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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grantland: A Nervous Exchange of Red Sox E-mails

No time to wade through this Bill Simmons/Michael Schur mess…not with a slice of “Moonmen On The Moon, Man” cake waiting!

Schur: I’m going glass-half-full again: The team would have a great offense if I hit ninth. Ellsbury-Pedroia-Youkilis-Gonzalez-Ortiz-Salty-Crawford-Sweeney/Ross-Iglesias is a great lineup, and gets greater if Crawford comes anywhere close to his 2008-10 averages. Also, the team would have a very, very good defense if you played short. Those same eight position players feature above-average defense at basically every position, so they can afford to swap Aviles in for a little extra offense if they need to.

Simmons: Man, I hope you’re right. Having a crappy shortstop is like having a crappy goalie, point guard, field goal kicker or closer. It just haunts you day after day after day.

Schur: Well, remember, Pokey Reese played 96 games in 2004, sported a 46 OPS+, and the team won the World Series. It’s a sign of how spoiled we are that a roughly league-average SS hitting ninth makes everyone freak out. (Me included.) Scutaro was a solid player, but he’s 36. Baseball Prospectus has him as being worth about a win and a half next year, and there’s a decent chance Aviles/Iglesias can match that.

Simmons: Believe me, I’m fine with Iglesias hitting .205 and being a vacuum at short. I really am. (I love when we have vacuums at short. I still miss Alex Gonzalez.) But you’re much more optimistic about Crawford’s 2012 potential than I am. The Ortiz/Crawford combo scares the daylights out of me. We’re playing with house money with Ortiz at this point — for all we know, he might be older than us.

Schur: Ortiz? Come on. He doesn’t look a day over 48.

Repoz Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:45 AM | 90 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. Guapo Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4090051)
This is maybe my biggest fear heading into the season, next to Crawford having a nervous breakdown like Luke Wilson at Wimbledon in The Royal Tenenbaums.


This is perhaps the most Grantlandish sentence ever written. (I still chuckled.)
   2. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4090067)
The chances of Iglesias even hitting .205 were...remote. He barely hit that in Pawtucket last year. Kid simply isn't ready.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4090088)
Wilson's meltdown is probably my favorite scene in that movie.

"He's taken off his shoes and one of his socks....I actually think he's crying."
   4. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4090097)
Wilson's meltdown is probably my favorite scene in that movie.

Yeah, either that or Danny Glover falling into the archeology dig.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4090116)
I read a lot of the article, and I don’t understand all the weird revisionism about the championship teams of last decade. Simmons seems to imply that those successes were dependent on homegrown talent and bargain pickups and didn’t involve acquiring expensive veterans; and then Theo changed his mentality and started spending money which led to the disappointments in 2010 and 2011. This ignores the acquisitions of Schilling, Foulke, Lowell, and Drew etc and the fact that the current core is more homegrown than that of 2004 (and probably 2007). He mixes in a complaint about them not spending enough in the midst of complaining about them spending too much, seemingly oblivious to the contradiction. Also strangely oblivious was the implication that having a bad SS is an insurmountable weakness, as if he didn’t notice the Sox shuffling about 15 guys through the position in the past 10 years; although Schur does call him on this.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4090136)
I read a lot of the article, and I don’t understand all the weird revisionism about the championship teams of last decade. Simmons seems to imply that those successes were dependent on homegrown talent and bargain pickups and didn’t involve acquiring expensive veterans; and then Theo changed his mentality and started spending money which led to the disappointments in 2010 and 2011. This ignores the acquisitions of Schilling, Foulke, Lowell, and Drew etc and the fact that the current core is more homegrown than that of 2004 (and probably 2007). He mixes in a complaint about them not spending enough in the midst of complaining about them spending too much, seemingly oblivious to the contradiction. Also strangely oblivious was the implication that having a bad SS is an insurmountable weakness, as if he didn’t notice the Sox shuffling about 15 guys through the position in the past 10 years; although Schur does call him on this.


I read the whole thing and I think all the good and bad about Bill Simmons shine through. As Nate notes he says a lot of things that are not terribly accurate so it is hard to take him too seriously. On the other hand, I think Simmons accurately captures the perception and feeling of the great majority of Red Sox fans at this point in time. I can see most my friends/family reading this exchange and saying "yeah, that Bill Simmons really gets it. I agree with him 100%."
   7. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4090140)
I think Schur had the best line:

The Yankees somehow got like 800 innings of Cy Young-level pitching out of Bartolo Colon — who was 38 years old, perfectly cube-shaped, and out of baseball entirely when they signed him
   8. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4090178)
There is no good about Bill Simmons when it comes to baseball. He knows nothing about the sport.
   9. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4090179)
Wilson's meltdown is probably my favorite scene in that movie.


My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Chas says to Royal, "It's been a rough year, dad," and his voice breaks. This is Anderson's genius, I think. He has the ability to turn what looks like a caricature into a character with emotional depth on the turn of a phrase or an action. He did it in Bottle Rocket with Dignan. As he's walking into the prison he looks back at his friends. He has just shown unconcern and bravado with them, talking about having "CRS disease." But when he looks back, it's the look of a child who knows he has done something bad and is unable to bear the punishment he knows is coming.

Of course, there are many quotable lines from Royal Tenenbaums, and around our house they can be heard almost daily:

"Pagoda, where's my javelina?" [I say this nearly every day when I'm looking for something.]

"Grazie mille." Just said that last night to my wife.

This whole exchange (we say this more than we should):

"The black man ask her to marry him."
"No ####. What did she say."
"She tink about it."




   10. Textbook Editor Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4090227)
"Did you just call me Coltrane?" is (for me) the funniest line in the film.

I need to re-watch Bottle Rocket. Haven't seen it since it originally came out on video.
   11. villageidiom Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4090240)
Schur: I think the whole front office — or at least a good chunk of it — was obsessed with Crawford. I blame Varitek and Mirabelli, because every time the Sox played the Rays, Crawford would single, steal second, steal third, steal home, then come out of the dugout and steal first, then steal second and third on one pitch, then reverse-steal second again just so he could steal third and home on the following pitch.
This is not accurate. But it sure feels accurate.
   12. Fourth True Outcome Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4090243)
This is not accurate. But it sure feels accurate.


I know Schur said that the line that prompted this, but this seems like a decent summation of Bill Simmons' appeal to Sox fans. He's often talking completely out of his ass, but he's a good bellwether for the emotional state of a lot of (not necessarily moronic but not necessarily informed) Red Sox fans.
   13. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4090250)
I've read a lot of Simmons and I agree with [8]. Simmons is among the most knowledgeable people you'll find about basketball. He's not as good with the NFL, but still pretty solid. Baseball is a train wreck for him, though.
   14. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4090255)

There is no good about Bill Simmons when it comes to baseball. He knows nothing about the sport.


Ehh... Simmons knows plenty more about baseball than a fair share of other commentators. His problems are:

a) He's become stat saavy and I don't think he likes it. He's mentioned that it detracts from his basic enjoyment of the game (things like xFIP take the fun out!) On a related note, I think the Steroid Era also impacted his view of baseball by removing some of the mystique. His eyes are wide open to doping across sports, but for some reason (and I think this is the true of alot of people) he held baseball to a higher standard.

b) You can tell that he's a little out of love with the Red Sox, and that impacts his entire view of the league. The same has happened to some extent with the Celtics, but he's got the Clippers to keep him excited. If Simmons would just fall for, say, the Angels (Trout + Bourjos are young, unestablished, ultra-exciting players) then I think he'd become more passionate about baseball. Right now, he's mostly motivated by fantasy, and that's a different animal than following a team in the standings. It shows.

but based on the Red Sox fans I know, 6/Jose nails it:

Simmons accurately captures the perception and feeling of the great majority of Red Sox fans at this point in time. I can see most my friends/family reading this exchange and saying "yeah, that Bill Simmons really gets it. I agree with him 100%."


EDIT: This is to say, amongst the Red Sox fans I know in the greater NYC area, the 04/07 honeymoon is over and the Red Sox are getting a little less cute to their fanbase.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4090270)
Iglesias at short in 2012 is such an obviously terrible idea that I can't believe anyone's seriously considering it.
   16. Sean Forman Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4090293)
I read a lot of the article, and I don’t understand all the weird revisionism about the championship teams of last decade. Simmons seems to imply that those successes were dependent on homegrown talent and bargain pickups and didn’t involve acquiring expensive veterans; and then Theo changed his mentality and started spending money which led to the disappointments in 2010 and 2011.


Abe Alvarez was the only pitcher on their staff that was acquired by the draft. You have to get down to Nixon, Nomar and Youk before you hit a hitter who they drafted.
   17. Darren Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4090305)
Is it really such a great (or even worthwhile) feat to capture the feelings of Joe Fan? So Simmons is capable of having a completely broad take on the Sox, buy into stereotypes and biases, and express anger. And on top of all that, he can use references from movies and quips from his "buddy" so-and-so. And oh boy oh boy, I get to eavesdrop on the emails between him and another Grantland writer. What a treat for me, the reader!
   18. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4090308)
Iglesias at short in 2012 is such an obviously terrible idea that I can't believe anyone's seriously considering it.


I'm kind of shocked the idea is getting as much discussion as it is. I chaulk it up to 1) he's awesome to watch in the field, (not so much at the plate) 2) Aviles and Punto are highly uninspiring, and 3) media outlets need something to talk about.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4090311)
I'm kind of shocked the idea is getting as much discussion as it is. I chaulk it up to 1) he's awesome to watch in the field, (not so much at the plate) 2) Aviles and Punto are highly uninspiring, and 3) media outlets need something to talk about.


I think the biggest reason it was talked about was the trading away of Scutaro and Lowrie.
   20. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4090315)
I was at a movie a few weeks ago with some buddies of mine, and one of their sons, who is 15. The preview for Anderson's new movie (Moonrise Kingdom) was on, and it showed a back and forth scene of the two child characters communicating by letter, something like:

Dear Sally,

Are you going to summer camp this year?

Billy


Dear Billy,

Yes, I am going to camp. I'm going to be there the first week of August.
Are you going?

Sally


Dear Sally,

Yes, I will be at camp the same week. Meet me behind the big
tree after lunch on the first day.

Billy

Dear Billy,

OK, I will see you behind the big tree.

Sally



So, I leaned over and said to the 15-year old, as he sat texting on his phone "That's what we actually used to have to do". Hard to believe how fast things have changed.

   21. Bob Evans Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4090318)
So, I leaned over and said to the 15-year old, as he sat texting on his phone "That's what we actually used to have to do".

Back in my day, we scratched it on a penny and waited for it to circulate to the intended.
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4090321)
Is it really such a great (or even worthwhile) feat to capture the feelings of Joe Fan?


I don't know about great but Bill Simmons has made a hell of a lot of money doing this so it's worthwhile in that respect.


Iglesias at short in 2012 is such an obviously terrible idea that I can't believe anyone's seriously considering it.


I don't see it being that obviously terrible. As ellsbury says the alternatives are not exactly dazzling so the bar is pretty low. If his glove is as good as it's supposed to be then the bar for him being a positive player is probably about a 60-65 OPS+. There are all sorts of reasons to think he can't reach even that minimum standard but there is an equally real chance that the shortstop on the 2012 Red Sox capable of creating the most value is Jose Iglesias.
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4090331)
Bill Simmons is like one of those British soccer commentators who say a team like Newcastle used "brilliant scouting" to find "a diamond in the rough" by signing someone who scored 50 goals in the last two years in the French league. Simmons probably didn't know who Kevin Millar or Mark Bellhorn were before they joined the Red Sox, therefore they're basically homegrown players because the Red Sox scouts and/or stat guys picked them from obscurity.
   24. Deacon Blues Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4090332)
If Simmons wrote columns that were designed to appeal to the demographic on this site, he would still be the boston sports guy and, like us, he probably be living in his parents basement. Fortunately for him (and his kids) he chose another path, and his career rise is--regardless of your opinion of his work--simply extraordinary. He interviewed Obama and Magic Johnson in the same month, during which a documentary was made about the latter under a format Simmons himself created. I hate when he's a shameless Boston homer (though at least he admits it, something that not everyone on this site can say), but kudos to him.
   25. cmd600 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4090340)
17 hits the nail on the head. I just . . . don't get it. Does Joe Fan really just want some writer to say everything Joe is already feeling (and normally about a highly localized part of each sport)? That's the biggest sportswriter in the game today?

The only time Simmons doesn't write something that a few literate guys at the bar couldn't do is when he's bragging about how he's friends with Jimmy Kimmel, describing exact details of 80s movies, or showing off just how thin-skinned he is. I get the appeal, but only to a small portion of the population - sterotypical Bostonians - say the Ward family from The Fighter. Otherwise, all I can say is really? I mean, really, people, this is what you want?
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 27, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4090347)
Simmons probably didn't know who Kevin Millar or Mark Bellhorn were before they joined the Red Sox, therefore they're basically homegrown players because the Red Sox scouts and/or stat guys picked them from obscurity.
Kevin Millar was sold to NPB by the Marlins, Mark Bellhorn was buried by the Cubs and released after being sent to AAA. Neither of them were homegrown, but both were very much bargain, undervalued players that Theo was clever to snatch up. Anyone in baseball could have had those guys for under $5M ($1M in the case of Bellhorn).
   27. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4090360)
I mean, really, people, this is what you want?


Have you not heard of the Kardashians? Paris Hilton? Hell, Entertainment Tonight?
   28. Deacon Blues Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4090362)
The only time Simmons doesn't write something that a few literate guys at the bar couldn't do is when he's bragging about how he's friends with Jimmy Kimmel, describing exact details of 80s movies, or showing off just how thin-skinned he is. I get the appeal, but only to a small portion of the population - sterotypical Bostonians - say the Ward family from The Fighter. Otherwise, all I can say is really? I mean, really, people, this is what you want?

Couldn't disagree with this more. Virtually every single one of my college friends still reads Simmons. They are not all sabr-inclined inclined (and it's certainly not for lack of intelligence or ability to grasp the concepts), but they are smart, passionate fans nonetheless. I think it's odd how much sports writer hatred there is on this site. It borders on a weird form of animal farm-esque group think where only certain ideas can be discussed without ridicule. Selfishly, I wish we discussed the ideas more instead of ridiculing the source. There was plenty of stuff that could've been talked about here. Projections for Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey staying healthy, Daniel Bard's usage to name a few. I'm just disappointed we chose to spend a lot of our time bemoaning--with at least a tiny whiff of jealousy--the success of a sports writer whose knowledge of baseball isn't up to the standards of this site.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4090364)
) He's become stat saavy and I don't think he likes it. He's mentioned that it detracts from his basic enjoyment of the game (things like xFIP take the fun out!)


I've heard that a lot(not just about Simmons, but other stat guys, and anti-stat guys) and I think it's hogwash. Not that I think it's hogwash that it might have took the fun out of it for Simmons. I think it's hogwash in that it shouldn't take the fun out of it. Those are evaluation tools, and should never even enter a fans mind during a game. If you like the game going into learning about stats, there is no reason for stats to take the fun out of the game. Baseball was built on stats, and for 100 years or longer it never took the fun out of the game, just because the better tools are getting recognized shouldn't have any bearing on that.


The game is fun to watch, it's fun to second guess, it's fun to enjoy the hot stove league. It's just fun 24/7/365. Before getting stat savvy a fan would second guess a manager for intentionally walking or not walking someone. Guess what, with the stats to back you up, you still do the same thing.
   30. Textbook Editor Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4090367)
I miss Mark Bellhorn.

I mean, I'd rather have Pedroia every day of the week at 2B, for sure... I just miss everything Bellhorn represented for that era of the Red Sox.
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4090369)
Does Joe Fan really just want some writer to say everything Joe is already feeling (and normally about a highly localized part of each sport)? That's the biggest sportswriter in the game today?


Apparently.

I don't think Simmons is "the biggest sportswriter in the game today" but he is obviously immensely popular. You may not like him but it's pretty clear he is appealing to an awful lot of people beyond just the groups you list.
   32. JJ1986 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4090372)
At least Simmons wasn't the one who wrote this:

Schur: First of all, I've been a fan of Matthew Berry ever since Fools Rush In.


All the other Grantland writers who just copy his style are 1000x worse.
   33. cmd600 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4090373)
Have you not heard of the Kardashians? Paris Hilton? Hell, Entertainment Tonight?


I see those differently though. Those are some fantasy lifestyles that Joe and Jane will never get to live. And look, some funny ****, that never could have been pre-planned, happens to them along the way. But they overcome, or better yet, have a nervous breakdown. Everyone loves a good train crash anyway. No one reads Simmons because they're secretly hoping that his latent racism shows up while talking to Obama.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4090382)
I think it's odd how much sports writer hatred there is on this site.


...followed by people inflating the prestige and power of those same sportswriters by elevating the importance of their awards and HOF voting.

   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4090387)
Does Joe Fan really just want some writer to say everything Joe is already feeling (and normally about a highly localized part of each sport)? That's the biggest sportswriter in the game today?


Well the favorite writers on this site tend to be guys that pretty much sum up our feelings, right? We all tend to like writers we agree with.

I'll give Simmons credit, I think he does challenge his readers now and again. But his role is really more entertainment than analysis. I don't really get why his columns always seem to generate such backlash here. Its clear Simmons doesn't take himself that seriously, why do some BTFers?
   36. cmd600 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4090388)
Couldn't disagree with this more. Virtually every single one of my college friends still reads Simmons. They are not all sabr-inclined inclined (and it's certainly not for lack of intelligence or ability to grasp the concepts), but they are smart, passionate fans nonetheless. I'm just disappointed we chose to spend a lot of our time bemoaning--with at least a tiny whiff of jealousy--the success of a sports writer whose knowledge of baseball isn't up to the standards of this site


I'm not saying you need to be sabr-inclined, just that you would want to challenge your boundaries, at least a little. (EDIT: Royals - maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not seeing where he challenges his readers. And, maybe it's just me then, but I don't like to read the writer who is going to tell me what I already knew or describe how I already feel.) Simmons caters to the guy who's right, because, well, he just knows that he is (Hey! recent college graduates fit in here!) And I'm not bemoaning his success, I'm just saying I don't get it. And jealous? Yeah, I'll admit that I'd like to make as much as he does, supposedly on the low end of the seven figure range, just to make a podcast with my buddies, email Schur a few times, and call it a week. But I don't see how that invalidates my criticism or confusion.
   37. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4090389)
   38. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4090400)
I've heard that a lot(not just about Simmons, but other stat guys, and anti-stat guys) and I think it's hogwash. Not that I think it's hogwash that it might have took the fun out of it for Simmons. I think it's hogwash in that it shouldn't take the fun out of it. Those are evaluation tools, and should never even enter a fans mind during a game. If you like the game going into learning about stats, there is no reason for stats to take the fun out of the game. Baseball was built on stats, and for 100 years or longer it never took the fun out of the game, just because the better tools are getting recognized shouldn't have any bearing on that.


I believe Simmons has acknowledged that the stats can refute his desired narrative, so he prefers to ignore them, as he is a big 'intangibles' guy. He does recognize their importance in understanding the game, they just don't fit with his style. I will take that attitude from a writer any day as opposed to the combative pieces that come out bashing advanced stats while the writer happily spews 'old-school' stats all day long.

Simmons writing may be full of schtick (he does come up with fantastic articles now and then) but he does not resort to hit pieces or tear-down articles. He may hate the Yankees and bash them whenever he can or get frustrated with latest Celtics trade but you can tell the respect is there. Unlike certain other writers who call players complete idiots for having the audacity to injure themselves.
   39. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4090402)
Is it really such a great (or even worthwhile) feat to capture the feelings of Joe Fan? So Simmons is capable of having a completely broad take on the Sox, buy into stereotypes and biases, and express anger.


Well, yes. I derive an inordinate amount of pleasure seeing Red Sox fans tearing their hair out about what is, at its core, a remarkably successful team over the last 10 years. I spent most of 2004 reading SoSH and chuckling at the constant sturm and drang over the team, which did not let up for one instant up to the World Series. Every little thing was a complete and total disaster.

Simmons gives me that pure unalloyed schadenfreude, pithily phrased and tied up in a nice package. Delicious.
   40. Darren Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4090404)
I think you've misread me. I am not doubting that he's been very successful. I'm sharing my opinion of his style in general, the content of his work or lack thereof, and the assumption that we as readers should be interested in reading an email exchange. That last one is really the topper for me. They can't even be bothered to work on a piece in some format, just send some emails back and forth and then copy and paste so that everyone can see how brilliant and witty you are. The insights aren't interesting to me and the wittiness is kind of stale.


   41. Deacon Blues Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4090412)
And, maybe it's just me then, but I don't like to read the writer who is going to tell me what I already knew or describe how I already feel.) Simmons caters to the guy who's right, because, well, he just knows that he is (Hey! recent college graduates fit in here!)

That's the thing though. I feel like the writers who escape the wrath of this site are really the ones who echo what we already believe. Any writer who is not a disciple of this way of thinking gets ridiculed for these shortcomings rather than finding something worthwhile to discuss from the article.

And I'm not bemoaning his success, I'm just saying I don't get it. And jealous? Yeah, I'll admit that I'd like to make as much as he does, supposedly on the low end of the seven figure range, just to make a podcast with my buddies, email Schur a few times, and call it a week. But I don't see how that invalidates my criticism or confusion."

I think you're not giving him enough credit. It's clear he puts a lot of time to these "email exchanges". His podcasts are carefully researched (you can tell by the questions he asks) and I thought his 30-for-30 was incredibly well conceived and in many cases, well executed. Some of his heavier NBA columns bore me (just not that huge a fan), but all-in-all, I find him to be smart, self-aware, and not a condescending curmudgeon or a self-important ass. I think that's basically a victory given what's out there.



   42. Walt Davis Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4090424)
Not a fan of Simmons but ...

It's not that he just channels Joe Fan but that he does so with some "style" that makes it entertaining for some. Joe Fan is saying "Crawford sucks", Simmons is saying "Crawford couldn't score with Lindsay Lohan on a crack binge." See Simmons is funny. :-)

Seriously, Dave Barry doesn't say anything anybody doesn't already know, reduces life to simple-isms and re-runs the same schtick week after week ... and it works for a lot people. Simmons is just a Dave Barry of sports.

As to a long email exchange -- it's with Schur, a "major celebrity" for a certain crowd.

In short, Simmons and Schur's target audience is the folks who think it's cool to memorize lines from Wes Anderson films but are actually just Joe Fans when it comes to baseball. It's preciously ironic or ironically precious or something.

Clearly true cool is listening to Henry Threadgill and being well above it all when it comes to writers like Simmons. :-)
   43. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4090425)
I don't see it being that obviously terrible. As ellsbury says the alternatives are not exactly dazzling so the bar is pretty low. If his glove is as good as it's supposed to be then the bar for him being a positive player is probably about a 60-65 OPS+.


That's an incredibly optimistic valuation of his defense, and even if it pans out, we're still talking about a guy who put up a .235/.285/.269 batting line last year at AAA. He has no component offensive skills on which to build.

There are all sorts of reasons to think he can't reach even that minimum standard but there is an equally real chance that the shortstop on the 2012 Red Sox capable of creating the most value is Jose Iglesias.


The Red Sox don't need a high-upside shortstop. They need a low-variance one, to minimize the chance of him sucking badly enough to blow up their season.
   44. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4090434)
but he does not resort to hit pieces or tear-down articles


He once wrote a piece seriously discussing whether Roger Clemens is the anti-Christ.

For that matter, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Patrick Ewing and a thousand other indisputably great athletes would disagree.

Simmons' hit pieces aren't as crude as what you'll see out of Shaugnessey, Pearlman, Whitlock or Mariotti. There's a lot of long-distance psychoanalysis, a lot of sentences like, "Anyone who watches the [team] play with [player he hates] can see how much they hate him." But one of my main issues with Simmons has been the extent to which he just doesn't seem to like athletes. There just seems to be no joy at the human greatness of sports. I struggle to see how someone can write about Dwight Howard and never convey any sense of wonder, can utterly fail to chronicle for the reader the magnitude of what Howard can do on the court. That's of less interest to Simmons than a long, rambling argument that Howard's nice-guy persona is just an excuse to avoid taking the "alpha dog" role on a contender.
   45. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4090438)
But one of my main issues with Simmons has been the extent to which he just doesn't seem to like athletes. There just seems to be no joy at the human greatness of sports.


Really? I always thought Simmons was one of the few writers who did have that joy at sports. I don't read him much anymore so maybe that has changed.
   46. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4090442)

He once wrote a piece seriously discussing whether Roger Clemens is the anti-Christ.


Oh, please. He also coined the phrase "sports hate".

"If you're not familiar with the term, "sports hate" is an underrated part of fandom. Everyone has guys they don't like, and more importantly, guys they enjoy not liking. The reasons are unique to us. There doesn't have to be anything rational about it. Sports hate can be triggered by one incident, one slight, one game gone wrong, anything. "
   47. Deacon Blues Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4090443)
But one of my main issues with Simmons has been the extent to which he just doesn't seem to like athletes.

Totally disagree.
   48. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4090449)
I don't see it being that obviously terrible. As ellsbury says the alternatives are not exactly dazzling so the bar is pretty low. If his glove is as good as it's supposed to be then the bar for him being a positive player is probably about a 60-65 OPS+.


That's an incredibly optimistic valuation of his defense, and even if it pans out, we're still talking about a guy who put up a .235/.285/.269 batting line last year at AAA. He has no component offensive skills on which to build.

I don't think so. All off-season I've been using Jack Wilson as my baseline. The last two years for Wilson (according to BBRef) have been;

2010 - .249/.282/.316 - 68 OPS+ - 1.3 WAR (0.4 oWAR/0.9dWAR)

2011 - .243/.274/.285 - 59 OPS+ - 0.9 WAR (0.5 oWAR/0.4dWAR)

I think that's a reasonable comp. No bat, above average glove, not any base stealing credit to speak of. I don't feel like that's an outrageous forecast of Iglesias' defense.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4090460)

For that matter, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Patrick Ewing and a thousand other indisputably great athletes would disagree.


Wilt Chamberlain is #1.


But one of my main issues with Simmons has been the extent to which he just doesn't seem to like athletes.


Couldn't be more wrong. He's the anti-CHB. Simmons LOVES sports and LOVES athletes, and it comes through in his writing. Does this mean he loves all athletes? No. But we have our fair share of whipping boys on this site too, and I don't think it means we hate baseball.
   50. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4090465)
There are different degrees of "no bat". That's a plausible raw batting line for Iglesias, but Wilson was dealing with Safeco, while Iglesias will be doing it in Fenway, which is a whole 'nother ball of wax. (And of course, by Fangraphs numbers, Wilson was worth a total of -0.1 WAR in both years combined.)

I think the appropriate comparison here is actually Tony Pena, Jr. circa 2008. Though even that undersells it a bit - Pena was a much better hitter at AAA in 2006 than Iglesias was last year.
   51. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4090476)
Yeah, I'm focused on the OPS+ rather than the slash lines. I agree with you that it is an open question that he can reach Wilson-levels of "accomplishment" with the bat. My point is that the bar is extremely low. Add in the unimpressive nature of the current shortstops and I don't think it's ridiculous to at least consider Iglesias at short though I agree with the move to send him to Pawtucket.
   52. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4090491)
CFBF - Here's a paragraph Simmons wrote recently on Bryant:

Look, he will never be Jordan. I was there for both. It's not close. But the way Kobe carries himself — at least this season — is starting to feel a little Jordan-esque, especially when you remember that Jordan's greatest feat ever was playing 310 out of 310 games (including playoffs) in a 31-month stretch from November '95 through June '98 (an insanely durable accomplishment that only Kobe could consider pulling off). You know what really impressed me after Kobe's buzzer-beater in Detroit this week? He didn't react even a little. Just walked back to his bench like he knew it was going in. That's the final stage of playing basketball: We watched Bird and Magic get there, and Jordan, and now Kobe. Shaking off a made buzzer-beater? That's when you know you're great. We're watching one of the best basketball careers of all time. Maybe you wouldn't have wanted to play with Kobe Bryant, but you'll always remember him.


Yeah, he tosses in the dig at the end (and don't ignore the fact that the exact same thing can be said about Jordan), but how is this anything other than respectful to Bryant?
   53. Perry Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4090495)
He once wrote a piece seriously discussing whether Roger Clemens is the anti-Christ.


No, he once wrote a piece playfully discussing whether Clemens was the anti-Christ. And it was funny and entertaining (and informative, to someone like me who doesn't follow the Red Sox) as hell.
   54. Darren Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4090510)
But it, like many of his other pieces, was a hit piece/tear-down piece, and many of his other articles were too. He makes broad assumptions about the motivations of players, does some "you just know that's how it is, like my buddy Lomez said..." hocus pocus, and then pontificates about the players' character. You may like Simmons, but the idea that he doesn't do hit pieces is not very accurate.
   55. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4090513)
I thought everyone was generally agreed that Clemens was an #######. A great player, yes, but an #######.
   56. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4090530)
A great player, yes, but an #######.


I don't think he's an #######, Roger, I just think he's kind of a son of a #####.
   57. cmd600 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4090531)
That's the thing though. I feel like the writers who escape the wrath of this site are really the ones who echo what we already believe. Any writer who is not a disciple of this way of thinking gets ridiculed for these shortcomings rather than finding something worthwhile to discuss from the article.

I think you're not giving him enough credit. It's clear he puts a lot of time to these "email exchanges". His podcasts are carefully researched (you can tell by the questions he asks) and I thought his 30-for-30 was incredibly well conceived and in many cases, well executed. Some of his heavier NBA columns bore me (just not that huge a fan), but all-in-all, I find him to be smart, self-aware, and not a condescending curmudgeon or a self-important ass. I think that's basically a victory given what's out there.


To me, it seems like the writers who face the wrath of the site are the ones who seem to go out of their way to bait the sabr-crowd. Yeah, you'll take a few shots if you only use batting average or wins to judge an individual player's value, but you don't have to be a disciple to say something that gets positive feedback here. And I think a better example can be seen by using the sabr-crowd. Bill James is still challenging what we think is correct. Some writers at fangraphs tell us that the average team is paying $4.5 million for 1 fWAR and thus Joe 2.0 WAR's new $7 million/year contract is a good deal. There's a difference.

And I don't see a lot of work done on the email exchanges. Something pops in his head, and here's the new road we're going to go down. I'll admit to listening to few of his podcasts, but I don't see the work you do. Yes, he researches (just look at his book) but I don't think he gets anything that most writers couldn't get out of the same interactions. Also, he's just so awful to listen to. And, he may be smart, but what comes out is the lowest form of analysis and sounds like sports talk radio. Like 17 said. And no, he's not Mariotti, but his thin-skinnedness sure comes off as a self-important ass to me.
   58. Perry Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4090538)
You may like Simmons, but the idea that he doesn't do hit pieces is not very accurate.


Okay, fair enough. I just thought the "antiChrist" thing was obvious hyperbole. It's true, though, it was a pretty negative piece, although it doesn't come off as unfair, just a heartfelt Boston fan's anguish.

Here's the column

(By the way, when I typed "Is Clemens" into google, it auto-completed "the antiChrist."

   59. Deacon Blues Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4090546)
But it, like many of his other pieces, was a hit piece/tear-down piece, and many of his other articles were too. He makes broad assumptions about the motivations of players, does some "you just know that's how it is, like my buddy Lomez said..." hocus pocus, and then pontificates about the players' character. You may like Simmons, but the idea that he doesn't do hit pieces is not very accurate.

I think of a "hit" piece a little differently than you perhaps. So I won't argue semantics. One thing I appreciate, however, is that since he doesn't associate with most athletes, he's not caught up in a game of slamming someone because they don't give a good quote, or because ownership wants them too. He might have said Clemens was the sports anti-Christ. But after 1999, watching Clemens take his game to another level with the Jays and then win a World Series with the Yankees, didn't a lot of people feel the same way? He comes at it from the perspective of a fan, warts and all.

I'll close with this (and I don't want go off the reservation as a Simmons apologist). His column in 2003 after Aaron Boone was one of his best. My college roommate (huge Sox fan) read it and simply said, "wow, he simply nailed it." Articulating those complex emotions of being a sports fan is a skill. Maybe it's a skill that isn't as interesting to some as to others, but it's a skill nonetheless.
   60. squatoh Posted: March 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4090561)
Bill Simmons is an over-grown frat boy, with a frat boy's gushing enthusiasm, penchant for insider jokes and phraseology and general masturbatory backslappiness. This comes through with his "Yup, that's my readers!" mailbags, which were full of notes written by his fellow frat-boys using his same rhetorical devices. It's there in his efforts to personify Mr. Everyfan, and a general disdain for those who don't see the world as he does. For someone who exhibits an almost parodic self-awareness, he doesn't seem to be truly self-aware.
   61. cmd600 Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4090579)
huge Sox fan


This is an important part. And yeah, he articules the emotions well, but I don't see how they are complex. Turn on your local sports radio station, and you'll here these emotions frequently. I'll give him credit for articulating them with a college education, but I don't think its that special a skill.
   62. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4090583)
This comes through with his "Yup, that's my readers!" mailbags, which were full of notes written by his fellow frat-boys using his same rhetorical devices.


I generally like his mailbags, but I agree that they turn bad when it's too much re-feed of his own style and, as you say, rhetorical devices. It's no good when he picks an email that says "I'm a Bulls fan, and Luol Deng is like this girl you date, but... blah blah tortured and played-out analogy blah blah..."
   63. Deacon Blues Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4090586)
This is an important part. And yeah, he articules the emotions well, but I don't see how they are complex. Turn on your local sports radio station, and you'll here these emotions frequently. I'll give him credit for articulating them with a college education, but I don't think its that special a skill.

Agree to disagree I suppose.
   64. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4090590)
Bill Simmons is an over-grown frat boy, with a frat boy's gushing enthusiasm, penchant for insider jokes and phraseology and general masturbatory backslappiness. This comes through with his "Yup, that's my readers!" mailbags, which were full of notes written by his fellow frat-boys using his same rhetorical devices. It's there in his efforts to personify Mr. Everyfan, and a general disdain for those who don't see the world as he does. For someone who exhibits an almost parodic self-awareness, he doesn't seem to be truly self-aware.


Yup, I definitely see all of that in this column -
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090122

The hit piece he puts on this dog is simply despicable.
   65. Darren Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4090596)
Looking back at the Clemens piece--wow, it's even more of a hatchet job than I remembered. So many obvious falsehoods, so many assumptions, so many inconsistencies, so many tortured metaphors.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4090607)
I believe Simmons has acknowledged that the stats can refute his desired narrative, so he prefers to ignore them, as he is a big 'intangibles' guy. He does recognize their importance in understanding the game, they just don't fit with his style. I will take that attitude from a writer any day as opposed to the combative pieces that come out bashing advanced stats while the writer happily spews 'old-school' stats all day long.


I agree with all of that. You don't need to know xfip while watching a game. If you think it ruins the game for you, then don't pay attention to it. But there is also fun in watching it in action. Let's say you have an ace level pitcher going and he looks like he's on, and he allows a seeing eye single, it just reminds you why xFip is accurate. You can even play games where you count the plus minus on well hit balls turned into outs, and weak balls that become hits etc. It can add a layer of appreciation to the game if you are willing to embrace it. Not just dips, but anything out there. Watch a game and remember the mantra "there really is no major difference between getting on by a single or by a walk" and again pay attention to how often it actually makes a difference?


Selfishly, I wish we discussed the ideas more instead of ridiculing the source. There was plenty of stuff that could've been talked about here. Projections for Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey staying healthy, Daniel Bard's usage to name a few. I'm just disappointed we chose to spend a lot of our time bemoaning--with at least a tiny whiff of jealousy--the success of a sports writer whose knowledge of baseball isn't up to the standards of this site.


We'll start with WTF is Patriots day? Don't we have enough holidays to not add more, especially another patriotic holiday. I love Independence Day(or fourth of July if you prefer---not talking about the movie either) but is there a reason to have another patriotic holiday?


I wonder, if the Red Sox make the playoffs, does Simmons remember
seeing our guys grimly sitting next to each other, and thinking, All right, something feels wrong here.



I do love Simmons comment on the Francona firing, calling it the Manny Ramirez scholarship, while Simmons blasted the Boston press.

Have to agree with the criticism of Simmons revisionistic history on how the Championship teams were built he says building the team with under 29 elite players was how Theo built the first champions....Just looked at bb-ref and the only under 29 year player they had on the starting roster was a 28 year old David Ortiz, Gabe Kapler and his 77 ops+, and Youklis with 72 games played. The rotation had Arroyo at 27, and nobody in the pen under 28 with more than 29 ip.

   67. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4090608)
Looking back at the Clemens piece--wow, it's even more of a hatchet job than I remembered. So many obvious falsehoods, so many assumptions, so many inconsistencies, so many tortured metaphors.


Yeah but if that piece was about Pedro you'd be applauding it! (J/K)
   68. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4090615)
We'll start with WTF is Patriots day? Don't we have enough holidays to not add more, especially another patriotic holiday. I love Independence Day(or fourth of July if you prefer---not talking about the movie either) but is there a reason to have another patriotic holiday?


Boston also has another patriotic holiday: Evacuation Day, which "coincidentally" is the same day as St. Patrick's day, in addition to Patriots Day, which just happens to be celebrated on the day the Boston Marathon is run. The Sox play a morning game every year on Patriots day.
   69. Dan Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4090637)
I don't really remember Evacuation Day having much significance in Massachusetts, but I seem to remember getting Patriots Day off from school, and spending the morning being bored watching coverage of the Boston Marathon until the Red Sox game started.
   70. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4090641)
Boston also has another patriotic holiday: Evacuation Day


That's the one where the cops freak out and remotely detonate a harmless LED board, right?
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4090645)
I guess Evacuation Day is only a city day but Patriots' Day is a state-wide thing. I get neither off from my work.
   72. nick swisher hygiene Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4090646)
I don't love Simmons, though he's still often very readable, but I think--well, his work lacks certain key weaknesses of old-school sportswriters. The obsession with sports as moral arena, the literary prose style: these disfigure the work of even the much-venerated-by-BBTF Joe Poz. Instead we get the obsession with TV and pron, and the generic internet age voice.

The Simmons-Poz comparison might get at something, actually. I mean, Simmons's persona is the Regular Guy Writ Large for, you know, coastal elites; Poz is the exact same thing for midwestern Joes. Who you prefer will depend on your relationship to that dichotomy*, no?

*yeah, it's a dumb dichotomy.
   73. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4090673)
Iglesias and Lavarnway sent to AAA this afternoon.
   74. Bob Evans Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4090679)
Evacuation Day leaves me feeling empty. I like that.
   75. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM (#4090681)
To most sports fans baseball is just another sport they follow among many or it is a distant second in importance to the NFL and that is the fan for whom Simmons writes.

I think he has admitted that he doesn't write as much about baseball as he used to because baseball fans are more savvy about statistics now and they will call him on his mistakes.
   76. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4090683)
The Simmons-Poz comparison might get at something, actually. I mean, Simmons's persona is the Regular Guy Writ Large for, you know, coastal elites; Poz is the exact same thing for midwestern Joes. Who you prefer will depend on your relationship to that dichotomy*, no?


Isn't the biggest thing we like about Poz is that he is a lot more knowledgeable about baseball?
   77. Ron J Posted: March 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4090690)
we're still talking about a guy who put up a .235/.285/.269 batting line last year at AAA


the good news is that it's a tough place to hit and will translate almost at par. The other piece of good news is that it was something of a disappointment. ZiPS for instance expects a tad more this year.

The bad news is that we're talking a 59 OPS+ with a slightly optimistic take on his minor league career. With Jim Scranton. Fred Manrique and Eddie Zosky as his top comps.


   78. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 27, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4090712)
(Forget) Grantland. They didn't want anything to do with me. Simmons would rather have guys like Charles Pierce write for the site than find new or unknown talent; with the possible exception of Bill Barnwell. If Boston Sports Guy started writing now, Simmons wouldn't hire him.
   79. robinred Posted: March 27, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4090715)
I have talked about Simmons a lot on the NBA Thread, and I agree with many of both the positive and negative things said about him here. IMO, his basketball stuff is better than his baseball stuff because he knows more about the former than he does the latter.

Simmons has come around a bit on Bryant (as well as on ARod and Peyton Manning) for a simple reason: ringzzzzz. Prior to 2009, though, he was as nasty about Bryant as anyone.

One thing that is very clear about Simmons is that male-bonding is a big deal to him. That comes through in both irritating ways (the sexism, the frat-boy schtick) and in more substantive ones (stuff he says about his dad, descriptions of jocks he loves, like Bill Russell) and other ways (using Joe House on his pods). So, superstar jocks who are not "one of the guys" types who play on teams that are rivals of Boston (Chamberlain, Kareem, Kobe, Manning, ARod) even if they are vastly different personalities, as those guys all were/are, will take some serious crap from him. But if you win some ringzz (particularly a lot of them, like Kobe and Kareem) Simmons will give you some respect even if he doesn't like you.
   80. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4090756)
<blcokquote> Evacuation Day, which "coincidentally" is the same day as St. Patrick's day</blockquote>

So the "evacuation" refers to one's stomach?
   81. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4090758)
Don't you guys know Revolutionary War history? Evacuation Day is the day the British sailed out of Boston after Henry Knox positioned some artillery from Fort Ticonderoga on the hills surrounding Boston. Knox was the Bill James of the Revolution. He learned about the military through books, not on the job.
   82. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4090767)
I've read a lot of Simmons and I agree with [8]. Simmons is among the most knowledgeable people you'll find about basketball. He's not as good with the NFL, but still pretty solid. Baseball is a train wreck for him, though.


Agree. Simmons is an NBA fan and a water cooler sports fan beyond that, at best. His MLB banter is always forced, he actually insults your intelligence.
   83. Ebessan Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4090789)
You can't have Simmons's persona and look like Christopher Walken circa "Weapon of Choice".
   84. asinwreck Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4090833)
Clearly true cool is listening to Henry Threadgill and being well above it all when it comes to writers like Simmons. :-)


Any excuse to talk Threadgill is OK by me. This piece, written by the father of Nas, is one of my favorites.

Michael Schur co-created Parks & Recreation. I'll happily read him fret about one of the wealthiest teams in baseball.
   85. Spotted Dick Is Pudding Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4090981)
I second the sentiment expressed at the end of [42]
   86. asinwreck Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4091006)
This thread'ill turn into a Very Very Circus if we are not careful.
   87. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4091107)
Michael Schur co-created Parks & Recreation. I'll happily read him fret about one of the wealthiest teams in baseball.

And was one of the guys over at Fire Joe Morgan (aka Ken Tremendous).
   88. Eddo Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4091114)
Simmons would rather have guys like Charles Pierce write for the site than find new or unknown talent; with the possible exception of Bill Barnwell. If Boston Sports Guy started writing now, Simmons wouldn't hire him.

"Talent" and "Bill Barnwell" - I'm not sure that computes.

One thing that is very clear about Simmons is that male-bonding is a big deal to him. That comes through in both irritating ways (the sexism, the frat-boy schtick) and in more substantive ones (stuff he says about his dad, descriptions of jocks he loves, like Bill Russell) and other ways (using Joe House on his pods).

I totally agree. This is why Simmons is so popular, yet also very polarizing. He definitely has a voice(*) that appeals to men of all ages. However, he's also kind of a dick about things; you don't have to be sexist to bond with other guys, especially with sports as the primary focus.

(*) I think voice gets forgotten about too frequently when we discuss writing. A good voice - or style, if you prefer - is something that will keep me reading someone's articles, while a bad one will cause me to just not care. We're all human.
   89. SandyRiver Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4091258)
Patroits' Day commemorates the battles at Lexington and Concord, 4/19/1775 (now a Monday holiday, of course.) It's observed only in Mass and in its 1820 stepchild, Maine.
   90. Toolsy McClutch Posted: March 28, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4091428)
Bill Simmons is an over-grown frat boy, with a frat boy's gushing enthusiasm, penchant for insider jokes and phraseology and general masturbatory backslappiness. This comes through with his "Yup, that's my readers!" mailbags, which were full of notes written by his fellow frat-boys using his same rhetorical devices. It's there in his efforts to personify Mr. Everyfan, and a general disdain for those who don't see the world as he does. For someone who exhibits an almost parodic self-awareness, he doesn't seem to be truly self-aware.


This.

Sometimes a fun read though.

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