. The next year the franchise back (Shawn Alexander) decided he wanted a contract extension AND wanted to pick that season to be washed up/get injured. In later years the quarterback for the team (Matt Hasselbeck) aged 20 years in one season and now they just hired Pete Carroll as the head coach. These two franchises have suffered more than a #14/#15 should just based on the entire Seattle area's suffering."

a few more things to digest:
- not only have the Mariners never won a World Series but they're one of three teams (along with the Rangers and the Expos/Nationals) to never even win a pennant. even the Rockies, D-Backs, Marlins, and Rays have at least been to a World Series (and somehow won three between them).
- in 2008 the Mariners had a payroll of over 100 million dollars and lost 100 games. first and only time in baseball history that has happened. good thing they traded Adam Jones for Erik Bedard before the season.
- in the two years before that crooked-ass Super Bowl the Seahawks lost two heartbreaking playoff games: the "We want the ball and we're going to score!" game against Green Bay, and then the next year they lost at home to the 8-8 Rams (making them officially the first team in NFL history to lose a playoff game to a team that went 8-8 although Green Bay would join them the next day) in a game where Bobby Engram dropped the potential game-tying touchdown in the end zone on 4th down with 30 seconds left. so that's three straight painful playoff exits.
- and Simmons just glosses over the fact that the only franchise in the city with a championship to its name got ripped out of Seattle because the new owners wanted to move it to Oklahoma and demanded $500 million from taxpayers to replace/renovate a 12 year old stadium or else they'd move. and the league office let it happen! so despicable that it turned most of the people in this area away from basketball.

as someone with a lot of White Sox fans in my family I also dispute Simmons' theory that they aren't "tortured". losing to Toronto in 1993 with home field advantage, the 1994 strike (partially engineered by Reinsdorf) wiping out a solid season, the 1997 "If anyone thinks this team is catching Cleveland they're crazy" fire sale, Jay Mariotti taking regular potshots at them, etc. I'd even consider throwing the Bears up there; look at what's happened in the 25 years since their Super Bowl win. yeah there was the Bulls, but if we're going by that criteria the Red Sox were never that "tortured" because of the 16 Celtics championships, five Bruins championships, and two Patriots championships between the Red Sox' WS titles in 1918 and 2004; and Knicks/Jets/SF Giants aren't that "tortured" either (as BGF pointed out).

wow this was a long-ass comment.

dan said...

As a White Sox fan I was completely irritated by this article.

The fact that white sox fans never bragged about a curse like cub and red sox fans does not mean we did not have scars and were not tortured. We aren’t masochists. Big difference.

1919 world series—goes without saying
1959—win game 1 11-0 then lose world series
1964 season—finished one game out
1967 season—choked at end of season
1983—win division by 20 games, knocked out by orioles
1994—first place, strike starts
2000-best record in AL--swept in first round

Now the sox won in 2005 and I am glad to not even be considered in the discussion anymore, but to say that until 2005, that a team that had the second longest world series drought in history wasn’t tortured or scarred is just asinine.

Also to add even more to the mariners thing, they won 116 games!!!! They tied the record for most wins of all time and got knocked out. How does that not scar someone?

And for the Sacramento Kings. I don't know how tortured they are overall. I don't know any kings fans, but that three or four year stretch where they couldnt beat the lakers was just BRUTAL to watch. To this day people think the refs or the nba conspired to throw the game. Plus , it was a massive choke job. The kings HAVE to be mentioned.

As for the blazers, again I am making a big assumption since i dont know any blazer fans, but i get the sense they are just happy to have a team. And that if they win the championship great, but they seem to be content getting to the playoffs and supporting their only team. Again, I could be wrong.

All simmons talks about is how unlucky cleveland is and how none of their teams have won anything. by that logic, why arent they higher? The cavs of the late 80s early 90s could be the best basketball team never to win a championship and the early mid 90s indians teams were just loaded and never won. and not only did they never win they stopped signing their best players because of money (manny ramierez, gee wonder why simmons didnt mention that)

ive also noticed there has been a lot of feedback on different sites about this article because it was so bad. i hope simmons doesnt take it to mean that its a succesful article because he got a lot of feedback because the feedback generally has been this guy is an idiot.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I agree. I will never be sold on the idea the Bartman incident makes the Cubs tortured. It wasn't even in the deciding game as you said.

The White Sox do have a few scars because of the things other people have listed here in the comments. The White Sox are pretty scarred in some fashion. Of course they don't really whine about it as much.

I HATE the idea you either know or don't know who should be in the Hall of Fame based on not looking at anything. Also, Bill doesn't write about sports, he tends to write about pop culture more than anything.

Anon, I didn't know that. I have a couple friends parents who still cheer for the Dodgers and Giants since they went to LA and SF respectively, so I just assumed that was the case for most of them. I still don't like Bill's relocation rule though.

Ivn, that was a long comment. I almost want to add what you just added to my post. They are some good points. I think Seattle should have been ranked higher. My uncle lived out there and just generally described how those fans feel and it wasn't good. It rains and they are depressed about their team. Move Seattle up some! You would think since Bill was all about Seattle getting screwed over with the Sonics he would rank them higher.

Dan, as a White Sox fan I would be completely irritated with the amount of press the Cubs get for being so tortured. It would drive me crazy because it's not like the ChiSox have had a wonderful history or anything as you just mentioned.

I am glad you are with us on the Mariners thing. They won 116 games and lost (pretty easily I might add) to the Yankees. How does that not make them suffer. They lost three HoF players on the team and then when they made moves to get better Bedard, etc. those players stunk it up.

I hate the Lakers, but the struggles of the King and Blazers against them made me hate them even more. You make good points, thanks for contributing them. Especially about the Cavs and the Indians. The Indians are a great team in regards to scouting and then they get to see their best players win WS rings somewhere else. How much worse can it get?

I thought the Cubs were a weak #1 pick. It just seemed cliche and not well-thought out. I would put Seattle higher because the Bulls titles should have mitigated it. He picks and chooses when other championship victories by teams in that city mitigates a teams suffering.

I don't think Simmons really reads the criticism of him. I have a feeling he has thin skin, so he probably doesn't even know what people are saying about him. If he did then he would have a thinly veiled shot at some of these people on his blog or on Twitter.

I try not to be too hard on him, because there is some of his stuff I like, but sometimes I agree that he can be an idiot.

rich said...

::slow clap:: ivn, that was an excellent rant. Seattle got hosed. Honestly, how anyone can't say that they're the most "tortured" is beyond me.

The problem with this list is that people are generally fans of teams from one city. For example, Phillies fans are primarily Eagles/Flyers/Sixers fans. There are exceptions (I'm a Phillies/Flyers/Sixers/NY Giants fan), but, again, generally, fans stay within a relatively small region.

So to break it up into teams seems like an exercise in futility. Specifically, how do you take into account how loyal fans are to a certain team within a city. For example, the Eagles not having a SB is much more crushing to Philadelphia residents than say the Phillies/Flyers/Sixers drought? Did the Phillies' WS win alleviate some of the pain? Absolutely, but does it at all mitigate the pain fans felt from the Eagles making another NFC championship game last year and losing? No, not at all.

Look at Seattle. In a vacuum the Seahawks may not be "torturing" their fans, but considering those fans also (most likely) root(ed) for the Sonics/Mariners and that's a pretty tortured group right there.

It's just mind blowing to me that in the same list he says "Well Philadelphia won a WS for the first time since 1980, so Eagles fans aren't tortured" and then turn around and spew crap about how Jets/Knicks fans are even more tortured. Really? Because other than the Knicks and Jets, EVERY OTHER TEAM in NY has won a championship in the past 25 years.

Under similar logic, how exactly is SF ranked so high? Didn't they win three super bowls not too long ago?

To finish my own long-ass comment, you can't isolate teams within a city. I had friends who had to wait until they were 24,25 to see a championship in Philadelphia (thank you Giants). How is being 24 years old and not seeing a single championship not greater torture than watching 1 team suck really badly, but the other teams in the city perform well (and win championships)?

Also I think Buffalo makes a perfect number 1. The Sabres have never won the Stanley Cup (3 trips, decisive game ended on a goal that should have been disallowed) and the Bills have never won a SB (including Wide Right). That's a lot more gut wrenching than watching the Bulls have the greatest team ever, the GOAT in the off-season.

rich said...

I just contradicted myself TMQ/PK/BS style.

Number 1 should be Seattle, 1a should be Buffalo.

I think reading their awful writing has fried my brain.

ivn said...

As far as I can see it, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Seattle are the top three in any order you feel like arguing. Cleveland has some pretty impressive chops as far as pain is concerned. The Twin Cities are probably up there (Twins championships not withstanding)...who else?

Milwaukee has plenty of suffering between the Bucks and Brewers but that gets mitigated by the Packers. Houston is kinda star crossed and had a franchise ripped away (and replaced by a complete dud) but they did get 2 NBA titles in the 90's. Phoenix's status depends on how much weight you give to the DBacks title and if that offsets Suns/Cardinals (and Coyotes too I suppose) misery. Maybe San Diego? rich is right...this is a lot trickier than Simmons seems to think it is. Based on the discussion here it was clearly a good idea for a column but Simmons can't help but be his own worst enemy.

By the way rich, thank you. It was stewing since I first read the column. I realize Simmons no longer pays attention to things beyond "Jersey Shore" and the Celtics but I thought he at least had some knowledge of Seattle sports. You know, being "The Sports Guy" (and apparently "The Sports Whisperer") and all.

Chris W said...

I would actually agree with Simmons about the Sox. We don't have scars because we don't whine little cunts and blame fate every single time we lose a playoff game

Bengoodfella said...

I am just sitting back enjoying the commentary now. I can't really add too much to what Rich said, except I know a couple Knicks fans and they don't seem to be tortured. Maybe they aren't real Knicks fans, but his Yankees and Giants are in the title hunt so it sort of makes up for it a little bit I believe.

I completely agree it is hard to break the teams up since many fans in an area are fans of all the teams in that area, of course New York not being included. I think he would have had more success breaking it down by city.

I don't know the exact rankings but I can see Buffalo moved up some and Seattle moved up a lot. He partially takes into account other teams in the area and you really have to do that. These teams aren't in isolation from each other. So good point Rich and I agree with what you are saying.

Ivn, I would advocate more for Minnesota but those Twins championships probably negate some of the pain a little. Arizona...maybe, but not really so much with the D-backs winning a title, but I may be able to be talked into them climbing the list.

This was a good idea for a column and describes something about Simmons perfectly. Good column idea, but the execution left a little to be desired. That's him in a nutshell for me sometimes.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, and I think that is part of what makes you guys less tortured, but less annoying as well. You understand bad breaks are going to happen and don't want to write in and feel sorry for yourself.

brent daniels said...

As a life long Cubs fan, I get so tired of the lovable loser crap, but I also get tired of the idiots who jump on their bandwagon every time they get good. I would love for them to finally win a World Series as long as I don't have to talk to any of the people jumping on the wagon and acting like they have been a fan all along.
I also think people take sports too damn serious. Yeah it sucks when your team loses, but there can only be One champ each year. Sometimes you just have to be happy with a pretty good year. I do feel bad for Vikings fans, but I feel a little worse for all the people in the world who have actual problems.

KentAllard said...

I don't think hockey misery counts, since Bill only follows hockey when the Bruins are competitive (insert Bruins joke here).

Coming into the season, I was pretty much neutral when it came to the Vikings, but after Favre and the fanbase collectively entering menstruation after the NFC Championship, I'm starting to despise them. Also, my neighbor is from Minnesota, and through a party, inventing neighbors and his fellow Minnesotans who spent the entire time talking about how stupid Southerners are. I don't regret anything I said that night.

In the interest of full disclosure, Steve Bartman is also a Notre Dame grad, so take this with a grain of salt: If a fan tips away a foul ball and your team collapses because of the psychological injury, maybe you weren't that good to begin with.

For a guy who says no one watches Ghost Whisperer, Bill sure can recap an episode.

Bengoodfella said...

Brent, in regard to what you are talking about, here's the thing. I have no problem with Red Sox fans and Cubs fans. I have friends who are fans of both teams, but it is the bandwagon people that are going to annoy me. I think Cubs fans have had it bad but I don't they are necessarily the most tortured fan base if take the other sports in the area into account. If they win a World Series, you will just see the inevitable bandwagon jumpers and that always annoys me.

Even if you don't take other sports into account, Buffalo losing 4 Super Bowls really was depressing. That just really, really sucks.

I agree. I think sports are taken too seriously. I get upset when my team loses a big game but I am not going to write in to a columnist and act like it is the worst thing to ever happen to me. It's not, so I don't think anyone should act that way.

Kent, I am not anti-Vikings, but they turned the ball over 7 times. They didn't deserve to win the game. Plus I hate it when people talk about how Southerners are stupid too and it annoys me, even though I consider myself a Southerner and have lived in NC my entire life...it still annoys me.

Good point on Bartman. I think that was a dumb move by him, but I don't see it as any more psychologically scarring than Jeffery Maier grabbing the HR of Jeter's would torture the Orioles. I like the Cubs but I don't see why anyone would want to be called a lovable loser fan base.

I think Bill watches the show, he just pretends he doesn't.

Dubs said...

Eagles fan checking in. As an Eagle fan, I thought the last NFC Championship game was pretty devastating. Had they just lost again it wouldn't have been, but they were a team that looked like they had found a miracle and put it all together. Then came all the way back to take the lead in the game on the long ass TD to D-Jax, and still lose. To the Cardinals.

Yeah, that one sucked too.

Bengoodfella said...

Dubs, ok well maybe that game did suck for the Eagles. I wouldn't think it would be as bad as some of the losses in the early 2000's but I could be wrong about it. From what you say, it sounds like I am.

Maybe it was bad because you guys had the lead and then lost it.

Dylan Murphy said...

Agreed on Buffalo. I'm a Giants fan, but 4 straight Super Bowl losses followed by 15 years of misery has to be #1. Not only did they have the gut wrenching loss with Norwood, but they managed to be almost the best. At least Pirates fans know their team died with the departure of Barry Bonds

KBilly said...

You gonna post your picks???

Jeremy Conlin said...

As I'm contractually obligated to come up with rebuttals all of your posts about Simmons, here is my defense, in three parts:

1. For the "Media Attention" part: For instance, from 1948 until 2004, both Cleveland and Boston had similar amounts of despair. However, Boston fans were constantly barraged with clips of the Buckner play, Bucky Dent, Grady Little leaving Pedro on the mound, The Aaron Boone homer, etc, whereas what did Cleveland fans have? The Edgar Renteria game winning hit? Other than that, there really aren't too many identifiable clips. If you think back to the 2003 and 2004 Red Sox/Yankees series', it seemed like every 10 minutes they would show either ball rolling through Buckner's legs or the Bucky Dent clip. Cleveland fans weren't exactly subjected to those types of constant reminders. Also, outside of Indians fans, how many people do you think realize that Cleveland hasn't won a World Series since 1948? Or that the Astros or Padres have never won it? Conversely, basically everyone and their brother pretty much knew/knows about the Red Sox or Cubs. I think that should count for something.

2. This (kinda sorta) ties in with the previous one. You say that fans of bad teams (like the Lions, Royals, Clippers) should be allowed to be considered just as tortured as teams that are consistently competitive but never win the title. I respectfully disagree. Many fans of the Clippers, Lions, etc, eventually get tired of losing and develop a sense of apathy. They have no expectations going into the season. They have nothing at stake. Meanwhile, most years, the Cubs or Vikings or Eagles go into the season with a chance to win the title. For example, which fan base do you think was more disappointed/bummed/whatever at the end of this NFL season, the Lions fans or the Vikings fans? I think it's Vikings fans, hands down. Fans of those teams get their hopes up every year that THIS is the year that they finally win the title. I feel like a team that is competitive every year but then flames out would be more painful to follow than a team that just sucks every year. At least the Lions wouldn't keep sucking me in. I wouldn't be in that position that allows me to be completely crushed (Like Vikings/Eagles fans feel now).

3. I think you're using backwards logic for your comparison of the Grady/Pedro game with the Byner Fumble and the Norwood Kick. At least the way I interpret it, Simmons is going in the other direction. He's saying, "Okay the Browns had the Byner fumble, and the year before, the lost on The Drive. The Drive pushed Browns fans into 'Level One' territory, so therefore, the Byner fumble is a 'Level One' Loss," whereas I get the impression you interpreted it in the opposite direction, chronologically.

rich said...

Jeremy,

If this is true: 2. This (kinda sorta) ties in with the previous one. You say that fans of bad teams (like the Lions, Royals, Clippers) should be allowed to be considered just as tortured as teams that are consistently competitive but never win the title. I respectfully disagree. Many fans of the Clippers, Lions, etc, eventually get tired of losing and develop a sense of apathy.

Then they're not fans. Those fans that still follow the team and care about their success/failure are, in fact, tortured by the very virtue that their teams suck.

For example, in part 1. of your defense you say that Red Sox fans are subjected to video of the Buckner play and say that people know all about the long droughts of the Cubs and Red Sox.

Along those same lines, don't you think Tampa fans are tortured by their pathetic beginnings? Even though they won a SB recently, those creamsicle jerseys and those terrible teams are mocked almost every year.

Likewise, as a Sixers fan, listening to "Will team A finally break the record for most losses" is painful; as was the whole "first team to 10,000 losses."

Now apply that to Lions fans. They are the only franchise to go 0-16. They lost 19 straight games. They will be forced to relive last year just like Red Sox fans were treated to the Buckner error.

ivn said...

We'll have to agree to disagree on point 2. one of my best friends is a diehard Lions fan and in a way it's profoundly depressing to see him think about the NFL draft before Thanksgiving every year. In my opinion it is almost more miserable when your favorite team won't even let you get your hopes up. My friend would be thrilled to be in a position where he thought the Lions had a chance to win it until the very end, instead of thinking "Hmm...I hope we can get Ndamukong Suh or Eric Berry in the draft" before December even rolls around.

ivn said...

And rich put it really well as well. When your team is used as a punchline by the media and other fans, that's pretty painful. I'd imagine rooting for the Lions or the Clippers is like rooting for Sisyphus.

Bengoodfella said...

KBilly, my pick is coming up today.

Jeremy, I have given you a break lately from having to post rebuttals.

1. I can understand point #1 but I don't think it makes the fan base any less tortured because while the clips may focus more on those team failures for the rest of the fans of baseball, regardless of how many times a clip is shown the fans are going to remember it. So maybe the clip rubs it in the person's face more but I wouldn't think the fan base is more tortured necessarily...but it is a valid point.

2. See I would agree with Rich in that I don't think the real fans of the team get apathetic or anything. I believe they don't have high expectations but it doesn't mean they are less tortured by their team's success. Think about how Simmons talks about the Clippers fan base...isn't that just as tortuous to go through that with a team. Having little success and it not looking like it would get better?

3. Maybe I am using backwards logic on that. I will have to revisit that and see if I did do that.

Rich, I do agree in part that a fan base which has had no success is just as tortured because of the lack of success. Little to no hope seems to be pretty tortuous to me.

Ivn, I wouldn't mind the chance to draft Berry or Suh as long as my team didn't stink...which means any good team wouldn't be in a position to draft those two guys.

Anonymous said...

I love how some people think they know how fans of other teams that they don't follow act (this includes BS, since he thinks he knows every single fan base out there). To say Lions fans have no expectations is a joke, and shows how people have no clue what goes on in other cities.

The bottom line is no fans suffer more then others...all fans suffer the same when the team they cheer for loses. There are no "levels" of suffering!! Each fan base suffers all the same when their teams lose.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, oh no...apparently there ARE levels of suffering that a fan of a team must endure. Fan suffering is not equal in the eyes of Bill Simmons. A team that has had so much more success than a losing team has had it's fan base suffer more due to this.

That is what makes Bill so incredible, he can speak for all fan bases because he has proclaimed himself the person that speaks to fan bases the best. So he knows Lions fans aren't tortured. Also, he makes shit up.