Friday, April 12, 2013

15 comments He's Got No Other Ideas, So Here's a Mailbag from Bill Simmons

Here is a list of the columns that Bill Simmons has posted on Grantland as of April 5, 2013 (when the column I'm covering today was posted):

April 5: A mailbag consisting entirely of readers talking about Bernard Pollard.

March 26: The article on the Heat's 27 game win streak. 

March 26: Reprint of a 2009 column Bill had written.

March 25: A rambling and poorly researched column about "The Walking Dead."

March 19: A recap of the Grantland NCAA Tournament knockout pool. 

March 8: The worst contracts in the NBA. 

March 1: The best contracts in the NBA. 

March 1: Reprint of a 2006 column about the atrocious GM summit. 

February 28: Reprint of a 2003 column regarding time he spent with Mike Tyson. 

February 21: Trade deadline discussion with Zach Lowe Part 1...and Part 2. 

February 18: Jerry Buss dies and Bill writes about Buss.

February 15: Article regurgitating his Ewing Theory column, except about Rajon Rondo.

February 15: Reprint of his 2001 column about the Ewing Theory. 

February 14: Responses from readers in regard to his attempt to be controversial in asking "The PED Question."

February 5: Running diary of the "Fast and the Furious 6" trailer.

February 1: Column asking "The PED Question." 

January 25: A retro-photo diary of a Knicks-Celtics game. It's the worst. 

January 23: He and Zach Lowe talk about how terrible the Lakers are.

January 18: A mailbag. 

January 18: An all-Manti Te'o mailbag.

January 11: A mailbag. 

January 9: Reprint of a 2007 article about the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

January 4: Wild Card weekend picks. 

It looks like Bill has written a lot. He has 23 articles posted...BUT, five of these are reprinted articles, four are mailbags, two consist of reader responses to columns Bill has written, two are entertainment-oriented, and two are written as a discussion with Zach Lowe. This leaves us with eight what I would call "normal" columns that Bill has written this year by himself. One was a retro-photo diary, one contained about 30% new material, and another one was about the Grantland NCAA Tournament knock-out pool. So five columns of real, new material presented in the form of a "normal" article have been written by Bill in 2013. There was his January 4 Wild Card picks, the PED column, the best contracts in the NBA, the worst contracts in the NBA, and the article on the Heat's 27 game win streak.

I'm not accusing Bill of being lazy. He does podcasts all the time, plus he has his hands on NBA Countdown, "30 for 30," and Grantland. I think he is out of ideas for columns at this point and doesn't have the guts to simply quit writing columns on a weekly basis. He's still pretending he wants to write and is inspired to write. That brings us to article #24 for 2013 (as of April 5), which is (of course) a mailbag. 

So Nino from Queens sent me the following e-mail: "I saw you on TV the other night and told my 3yr old son that Bill Simmons is so big headed that he cant do a little old mailbag anymore. My son asked what is big headed daddy?

There's more to this story, but I'm bored. For some reason this guy wants Bill to write another mailbag. Why Nino from Queens gets off on reading emails people have sent to Bill Simmons is beyond my understanding, but Bill isn't going to pass up a chance to show how much his SimmonsClones worship him.

Come on, Nino, couldn't you have just written, "I'd love for you to write another mailbag soon, I really enjoy them"? But thanks for the wakeup call. I can't disappoint Nino or little Nino Jr. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.

Except for the ones that Bill has carefully edited or seemingly written himself. Those are not actual email from actual readers.

Q: Where does Worm go when he leaves Binghamton?
—Jeff, OKC

SG: I've only been wondering this for 15 years.

I've never seen "Rounders," so I don't understand this question. I do understand Bill takes this opportunity to name-drop the writers of "Rounders" so he can make it very clear he knows them.

That's why I couldn't resist asking the guys who wrote Rounders, Brian Koppelman and David Levien, for the answer. Here's what they e-mailed back:

Bill emailed the writers of "Rounders" and they emailed him back. This is very important to know. I'm jaded and I completely believe the sole reason Bill answered this question is to alert his readers to the fact he can correspond with the writers of "Rounders." Again, I'm very jaded.

If you're a Rounders junkie who wasn't reading me way back when, check out my two-part awards column about the 2001-02 NBA season using Rounders quotes (here are Part 1 and Part 2),

This is just a reminder that Bill has been using the same "movie quotes to hand out awards" column gimmick for 11 years now.

Q: Did you see Gregg Williams' new goatee and dyed hair after he was reinstated? Did he think that looking like his own evil twin would help his image? With that sport coat and no tie look, he looks like he is about to embark on an epic journey for revenge against Roger Goodell straight out of the movies. He actually looks like a bounty hunter now.
—Tiny, Philly

SG: And did you see who's teaming up with him in Tennessee? Someone who never had to be told that you kill the head and the body will die … that's right, BERNARD KARMELL POLLARD! Are you kidding me?

Bill writing "BERNARD KARMELL POLLARD" has become his new "6 for 24." Both are jokes that weren't really funny to begin with that eventually got run into the ground for about two years too long.

Q: Your readers got it wrong; there's no way that Bill Belichick becomes Bernard Karmell Pollard's next victim. He has yet to complete his on-field set. Think about it: He's taken out a QB, a TE, and a WR.... He needs a running back to complete the PKC (Patriot Killer Cycle). Not only that, but the Pats desperately need the run in order to beat this Ravens team, and Pollard's going to know this. Just don't say I didn't warn you when Shane Vereen or Stevan Ridley is rolling on the ground Sunday clutching their knee.
—Jack Manley, New York, NY

SG: For the record, I received that e-mail on January 18 at 4:33 p.m., a couple of days before the Pats-Ravens game.

It is simply fate that Bill constantly makes jokes about Bernard Pollard injuring Patriots players in his columns, Bill probably has at least 750,000 million people who read his column and this reader named one of the 45 players on the Patriots roster who were going to be activated for the Ravens-Patriots playoff game. There's no way this could be a coincidence could it? Of course not. What are the odds one of Bill's overly-loyal lemmings would repeat a joke about Bernard Pollard using one of the 45 Patriots players?

Q: I have a new idea for a reality TV show. It's called "Jeer Factor." Basically, it's a contest to find out which situation causes the highest volume of boos: 

I have a new idea for a mailbag. It's called "Stop fucking trying to be write/talk/act like Bill Simmons." Basically, you just stop writing emails to Bill in the hopes to get validation your life is truly worth living by having him answer your email.

SG: Here's a more realistic idea: Is there a way to figure out which opposing athlete's jersey would go over the worst in a local sports bar?

I don't want to spoil anything, but Bill we know whose jersey is going to be named here. Bill has to beat this joke into the ground. It can not survive.

I feel like Pollard-Boston wins this contest going away.

Boston will always be the most cursed team no matter the category. Bill gained fame by constantly whining about his teams and he is going to keep whining until he can whine no more. It's miraculously worked for over a decade, why stop now? Are there even other sports franchises that have suffered an injury to one of their players other than the Patriots? It's doubtful.

We thought about filming a clip for the Grantland Channel in which two guys wearing Pollard jerseys (one for Baltimore, one for Kansas City) entered a Boston sports bar during a hectic Friday night, sat down and just tried to eat dinner and drink beer, just to see how long they'd last … but then we realized that they'd be beaten up, carried to Charlestown and dropped from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument like water balloons.

Patriots fans care more about their team than your team's fans do! They will straight murder an opposing player if given the chance.

Q: You mentioned in your LeBron column that you hate only five teams, and I was shocked to see the Jets not on the list. As a Pats fan, how do they not make your blood boil? They might be my least favorite team in all of sports other than the evil Iceland team from the second Mighty Ducks movie and Kentucky from Glory Road.
—Chris, Perth

Bill lists every bad thing that has ever happened in the history of the Jets franchise because this is his world and the only currency he recognizes is misery.

Anyway, I always felt something of a kinship with Jets fans because their experiences from 1970 through 2000 made them just as self-loathing as every Patriots fan after our experiences from 1970 through 2000.

By the way, the Patriots made two Super Bowls from 1970-2000. Ask the Lions, Browns or the Buccaneers if they wouldn't mind having made two Super Bowls from 1970-2000. There were some terrible Patriots teams in that time, but 1970-2000 wasn't the worst stretch of time for a franchise in NFL history. Of course Bill has no concept of this reality and pleads with us to feel sympathy for him and all he has been through with the Patriots. No other NFL teams' fans could ever understand the misery of only making two Super Bowls in 30 years.

Their 1982 and 1998 playoff teams may as well have been our 1985 or 1996 playoff teams:

Of course with the huge difference being that the Patriots made the Super Bowl in 1985 and 1996 while the Jets lost both times in the conference championship game. Other than that pretty major caveat, these two teams were very, very similar. Bill could never admit an NFL team has had it worse than his Patriots though. Your misery can't exceed his misery.

And then, for whatever reason, our fortunes changed for four years from 2001 to 2004,

If Bill doesn't know why his fortunes changed from 2001-2004 (and really the Patriots' fortune changed until this very day, which of course Bill won't acknowledge because, again, he can't allow you think he isn't perpetually suffering...what a douche...he conveniently ignores two Super Bowl appearances) then he isn't quite the Patriots fan he claims to be. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are why the Patriots fortunes changed and the Patriots have had good fortune until this very day.

So really, we're the more successful younger brother of the Jets — they're like Ed Burns, and we're like the dude who always played Ed Burns's brother in Ed Burns movies who now appears in Geico commercials — only we come from the same effed-up family and we're bonded by our mutual hatred of the same person (in this case, the Giants).

So really really, "you" are much more successful than Ed Burns, so you are Tom Hanks to that guy on "Bosom Buddies" that once was popular and now I can't remember his name. Bill can't accept success. He has to continue thinking his favorite teams are still tortured when the fact is that the Patriots have had an incredibly successful run from 2001-2013 by only missing the playoffs two times in that stretch. Not many teams can say that. Good try to even begin comparing the Jets to the Patriots though.

Q: In a 2009 mailbag (scroll down to end) you compared Tiger Woods to Don Draper. With Tiger regaining his No. 1 ranking and dating Lindsey Vonn, is this now the equivalent of when Draper married Megan and seemingly regained his mojo in Season 5?
—Kyle, Cambridge, MA

I can't wait for Bill to write a column about "Mad Men" like he is an expert on the show and then get some fundamental parts of the show wrong. That "Walking Dead" column certainly didn't get his career as an entertainment critic off to a rousing start.

SG: Isn't it weird that Season 6 of Mad Men launches four days before Tiger's latest chance to fully regain his professional mojo at Augusta? Keep an eye on this.

No, this isn't weird at all actually. This is a pure coincidence. It has premiered in late March/early April for two straight years now and the Masters is always at the same time in April. "Mad Men" got pushed back two years ago because of struggles between the creator of the show and AMC. So rather than premiere "Mad Men" during the summer and push "Breaking Bad" back, they premiered it in March 2012. Since most networks like to premiere a show at the same time every year, that meant "Mad Men" started the same time as the Masters again. It's a coincidence. Of course Bill doesn't believe in coincidences when he can make up some half-assed theory that really has no attribution.

Q: Do you have any idea how lucky you are to watch Jackie Bradley Jr on a daily basis?
—Pete Shahid, Charleston, SC

SG: Yes! I'm well aware! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Sorry, I interrupted you … keep going.

It's always fun to see Bill get excited about a Red Sox prospect. It's fun and rare since usually the Red Sox have either traded away their best prospects or Bill has no idea who the good Red Sox prospects are.

Q: As a lifetime, long suffering University of South Carolina Gamecock fan, watching JBJ play college ball was amazing.

This guy has to put "long-suffering" in the question just to make sure Bill would answer it. Though Gamecocks probably are long-suffering, especially since they aren't the best or most famous "USC" and they aren't the best or most famous team referred to as "Carolina." They aren't a top-tier team in SEC football, but second-tier in that conference as well. Perhaps they should be called the South Carolina Second-Tiers. I love trolling South Carolina Gamecock fans. They are such nice people too. But come on, when someone says "Carolina" you think UNC-Chapel Hill (unless you are in South Carolina) and when someone says "USC" you think University of Southern California. So the fact this guy is whining about being long-suffering and is a Gamecocks fan makes sense...or he just wants to whine a bit to ensure he gets in Bill's mailbag.

Then Bill starts comparing Jackie Bradley Jr. to Russell Wilson, my head explodes and I should quickly move on to the next pathetic person who emails Bill to validate their existence in this world.

Here's the point: The Red Sox took heat for starting Bradley on Opening Day over sending him down for two weeks, then bringing up him in mid-April so they could delay his free agency for a year...Their fan base had turned on the owners and couldn't have been less excited about this year's team. That left the Red Sox with two choices.

And we all know the smartest MLB teams cater to their fan bases every whim and want. That's the only way to build a successful team, is to make sure the fan base likes the moves the team is making. In Bill's mind this makes sense.

Choice A: Send Bradley down for two weeks, look like cheapskates, weaken this year's team for the first two weeks, derail his momentum after a sparkling spring training.
Choice B: Reward Bradley by bringing him up right away, get the fans excited, hope he helps the team get off to a monster start, then ride the ensuing momentum to a "NOBODY BELIEVED IN US!" season that hinges on pitching, defense, chemistry and that 10-3 start (I'm being super-duper-duper optimistic) that never would have happened if they acted like big cheapskate wusses who didn't bring up Bradley right away.

Seeing as how Bill has no foresight nor analytical skills he didn't think about the negatives of bringing up Bradley too soon, even after a sparkling Spring Training. Bradley still may not be ready to play in the majors, struggle during the first few weeks of the season and he possibly gets sent down when when David Ortiz comes back. But no really, cater to the fan base, and make sure personnel decisions are based on what they want. That's always a good idea.

For me, that's a no-brainer: The upside (Bradley killing it and the team taking off) far exceeded the downside (losing a year of free-agency control).

Plus the downside of Bradley starting off the season slow, possibly losing confidence, and this negatively affecting the rest of his season. It sounds crazy, but it has been known to happen.

Let's say that decision cost them $10 million in premature Bradley free-agent money down the road … for God's sake, this is the same team that gave Shane Victorino THIRTY-NINE MILLION over three years. Do you think they care? The Red Sox just wanted to be relevant locally again for anything other than beer and chicken, salary dump trades and newspaper smear campaigns.

And we all know the best way to make management decisions is to make them based entirely on a way to cover up or make up for previous management mistakes. The Red Sox want to be relevant again, so Bill thinks they should try to be relevant by making smart short-term decisions and damn any of the long-term consequences. Bill would have made a fantastic NBA GM.

So they have to sign him for $130 million in 2019 instead of 2020 … why should Red Sox fans give a flying hot damn? Last time I checked, I wasn't rooting for Tampa Bay.

Sports fans. Why wouldn't the Red Sox make their personnel decisions based on what the fans want? Bill is talking ever-so-logically here.

Q: A friend of mine and I have been following you since 1999. We were trying to figure out how many words you have printed since that time. Rules: no Twitter/Instant Media, and no support (you get credit for the comments in the mailbag, but not the mailbag itself). The Over/Under is 2.5 million words.

SG: Way way way way way over. Let's say I averaged 5,000 words per week since 1999, which feels super low to me. That's 260,000 words a year multiplied by 14. And that's a conservative, super-low estimate. I'd argue that no two-fingered typist has ever cranked out more words.

Cranking out the most words doesn't mean much of anything if the words that are cranked out aren't of high quality. Bill isn't allowed to count the columns he has reprinted or nearly reprinted (like his Rondo-Ewing Theory column) in this 2.5 million word count. I think Bill mistakes quantity for quality.

Q: Question for your mailbag, not to be answered in a glib way. I am just curious. Was Kevin Ware's broken leg the worst injury that you've ever seen during a game? I wasn't alive for Theismann's broken leg. Was this worse?
—Michael, Quincy, MA

Of course not. Because Boston is the only city with sports it has to be a Boston-area athlete who has the worst injury Bill has ever seen. He's the Boston Sports Guy after all.

SG: But the worst thing I've ever seen live was Red Sox pitcher Bryce Florie getting nailed by a line drive. I can't even describe how scary and unsettling it was — everyone who watched it knows what I mean. Let's just move on.

Of course, a Red Sox player had the most horrific injury Bill has ever seen. If you didn't watch it then you don't know what Bill means. Only he has enough knowledge to state this definitively.

Q: I just watched the whole series of Rockys and the whole time was thinking 'oh no, Rocky was definitely on PEDs'. You have officially ruined Rocky for me. I am fairly confident that he was clean when he won the title in Rocky 2, but straight away I noticed in Rocky 3 his head was about twice the size and he was ripped like never before (despite the fact he was meant to be 'aging and past his prime').
—Josh, Adelaide, So. Australia

OR, and this is just a guess, but Rocky is not a real person and the actor who was playing Rocky was the one juicing.

The biggest red flag for me other than ripped musles and a larger head: After winning the title by beating Apollo Creed in the Ain't Gonna Be No Rematch rematch, Rocky's record was 45-21 with 39 knockouts. From there, he ripped off 10 straight knockout victories over the next five years over Trevor Faus, Joe Czak, Big Yank Ball, Vito Soto, Bobby Jalali, Dave Fossan, Flip Folsom, Joe Green, Matt Delarue and Philip Hammerman before Clubber Lang finally beat him. Ten straight knockouts after he turned 30? With a significantly different muscle tone and physique?

Rocky is a fictional character. So realism isn't exactly what was being attempted when "Rocky III" was being made. I don't think there is supposed to be an inference that Rocky was juicing, it is just that is how the script was written and Stallone was probably juicing at the time. I guess I don't see the joy in debating whether a fictional character was on PEDs or not.

And by the way, he prevailed in the fight that quadrupled CompuBox's record for "most power punches landed" (that 15-round war with Ivan Drago in Russia) when he was 39 years old — coincidentally, the same winter when he scaled a 40,000-foot Russian mountain while only wearing a ski jacket and boots. I think Josh might be on to something.

Or it is a movie. You know, either way.

Q: You like to fancy yourself as a late night TV expert. Who's getting Fallon's 12:30 spot on NBC?
—Mark Lisanti, Los Angeles

SG: I answered this question in a Hollywood Prospectus blog post yesterday along with a bunch of other Grantlanders who weighed in with their picks.

The beauty of a mailbag is that Bill doesn't have to answer the questions he doesn't want to answer. So basically this question only served the purpose of Bill pimping out the Hollywood Prospectus blog, where hopefully he will be pumping out some more half-assed television show reviews. It's all about the synergy. Bill's mailbag is used to pimp out his old columns, his book, and Grantland.

Q: You know there's an ex-college linebacker named Marlon on the Real World this season, right? He started for three seasons and was an honorable mention all Big 12 at Texas Tech. A former college athlete who wasn't able to make money as a professional has now turned his attention to getting on the challenge and dominating in order to make a living? This is the next step in making The Challenge America's fifth major sport!

Nobody but Bill Simmons watches "The Challenge" on MTV anymore. In fact, I'm not sure anyone even watches MTV anymore other than to watch "Teen Mom."

SG: So you're saying it's a little like when NFL teams started converting NBA players into tight ends? I'm nervous about the Real World franchise — the Portland season premiered last week to the lowest ratings in Real World history.

The reason the ratings are the lowest in the show's history is because it has become incredibly repetitive when season-after-season the same shit happens over and over again. It's all been done and the public (outside of Bill Simmons apparently) knows that. Watching the "Real World" is what people like Bill Simmons do in order to convince themselves they are in touch with today's youth.

Then Bill uses a question about "One Tree Hill," yes he is now discussing "One Tree Hill" to slip a discussion about the show in with Grantland's Juliet Litman. Again, feel the corporate synergy. I'm surprised this discussion isn't sponsored by Coors Light.

Me: A bastard estranged half-brother? And they were both basketball rivals? Why wasn't I watching this show?

Juliet: I don't know! But Nathan is the rich basketball star while Lucas is the poor outcast in the shadows (even though he is ridiculously good-looking and that's all that matters in high school — whatever). With Lucas threatening to usurp Nathan's hegemony, Nathan attempts to disgrace his brother on Lucas's own turf, the River Court, where normal rules of basketball don't apply.
Simmons: Normal rules of basketball don't apply? Is this like every Lakers game when the NBA needs them to make the playoffs?

Juliet: The subtext to the challenge is that Lucas is also making a play for Nathan's girlfriend, which is what NC was referring to with the love triangle. I wish I could think of an appropriate Game of Thrones brothers analogy, but there is none.

There isn't a direct "Game of Thrones" analogy, but there are two brothers (one of them a bastard) who don't particularly like each other and one is jealous of the other. It's sort of a reverse Robb Stark v. Theon relationship, no? How about this "One Tree Hill" situation being a Tyrion v. Jamie v. Cersei triangle just with no brother-on-sister sex and no jealousy about this relationship from Tyrion, but plenty of jealousy about Tyrion's father's acceptance of Jaime and Cersei? Tyrion may as well be treated like a bastard. I think there could be a "Game of Thrones" analogy in here somewhere. 

Juliet: Now that you've watched this clip, you could drop in on almost any episode of One Tree Hill from Seasons 1 through 5 and more or less understand what was going on.
Simmons: I think I'm good.

Bill just claimed he didn't know why he wasn't watching this show and completed a fairly lengthy discussion about the show where he seemed intrigued, but now he's too cool to watch "One Tree Hill." That is until he starts watching "One Tree Hill" and providing a column of NBA Awards along with quotes from the show, of course.

SG: These are all fantastic questions and I don't have answers. But I was watching The Fugitive on AMC two weeks ago and noticed a flaw that ruined the movie for me. These things tend to happen after you've watched a movie 320 times over a 20-year span, but still. Here's the flaw: So Dr. Kimble is on the loose with everyone in the Midwest looking for him. Two different times, he reaches out to his old friend Dr. Nichols (the guy with the goofy accent), not knowing that Nichols was the one who set him up and hired the one-armed man. OK, so why does Nichols help him? Why doesn't he immediately alert the police, or even better, just hit Kimble over the head and knock him out until the police arrive? Why help the one guy who could foil a plan that worked perfectly? Why? How could you be a conniving award-winning doctor who's also the dumbest person on the planet?

You know Bill, it may be easier for you readers to go directly to the page that said nearly this exact same thing. When Bill says he noticed this, I wonder if he meant "I read it on the Internet and ESPN doesn't mind if its employees take credit for other people's work"?

Q: Is it just me or is the Amendola for Welker swap eerily similar to the Celtics downgrading from Ray to Jet.
—Ben R., Philadelphia

We are going to see a collision of two qualities in a Bill Simmons mailbag in just a second. First, Bill will never allow a person writing in have a more original idea. Bill always has to top the idea submitted. Second, Bill can only answer player-specific questions (outside of the NBA) about Boston-area teams. He will briefly discuss or make a joke about another player on a non-Boston area team, but he will never do any type of analysis or in-depth discussion if the player doesn't play in the NBA or doesn't play for a Boston-area team.

SG: Or Johnny Damon to Coco Crisp. Welker's departure remains odd to me — either the team believed he was more banged up than the general public knows, or Belichick never totally forgave him for making the Rex Ryan joke that got the Jets fired up before that 2011 playoff game

I'm sure there is a Patriots message board somewhere that would love to hear Bill's theories. I think the Patriots just decided not to re-sign Welker for a variety of reasons.

The bigger point: Why would the NFL stick with a salary cap that effectively prevents ANY signature guy from finishing with the team that made him a signature guy? 

It's not the Patriots fault they couldn't re-sign Welker! It's the NFL's fault. Doesn't the NFL know it has an obligation to make sure the Patriots best players always play for the Patriots? Bill is like whiny a fan on a message board who is cool with a rule until it negatively affects his team. Now that Welker is gone Bill has to cry about why the NFL can let this happen. Nevermind plenty of NFL teams have lost signature players for salary cap reasons, once it affects the Patriots Bill needs to see some changes happen.

Couldn't every team get a slush bonus fund of $8 million per year that doesn't count against that year's cap and can only be used to incentivize 9/6 guys (anyone who's played nine-plus years and spent the last six-plus years with the same team) to stick around?

Because 9/6 isn't a bizarrely arbitrary number to use. It's not a coincidence Welker spent six seasons in New England. Why not incentivize 10/7 guys with this slush fund? That's right, Welker wasn't in New England for seven seasons, so he wouldn't have met the standards for Bill's arbitrary rule. God, Bill is the worst. He wants the NFL to design the salary cap around some arbitrary number just so the Patriots wouldn't lose Welker. Why wouldn't the NFL change the rules just for the Patriots?

I don't want to see Ed Reed on the freaking Texans. He should have been a Raven for life. And I hate the Ravens! But it won't be the same rooting against them without Ed Reed. Bad system.

Hey Bill, I realize you know absolutely nothing about other NFL teams outside of the Patriots, but the Ravens didn't want to keep Ed Reed around. So Ed Reed would have been a Texan no matter how many bullshit rules you think up to Reed in Baltimore (actually the rule would be changed to keep Welker in New England, but Bill is using Reed as an example to pretend like he doesn't want the rules changed just for the Patriots).

Q: Wouldn't the sport of hockey be infinitely more entertaining if the penalty box was converted into a sensory deprivation chamber? I'm talking no light, no sound, no nothing.

Oh my God, just stop thinking and writing. Stick to worshiping Bill. It takes a lot less thought.

SG: Let's at least try this in the KHL or OHL to see if this works. But I'm glad you brought it up. Wouldn't the concept of a penalty box work just as well for the NBA and NFL?

A reader thinks of an idea, presents it to Bill and he immediately has to improve upon this idea. It's a trend. In fact, up next is an example of Bill topping a story with another of his reader's stories and then Bill tops THAT story with his own. The man's ego is immense.

Q: What would be the most devastating PED story ever? Wouldn't it have to be the Miracle on Ice team? Would this destroy the Internet completely along with all semblance of American pride? I can't think of anything worse possibly happening in the sports world.
—Jeff Kelly, Phoenixville, PA

SG: I can think of one thing worse involving the Miracle on Ice team …

Q: If you were a crazy Russian millionaire, wouldn't you bid on Mike Eruzione's gear in that auction? Burn it in effigy, wield it like The Conch, hide it away forever.... Where would this rank in sports international incidents?
—Jonathan Harwell, Nashville, TN

So now Bill has topped the first reader's example with another reader's example. Can Bill have anyone be seen as more clever than him? Of course not, so Bill tries to top this second example.

SG: I intentionally waited until after the auction to run that e-mail. Imagine if Kim Jong-un had gotten the Eruzione jersey? We shrug off his nuclear threats, but buying Eruzione's jersey and burning it, then sending the YouTube clip out for the world to see? Yeeessh.

Jonathan from Nashville, Bill is more clever than you. I feel like Bill got a lot of validation as a child that he was very, very good at nearly everything. I'm afraid his parents perhaps pumped him up too much. He was that kid who thought his toys and athletic abilities were always the best.

Then Bill follows up a joke about Dennis Rodman and North Korea with this:

SG: What if I told you that Dennis Rodman killed a crazy dictator and became the most powerful man in Asia? ESPN Films presents the newest 30 for 30, Whup 'Em Rodman Style, directed by Peter Berg. Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Bill helped create "30 for 30" and now he is using the tagline as a joke in his columns. It's all about the corporate synergy for him.

Q: okay, so you are on my "list", you know, the "list" i have w/ my husband that if i were ever to meet you i could hook up w/ you and he wouldn't divorce me. it is even to the point that he calls you my boyfriend and that got my 5 year old daughter to say, "mommy, you have a boyfriend?" well, we saw you the other week on TV and you looked soooo skinny and you hadn't shaven in what looked like a week. my husband turned to me and said, "that is your boyfriend, have fun with that" please, eat some hamburgers so i don't have to be embarrassed that you are on my list. thanks!!!
—Nichola, Fontana

SG: I put on four pounds since this e-mail — we still have a chance, Nichola! DON'T YOU QUIT ON US!

The odds of this being a real woman or an email Bill did not make up are about 1%. Notice how Bill runs this completely useless email simply to remind everyone how popular with the ladies he is. I complain and say a lot of things, but Bill's ego is tremendous. If I say nothing else, let that be all you remember. He runs emails where "real" women tell him how attractive he is. He has no shame.

SG: You're damned right we are. That reminds me, we have an ABC Countdown show on Sunday followed by a doubleheader that takes us through about 6 p.m. ET. (We have to stick around for the entire game just in case it ends early and we have to fill.) That reality created the following two real-life dilemma moments for me.

Bill hosts an NBA pregame show on ESPN/ABC. Has he not made this clear enough for you? 

1. Our producer, Amina, e-mailed us yesterday that we had to stick around after the second game to tape something for ESPN, leading me to start typing a "Do you know how long we have to stick around? I want to be home in time for the WrestleMania pre-PPV …" response before staring at the e-mail for a few seconds and realizing, "Oh, wait, I can't send this."

Bill is just like you! He can't wait to get off work and watch "Wrestlemania." He's exactly like you, which is what he wants you to believe. He almost didn't get home from his job that consists of hosting an NBA pregame show on ABC, but other than that, this is a story I can completely relate to.

Q: When you Google image search "drunk hockey players," it turns out these dudes really like to take their shirts off when they are drunk.

Drunk men who like to take their shirt off? Are there any pictures of beefcake men doing this? If so, alert Gregg Easterbrook immediately.

By the way, you know how NBC turned Hannibal into its first potential hit drama in eons? And you know how NBC desperately needs an identity and can't come up with any good original ideas? Why wouldn't they just turn 20 movies that we like into TV shows? For instance, I'd absolutely and unequivocally watch a Cast Away show. The two-hour pilot could blow out everything that happened leading up to the plane crash. The next eight to 10 episodes could revolve around life on the island interspersed with how everyone's lives changed back home (including Helen Hunt's character grieving, then eventually falling for the dentist); maybe you could even throw in a couple of wrinkles like "someone else survives the crash with Hanks and lives on the island with him for a couple of episodes before dying of gangrene" and "Hanks has to fend off three crazy natives who lived on the other side of the island." 

It would be exactly like "Lost," just with one person and no dialogue. Who says "no" to this? 

Then the last couple of episodes could be about Hanks escaping the island and getting rescued, then landing back in Memphis and trying to get his old fiancée back. VOILÀ! We just cranked out Season 1.

So basically after Season 1 is completed the entire premise of the show has been completed and it turns into a show about a guy who was on an island for a while trying to win back his girlfriend. Does that sound like a strong premise for a television show to you?

Then Bill talks about bringing back "L.A. Law" and "ER," because rebooting "90210" worked so well and there aren't enough dramas about attorneys or doctors on television right now. What television needs is MORE shows about attorneys or doctors.

Q: Every time I hear "Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John, I feel like strutting around my office, home, or store like the Bushwackers from the Old WWF on Speed. Yes, I know I am heterosexual married male with two children. But that song just makes me want to stand up and move and shake my money maker.
—Matthew Branch, Traverse City

SG: Yup, these are my readers.

Exactly. These are your fans, Bill. These are the people who would love to emulate you and dedicate their lives to reading your columns while writing emails in to you with their ideas they believe would improve on your ideas. These people are your fan club. What's that say about you? 


Aaron D. said...

"I'd argue that no two-fingered typist has ever cranked out more words."

Wow that doesn't seem at all self-righteous and egotistical.

I was pretty surprised that Bill has reprinted 5 columns this year. That's more than 20% of his output for 2013! I think we're at the point where Bill needs to stop writing columns. As you said, he's a pretty busy boy, what with being editor-in-chief, being on NBA Countdown, podcasts, and having a role in the new 30 for 30 (which I will say I have enjoyed) There's nothing wrong with him having to stop; it just seems that he refuses to believe he's past his prime and continues going through the motions, so all of his old tricks just seem gimmicky and caricature-ish. It's pretty obvious, looking at references to The Challenge and Rocky.

Anonymous said...

I'm jaded and I completely believe the sole reason Bill answered this question is to alert his readers to the fact he can correspond with the writers of "Rounders." Again, I'm very jaded. - Not jaded but absolutely spot on correct!

He may be busy but Grantland sucks (Kobe's rap career? Gee whose idea was that?) and so do his podcasts and the NBA tonight. Magic, Wilbon, and Simmons? Can you find three more unlikable people Disney? It's amazing how often ESPN misses huge in their assessments of what viewers want.

Bill writing "BERNARD KARMELL POLLARD" has become his new "6 for 24." Both are jokes that weren't really funny to begin with that eventually got run into the ground for about two years too long. - 6 for 24 never worked because Simmons always leaves out that Bryant had 18 boards to out rebound KG, Pierce, Perkins, and Rasheed "the Weed" Wallace combined. What did your Dad or those other losers we don't care about think of that Bill? Did you get any e-mails from House, or Moleman about the disgusting rebound totals of the Celtics in the 6 for 24 LOSS? Maybe your dogs Dooze or Roofie were affected? When will this clown get it? Simmons sucks. Great job as always. @BigCityJob

Bengoodfella said...

Aaron, I think you are right he is probably better off not writing anymore. I won't like it because it takes away from the material I can write here, but he again reprinted an old article for this week. He just doesn't have the time to write anymore and it shows.

And oh yeah, he's got a huge ego. It's no surprise he thinks he has written the most words ever. I do love "30 for 30" too though. It's a good series.

Big City, I always find there are a few questions pushed into Bill's mailbag. The one about the woman finding him attractive and the one about "Rounders" felt that way. He can't help but brag.

The thing about ESPN is they can miss in regard to what viewers want b/c there isn't a viable alternative at this point. So we deal with Berman, etc b/c ESPN is the only game in town...for now.

I always hated the "6 for 24" jokes. It's like scoring is the only way to get an MVP. Even if it were a funny joke at one point, it isn't anymore.

ivn said...

Let's say that decision cost them $10 million in premature Bradley free-agent money down the road [blah blah blah more dumb words]

so the guy who has openly campaigned for a front office job (albeit in a different sport) can't understand how an extra year of club control makes Bradley more valuable as a potential trade asset?

being a good general manager means making the best long-term decisions for your club and NOT caving into pressure from your fans or the local media.

I wonder if Bill knows how hollow and toothless his shots at ESPN are when he prattles on about making moves based on "relevance" and "generating excitement" and "making a splash." he's more like Skip Bayless than he realizes...and at least Bayless seems to revel in being a glorified carnival barker.

FJ said...

Ben, question - just clarify for me if you actually believe Bill comes up with his own mailbox questions? (He does admit sometimes when he does.) I'm only curious for the sake of curiosity, honestly. I live in the Boston area and there are enough idiot Simmons-clones out there that I actually do believe people write him this garbage (even if he edits them here or there).

I'm surprised he still bothers to write too, but the fact is, even in this modern age, there's still a place for text articles one can read at one's own pace (vs. podcasts which require more engagement and attention for minutes on end; the horror). He still writes columns because I'd have to find some sign that the toilet at work was used earlier that day by the disgusting people who leave printouts of his articles in the stall...I'm convinced of that much.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, I don't know enough about Bradley to say whether they should have kept him down another year or not, but the idea of "making a splash" and keeping fans interested, therefore having Bradley start the year in Boston seems fishy to me.

FJ, I think he comes up with most of them. I do believe there are a few he probably carefully edits a little bit. I am torn, because if he made up a question then no one would probably ever know, so I wouldn't put it past him. There are a lot of SimmonsClones out in the world though.

I used to print them out and read them. I guess people still do that. What a waste of paper. Just use your phone to read them.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Simmons is slowly easing his way out of writing but there may be a minimum number of articles in his ESPN contract.

Does anyone watch the NBA pre game show he is on? I was curious how the others treat Mr. I'm the Smartest Guy in the Room?

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, that's a good point. He did just sign a new contract though and he isn't even writing new material. I had thought maybe he is contractually obligated to write a certain amount of articles, but I don't think ESPN would consider reprinting an old column as part of this deal.

I think it comes on a half-hour or hour before the games on ABC/ESPN start. I don't watch pregame shows, but I feel like I have stopped watching somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour before the games start.

Snarf said...

Regarding a "column" minimum, I would guess that his contract stipulates something along the lines of "written content," whether that be in print, on espns main page or grant land. Thus, repackaged reprints may count. I feel like everything (tv, gaming, journalism, etc) is referred to as content these days; I'm guessing due to the blurred lines created by the interwebz.

I've recently wondered about espns love of Simmons and I wanted to get your take. Is it that most bill followers fall within that key young male advertising demo?

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, that could very well make sense. It's possible if a column was posted 5 years ago then it is considered "new content" possibly.

I think ESPN's love of Bill is for several reasons...

-He does have the demo that advertisers love. Plus, his readers are clearly lemmings, so it shouldn't be hard to get them to buy products.

-He's also been very successful with nearly everything he has done at ESPN. 30 for 30, Grantland, his columns, his podcasts. He's got the magic touch it seems.

-His columns get enormous pageviews and he is their most popular writer. He would get deferential treatment normally based just on this.

-He does have loyal readers. He can put out crap, which he has done, and still get pageviews. He is a reliable, well-known, and lucrative brand for ESPN.

JBsptfn said...

On the point someone had about the U.S. Hockey team, if anyone would have been found to be juicing, it wouldn't have been them, but the Russians. I think that they were the ones who started that with power lifters in the 50's.

The person who brought steroids into the NFL was a guy named Alvin Roy with the 1963 AFL Champion Chargers:

Bengoodfella said...

JB, that is probably true. If I found the 1980 US hockey team was juicing it probably wouldn't have a profound effect on me b/c I would assume the Russians were juicing too.

Ross L said...

I understand you don’t like Simmons these days, and my opinion clearly puts me in the minority here, but some of the unjust criticism and outright straw manning hurts this column more than it helps.
One example in the words o/u Email, neither the reader nor Simmons ever mention quality. It’s clear that all they care about in that discussion is quantity, yet in your response you accuse Simmons of mixing up quantity and quality. The question was over or under 2.5 million words printed, not over or under 2.5 million quality words. A simple comment even like the one made by Aaron D. seems more appropriate since it addresses what was actually said.

A second example of what I’m talking about is in the Email from the woman. I agree with you that the Email is useless, but saying he’s reminding everyone how popular he is with the ladies? That is a stretch. You would know better than I, but my admittedly quick Google search brought me no columns where he ever intimates that he is popular with the ladies. The comments on the subject that I saw only suggest the opposite was true in his formative years.

It clearly seems like the consensus that his quality has slipped. I haven’t read enough of his work to know that for myself, and I appreciate that you are willing to hold him accountable for his work. However, adherence to the principle of charity would make your columns more substantial. Once again this is clearly just my opinion.

Bengoodfella said...

Ross, I still appreciate your feedback even if you don't always agree with me. I'm not sure if I would consider the examples you gave as "hypocrisy" or not, but I understand what you are saying.

I get that Bill wasn't discussing quality, but what's the point of bragging about writing 2.5 million words if some of them are shitty? Anyone can write a lot, but whether the 2.5 million words are quality is what I believe he should be concerned about. We are talking about two different things. He is talking quantity, but I'm unimpressed but quantity and think he should care more about the quality of the words. I don't see how bragging about how much you write is impressive if the quality of that writing isn't the real goal.

I was simply saying he included the email from a woman to dispel the idea that only men read his columns. I just thought it was funny he included it and couldn't see the purpose. He has made vague mentions in his mailbag prior to this that only men read his columns. I don't know, it just weird to include that and I thought it was a reminder that he has women read his column and to remind us that ladies like him too.

I'm willing to argue, but I do appreciate you coming back and making your points known. Usually, I get "anon-bombed" (that's what I call it) and never hear back. I have read him for 13 years or so now and it just feels much more forced than it used to.

Again, I wouldn't consider any of your criticisms "hypocrisy" necessarily, but I don't mind you holding me accountable for my criticisms of others. If I can dish it, I can take it.

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