Last night, at the Riviera Cafe in New York City, Our Boy Bill Simmons launched his worldwide tour to promote the release of his first book, Now I Can Die In Peace. And we — Deadspin editor Will Leitch and "photographer" Lockhart Steele — were there, because the bar serves alcohol and had some Arizona Cardinals highlights playing on a corner television. (Gawker special correspondent Noelle Hancock came to pick up some dudes only to find that, in her words, "Sox games are the biggest twat-blockers of all time.")
It was a rollicking evening, to say the least, full of endless lines, weird people dressed in Incredible Hulk outfits and, inevitably, Pop Culture Guru Chuck Klosterman, who showed up at the end of the night to nuzzle and discuss the impotence of blogs. Come with us, after the jump, to the first ever edition of the Deadspin Party Crash.
Whatever your thoughts on Simmons, one thing was clear from Tuesday's night's festivities: On the East Coast, anyway, this book is going to be huge. We arrived at 5:45, 45 minutes before the signing was supposed to start, and the line was already wrapped around the bar (which was entirely unequipped to handle that many people, by the way). We stood in line for nearly an hour, and we were the lucky ones; we estimated nearly 600 people there (and that's probably conservative), and Simmons, to his credit, stayed and signed for nearly three hours. By the end of the night, he was beginning to resemble Don Zimmer.
The story must start with a line, however.
This is early in the night, when the khaki-ed masses still were harboring illusions that they'd end up sitting and having beers and arguing about Dale Sveum with Bill all night. This is the highest number of straight men ever seen in one place in NYC's West Village, by the way.
After waiting for our hour-and-a-half, we approached Bill's table. We stopped to bust this dude who was trying to steal from the tithing tray, though. We're good citizens like that.
Success! We handed our book — stolen — to Bill and introduced ourselves as Deadspin, at which time he leapt out a window and started streaking naked down Varick Street, screaming about the second coming. Best part about that? "The OC" isn't even on until Thursday.
After this photo was taken, Deadspin editor Will Leitch ran out on his wedding, inspiring a nationwide search. "I was running away from myself," says Leitch.
At this point, the line stayed still for about an hour.
Well, crap, now we're going to have to go back to writing about A-Rod being a swinger.
Well, now our book was signed, we'd all traded heterosexual man hugs and ass grabs, and we were all done. What more could happen at this point? Just a long line of people who, tragically, looked like chubby Jimmy Fallons waiting to get their books signed. And then the real fun began: Bill's Bosom Buddy Chuck Klosterman showed up!
He seemed bewildered by the infinite line and went forth to try to find Bill.
This is Klosterman trying to get past the velvet rope of ESPN Books executive editor Michael Solomon. "No, you don't understand ... we discussed Can't Buy Me Love just yesterday."
Finally Chuck made it in and sat next to Bill as he signed book after book after book. The woman next to him is not The Sports Gal; we asked. She looked kind of horrified when we asked, actually.
We started to feel kind of bad for Chuck, sitting there all by himself, author of three books, with none of his own to sign. So we ran down the street to Barnes and Noble and bought one. Least we could do.
And God bless him, he signed it. He wrote "This Is Charity!" in our book, which was either a rip or a line from a Dokken song that we didn't remember.
(Update: We've been informed that we weren't the first people to have Klosterman sign their book; two people before us actually happened to have copies of Klosterman books WITH THEM as they went through the line. We find this both amazing and terrifying.)
The night started getting a little hazy. Apparently this guy dressed up like a doctor — and his buddy dressed up as The Incredible Hulk — so Bill would take a picture of them and put it on his site, or something similarly nonsensical. But ESPN had sold out all their books and weren't letting anyone in to talk to Bill unless they had a book. So he asked for ours. And we said yes, because, well, as we said, things were getting a little hazy at this point.
By now, Bill had signed so many books for so many hours, he probably still thinks he was hallucinating. But hey, weird dressed-up-as-doctor-guy, you made our site anyway. That's something.
And then all the books were gone, and it was time to rope off the Simmons/Klosterman/Solomon/Not-Sports-Gal quartet. Fortunately, there was an extremely important, extremely close Red Sox game playing in the bar, so Bill — the Boston Sports Guy — could get back to the business of rooting on the Sox.
Or discussing The Karate Kid, whatever.
And then we all went home and watched "Justice League." Thanks, Bill! Good times!