Bill Simmons, Establishment

10 11 2009

As if you didn’t hear enough about Will Leitch on this blog, he just wrote another outstanding article on Deadspin about Bill Simmons [aka the Sports Guy]. Both of these men have been mentioned countless numbers of times on SwB [the abbreviation of this blog, pretty clever eh?]. Simmons just put out a new book that is about 40,000 pages long called The Book of Basketball. I just started reading it [as if you cared] and it’s vintage Simmons. Below is a snippet from Leitch’s article about how Simmons has evolved into the icon he is today. It’s a must read.

Now there he is, atop the New York Times Bestseller list, as establishment a pedestal as one can imagine. Simmons did something incredibly rare, particularly in our fractured, niche media world: He made the culture come to him. His triumph is his own, but, in a strange way, it feels like a victory for all of us. The sports culture needed changing, and Simmons is walking evidence that it can, and did. Somewhere out there, there’s a college student with a viewpoint different than everyone else, and he/she will show up and change everything too, exposing Simmons (and the rest of us) the way he did to Reilly. That’ll happen again. Thank heavens. Good ideas win out. Perseverance and new perspectives break through. The old rots and washes away. Sometimes the good guys win.

 

Emphasis mine [hey, maybe he’s talking about me…]

 

 

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In regards to a conversation w/ Bill Simmons

31 10 2009

Will Leitch of The Sports Section recently sat down for a 3 part conversation [part 1, part 2, part 3] with the Sports Guy Bill Simmons. Here’s an quote from pt. 2 that I thought I would expand upon:

“See, I feel like the NBA is doing better than baseball and the ratings would certainly back that up. The last three World Series were the lowest rated ever. Baseball’s audience gets older each year, and they aren’t replacing it with younger fans, whereas that’s the NBA’s wheelhouse right now. The NBA is grabbing those kids between YouTube, video games, sneakers, and everything else. So that’s one problem. I also think baseball has a real credibility issue with sports fans in terms of trust (because of the steroids thing, which has tainted the past two decades, basically), and the time of the games (interminable); basketball doesn’t have either of those issues (although it does have the lousy ref issue)…Well, what happens in 2016 after the new stadium rush has worn off? That’s what I want to see. And again, the length of the games is interminable. For us, we’re used to it. No 12-year-old kid wants to spend four hours watching a baseball game.”

I think Simmons makes a great point here in regards to the future success of these two leagues. Maybe it’s easier for me to agree with this argument because of my waning interest in baseball in recent years, but the two leagues seem to be going in opposite directions. There’s been nothing but complaining in the blogosphere regarding the MLB playoffs. Let’s completely ignore the fact that the umps have been terrible and completely lost the trust of the common fan. Why? Well because the NBA is having there own issues with the officiating in an entirely different way. But think about the way that the league has handled the scheduling. The ALDS games were at odd times during the workweek. The ALCS games were spread apart in odd ways to try and maximize prime time exposure [while at the same time conflicting with my drinking schedule]. Then there was too long of a gap until the World Series started. No one is naïve enough to forget that this is a business. But when you lose the trust of the fans, you lose that core audience that supports you in down years and times of crisis [like a lockout].
Also, the games are so slow! In a generation where we get everything instantly and can’t read a three-page news article anymore without jumping to a new page, how are we supposed to sit through a 4-hour baseball game that has 6 pitching changes for each team? Kids aren’t able to stay up until midnight to watch their favorite team in the playoffs. I mean it’s the playoffs and they end up falling asleep in the 4th inning!
Simmons also brought up another interesting point about star power not mentioned in the above quote. The NBA is sitting pretty for the next 10 years with Lebron, Kobe, Wade, Bosh, Rose, etc. I mean the list of superstars in basketball is practically endless. But baseball’s superstars are in their mid thirties [not including Albert Pujols, but seriously, outside of St. Louis, the guy just doesn’t have the “star” effect]. When the well-known guys are past their prime or out of the league, who is the young generation going to turn to?
The only thing that the MLB has that the other leagues are behind on is a lead in the digital world. They have the best website, online content and ability to watch games either on your phone or computer. There is also a core fan base of sabermetrics [statistics folk] that are never going to ditch the game, because regardless of who’s playing, there will always be numbers to crunch.
What’s my point? Well I don’t really have one. Heck I don’t even like the NBA that much. I think the games [up until the last 4 minutes of the 4th quarter] are pretty unbearable. So basically what I’m trying to say is…watch some football? Oh and college basketball starts in a week. So get pumped people! My Tarheels are coming back with a young group of guys ready to repeat…

 





Mayne Street…where’d ya go? [UPDATE]

28 10 2009

UPDATE: Dash at Deadspin kindly pointed me in the right direction. Not sure why I was having so much trouble finding the link. I don’t think it was only me though, because my wordpress dashboard was showing a lot of searches inquiring about it missing. Poor organization on ESPN’s part though, this video should be on the front page. Feel free to still read my [now irrelevant] rant after the jump. Wouldn’t it have been cooler if there had been a controversy? Oh well…here’s the link! I’m not even going to try to embed the video, I’ve been having way too many problems.

Read the rest of this entry »





Mayne Street w/ Bill Simmons [UPDATE]

27 10 2009

Mayne Street is back with the first episode since July!

The Sports Guy makes his first appearance in the show and I’ve gotta say, it is hilarious. When tWWL makes fun of themselves [and even more so when Bill Simmons is doing so], it always seems to come out great.

UPDATE: Well, I’m not exactly sure what the deal is, but the video was taken off and I can’t find it anymore. Also the link the Bill Simmons had on his twitter doesn’t work either. My only suggestion if you want to watch it is to subscribe to the Mayne Street Podcast. It’s free, and probably worth it, because most of the videos are funny.