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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

'Slightly Awkward, A Little Dorky And A Little Cute In A Weird Way'; Our Ladies Rate Bill Simmons

Illustration for article titled Slightly Awkward, A Little Dorky And A Little Cute In A Weird Way; Our Ladies Rate Bill Simmons

Once upon a time, a site called The Black Table had a regular feature entitled Waxing Off, in which women gathered in an online roundtable to discuss issues of the day, and also to make fun of Will Leitch's shoes. And so we got to thinking: With so many great female sports bloggers out there, why not import the idea here? It's just crazy enough to work. So behold: The latest edition of Deadspin's Waxing Off. We found seven terrific female writers who were willing to pen short pieces on this week's topic: Bill Simmons. You can't swing a dead ferret without hitting someone who has an opinion on The Sports Guy, but all of his readers seem to be men, don't they? What do the ladies think of the Boston Jock Washer (not my term)? One would think that the fairer sex would get lost amidst all the Entourage and Karate Kid and, you know, The Sports Gal references. But the ladies are watching, Bill ... like high school girls keeping an eye on the campus hottie ... which, um, you probably never ... bad example, never mind. By the way, if you'd like to be part of the Waxing Off writing staff, email myself at, or Mr. Daulerio at Richards: Hey Bill, Who is the most over-rated basketball player of all time? Bill Simmons: "As an actor and a player: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His awkward, stilted delivery of "My name is Roger Murdoch. I'm the Co-Pilot" was painful. And Joey's dad had it right; he didn't work hard enough on defense or even run down the court, except when it mattered. And I am not being a Boston homer when I say the following: Ray Allen deserved an Oscar for his portrayal of Jesus. He really knew how to play himself well. And I called my Dad after catching "He Got Game," when it was simulcast on all Boston TV affiliates the other night after "Fever Pitch", and my Dad became morose, because he is sure there is no way the 2009 Celtics will repeat. So I took out all the jerseys in my closet (sort of like in "27 Dresses") and discovered some crazy coincidences similar to that Kennedy/Lincoln conspiracy stuff that supposedly destined both of them for assassination. This is why the Celtics win: Paul Pierce has the same number of letters in his name as Sam Cassell and Kobe Bryant. And there are no less than five Celtics players with ten letters in their names. And only three Lakers players with ten. And if you subtract three from five, you get two. Derek Fisher's number. And he has eleven letters in his name. As do I. It gets even more interesting! Do the math. I swear, I am not making this up. Take Sam Cassell's jersey number and subtract Luke Walton's number, you get 24. Kobe's number. Also the name of a TV show that's coming back in January. And to propel it full circle, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has the same number of letters in his name (if you count the hyphen) as Vladimir Radmonovic. Which means the Lakers will win because Vampires are popular right now. So my theory has been shot. Sort of like Lincoln and Kennedy." Really, I like Simmons. He wrote a seriously engaging article on Manny for The Magazine about a month ago. He's just pissed. And in the words of Joey's dad, maybe Bill is "not really trying…except during the playoffs." ————- Jess Mac: I don't like Bill Simmons because I'm from Boston. Seriously. (Although it is nice to have a Boston fan writing on a national forum about teams I actually care about). I like Simmons because in the game that is sportswriting, he is the color commentary (not colored, Lindsay Lohan). Call me crazy, but I would rather read a column peppered with references to Billy Zabka, Las Vegas and the Wire rather than a stat-laden analysis. Maybe this makes me less of a sports fan. Maybe it just means I watch too much TV. Anyways, Simmons bridges the gap between the Schwab-like statheads and casual sports fans – even if you don't agree with him, his columns are always an engaging, entertaining read. The pop culture/humor slant is very accessible, especially when I am hungover at work crushing Gatorade, reeking of whiskey and praying to God that my manager does not need to speak to or see me at any point Even if you don't agree with him, you can't deny that the guy is good at what he does. One does not develop a rabid fanbase by being bad at something (unless you're the "boom-goes-the-dynamite" kid). In his most recent mailbag, a reader tells Simmons he wants to have sex with his writing. Clearly this man needs to get help (and to get laid – maybe get help getting laid?) but that kind of obsessive and inappropriate flattering probably wouldn't happen to a writer that wasn't good enough to be involved in a major media outlet. I would ask Will Leitch to shed some light on the subject, but I think his hand is caught in a thong inside Rick's Cabaret. Speaking of which (Deadspin, not thongs – sorry), Simmons is part of the reason why something like it exists at all, whether all of you agreeable, non-combative and unironic commentors concede it or not. The man was essentially blogging before blogging became omnipresent, and transformed what he did while he was hungover between sleep and bartending into a lucrative and enviable career. He's like that friend we all inevitably have that loves to argue, has catchphrases and terms that are funny but get old sometimes, and invariably will not shut the fuck up, but we love him anyways. Yes he can be arrogant, but that's because he worked his way up into a job that any one of us would send someone a rat poisoned-filled cupcake for. Maybe I can send Caitlin Davis's boyfriend after him… — Jess Mac is from Boston and currently hungover at work crushing Gatorade, reeking of whiskey and praying to God that her manager does not need to speak to or see her at any point. ————- Meghan: Bill Simmons seems slightly awkward, a little dorky and a little cute in a weird way you can't really describe and therefore your friends make fun of you about it. He manages to be funny sometimes even though there are things about him, his super Boston homerism and his love of the NBA, that are overwhelming annoying. He seems exactly like the kind of guy I would have a huge crush on. Not really sure why, but he just doesn't do it for me. It's possible that he is not awkward or dorky enough for me. Maybe its that he seems like a reasonably nice guy, always a turn off. Or maybe it's the whole married with kids thing, not really my style. (There are few things more disgusting than babies.) Overall though, I have to say I like the guy. I think he'd be fun to hang out with and watch games or shoot the shit about your fantasy teams. And everybody likes to talk about their fantasy team, regardless if anyone else wants to hear about them. Honestly, I don't pay much attention to his stuff. I know he's all over the place and I read his column weekly during the NFL season, but during NBA season I usually just skim it and that's about the end of my Bill Simmons exposure. I admire his ability to make a living off of being a blogger and getting to write about sports all the time. He also, according to his column, gets to go to parties with lots of celebrities and get free cool stuff. So I'm a little jealous of that. I've also read the stuff on Deadspin lately and think ESPN is screwing with him and feel bad for him about it. I also feel bad that his wife always seems so bitter, it's probably because of the babies. But overall, it seems like his life is pretty sweet, and he seems pretty cool. So while Bill would go immediately into the friend zone, I wouldn't mind having him there. Hey Bill, if you want to talk about your fantasy team, let me know. — Meghan thinks homerism is fine in general, but prefers guys with blatant Baltimore homerism. She blogs about Baltimore sports at GirlsDon'tKnowSports. ————- Cari Gervin: Here's why I love Bill Simmons: He is a Red Sox fan. Yes, it may be lame and partisan on my part. But Simmons writes about the Sox with passion and humor, which, during those long summer months, becomes a welcome respite from the day-to-day coverage of the Boston Globe and Herald. Here's what I appreciate about Bill Simmons: He actually cares about his readers. As a journalist who has gotten her fair share of funny, angry and kooky letters, I know how easy it is to laugh at every reader that disagrees with you. I have used such letters as grist for columns, and I have forwarded them to friends. I'm sure Simmons has done the same, but he also answers hundreds of questions online on a regular basis. He takes stupid questions seriously, and for that, he is beloved. Many journalists forget to respect the readers that keep them in business; Simmons doesn't. Here's what makes me want to punch Bill Simmons: The Sports Gal. Look, she's your wife! Not column fodder! I am beyond sick of all the adolescent males trapped in grown-up bodies who act like their wives are the only reason they aren't still in college on the 20-year-plan. It's like if they admit that they wanted to grow up on their own, they would lose their coolness quotient. Seriously? Being grown up is cool. Just face up to the fact that you were ready to settle down — that's why you asked her to marry you, and that's why you have kids. She's doesn't keep you in check, you keep yourself in check. Here's what really makes me want to punch Bill Simmons: He does not edit anything. Simmons is funny and smart and has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. But he'd be even funnier if his pieces were shorter. This seems to be where his problems with ESPN lie — if he would just suck it up and take some cuts, I swear the resulting pieces would be better. Then maybe he'd get that Obama interview — and some awards. — Cari Gervin is a freelance writer in the South. She blogs about her misadventures in life, love and sports fandom at UnwelcomeReturn. Unlike Bill Simmons, she is not a fan of the Pats, the Celtics or the Bruins. ————- That's What She Said: Based on his background alone, I should hate Bill Simmons. After all, he dares to ridicule two things I hold dear: the Yankees and Rick Reilly. When Reilly joined, Simmons obviously wasn't thrilled. Through his backhanded compliments and snide remarks, he sounded like a jealous high school girl after the prettier, well endowed girl transferred to her school and started flirting with her boyfriend. That bitch! Reilly is a BAMF. He makes tons of money while writing an 800-word column once a week, gets to jump out of planes with the Golden Knights, play golf with Charles Barkley all while being one of the best sports writers alive. Simmons being such a hard core Red Sox fan is fitting. He IS the Red Sox (before they got all talented and started winning World Series titles again) and Reilly is the overpaid, all-star loaded Yankees. Last summer I went to my first Sox game in Boston. Despite being a Yankees faithful, I'm a sucker for sports nostalgia and always wanted to see a game at Fenway Park. I hate to admit it, but I had an incredible time. Not only did the Sox lose, but the people I met at Fenway were hilarious and surprisingly friendly. You know those nutty drunk guys who can yell louder than an opera singer and get the chants going? Yeah, I was sitting right in front of them. By the sixth inning my stomach was hurting from laughing so hard. Aside from going to Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium a few weeks later, the Sox game is hands down my favorite baseball experience. I admit I'll watch the Sox on TV, but only if the Yankees aren't on. That's how I feel when I read Bill Simmons. I get through the first few paragraphs of his column and think, "hey this guy is funny and makes interesting points," but then I remember who the author is. I don't want to like him, but I do. Sure he can write. But way. Too. Much. By the middle of his column I start feeling like it was assigned reading from my college biology class. The kind of reading that makes you think, "Hey 30 pages isn't so bad," but then you realize its nothing but text without those awesome three-page diagrams. Simmons is great, but definitely not for those with short attention spans, or apparently those who have never seen Entourage or The Karate Kid. Like my rule for watching the Red Sox, I'll read Simmons, but only if Reilly hasn't got anything new. — That's What She Said is an Auburn alum and local sports reporter. She thinks the BCS should stop wasting its time and make the SEC Championship the title game instead, even though seeing Big Ten teams get pwned is hilarious. ————- Nikki: I don't love Bill Simmons — nor do I hate him. Rather, I feel something far, far worse for him. Jealousy. The green-eyed monster (not to be confused with the Green Monster). I wouldn't mind being Bill Simmons. For a day. A week, maybe. Or even better, for the length of a writing contract. I mean, I'd want to keep my own body, thankyouverymuch, and definitely my own voice, too, but as for numerous other aspects of Simmons? Like the career-related ones? Yes, I want those for my own. Let me count the ways: 1. The bastard writes for ESPN. I write for a fledgling, self-run humor site. Guess who has more readers? 2. His baseball team has won the Fall Classic twice so far this decade. My team, the fabulous Phillies, has won it only once (so far). 3. He knows stuff — lots of stuff — about basketball. I'd like to know lots of stuff about some other sport that isn't baseball. It's a long few months until baseball starts back up; I need to find some sort of sports-related interest to fill the void. 4. Even though lots of people are sick of hearing him talk about basketball, they still read his column regularly anyway. (Reference #1 and my jealousy of his readership.) 5. He's friends with famous people, like Jimmy Kimmel. From my previous life in the radio industry, I've met lots of famous people. But am I friends with them? No. If I bumped into any famous person I met while in radio at a party, would they recognize me? No. Sigh. 6. Said famous people hire him to write for them. I'd give up pretty much every one of my designer handbags (even the Prada and the Pucci) if it meant having a writing gig and working for somebody like Jimmy Kimmel. 7. He's freakin' funny. Whether you dig his sense of humor or not, whether you think he's a gigantic douche or not, you've gotta admit the man's entertaining. Alas, I'm only entertaining after I've pumped myself full of Jolt mints and a couple Mountain Dew Amp drinks. 8. He's written a book, with another in the works. Which, aside from shacking up with some hot baseball player whose ass looks really nice in pinstripes, is kind of my dream. 9. Not everybody likes him, but everybody knows who the hell he is. Notoriety isn't necessarily a bad thing. So there you have it. I covet Simmons' accomplishments. I salivate over the amount of letters he features in his mailbag. I yearn for his writing gigs. I envy his celebrity friendships. I might have better grammar than he does, and I definitely look better in a skirt and stilettos than he ever would, but in terms of what he's actually done with his life so far? He's got me beat. — NIKKI is the snarky little so-and-so behind the humor website RED PEN, INC. A lifelong Phillies fan, she also talks baseball, cute pitchers, and pinstriped derrieres at THE BILF REPORT. ————- Dee Karl: Bill Simmons: The Sports Guy? Who? He's on Really? Well, I haven't had any dealings with this guy, nor have I ever read his work in the four years I've been blogging. I guess he doesn't write about Hockey much, if at all. So, I really don't think it would be fair of me to give my opinion on him or his work. Ask me about John Buccigross, I'll write you a thesis. Simmons; I tried reading a some of his stuff last night ... but to be honest ... I fell asleep. — Dee Karl, NY Islanders Blog Box, 7th Woman.


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