Archive for Simmons

Bill Simmons Annoys Me

Posted in Sports with tags , on November 3, 2009 by fieldingmellish

Well, that’s about the worst I can say about him. But in Part 2 of his conversation with Will Leitch for New York Magazine, he says something that is, to put it mildly, unsupported by evidence. Get ready for some more FJM Memorial tags!

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). The union runs baseball; Stern runs basketball. Big difference. And baseball has turned into a small-market/big-market sport — the NBA is protected from that happening to some degree because of its draft and salary cap.

The biggest thing in the NBA’s favor: Don’t they have ten times as many marketable players? Name five baseball players under 30 that could sell a shoe or be the focal point of a commercial. Basketball has, like, fifteen of those guys. And LeBron and Kobe are bigger than any baseball player, by far, nobody comes close. There’s no star power in baseball anymore. It’s pretty much gone. I think baseball is in more trouble than people realize. Part of the reason attendance remained relatively strong is because teams keep opening new stadiums and coming up with these “buy four tickets for the price of one and get four free hot dogs” deals. 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.

Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy. Why do you have to do this to me? I know you love the NBA. I know you’ve been a little colder towards Baseball since 2004.* You can make all the excuses you want. You can whine about how all the stats are too complicated and there aren’t enough big stars and the games are on too late. Guess what? You have become everything you used to hate about sports columnists. You have adopted a cranky opinion, and heavens to Murgatroyd, you’re sticking to your guns.

*It’s almost as if he decided that he’d made his millions riding the wave of Red Sox win World Series! hangers-on and decided to back out. I really thought you were a real fan, Simmons. But by giving up on the team and losing interest after 2004, you have proven to be the worst kind of Boston fan: the guy who’s only happy with losing.

Look, I am as much of a Simmons apologist as anyone. I have spent more than one night smoking pot and reading his old columns. When people make fun of his homerism, I’m there to defend him. When people accuse him of making the same jokes over and over, I stand up and argue violently on his behalf. In short, I have snacked on many a Simmons-sausage over the years. So this idiotic comment puts me in an awkward position.

It’s not his fault he hates numbers, since numbers killed and ate his first pet when he was three. And it’s not his fault this interview was posted before the World Series was a ratings smash for Fox. But this is the kind of knee-jerk, gut reaction flimflam you’d expect from a Bill Plaschke or a Tim McCarver. Just say what you feel, then invent a plausible sounding reason afterwards. Here’s Bill’s argument, broken down:

“I’m just going to assume the NBA has more marketable stars”

This is not exactly good evidence for the rise of basketball over baseball. I mean, just because you love the people in the NBA doesn’t mean everyone does. I mean, I personally can name a bunch of young baseball stars, while I cannot do the same for basketball. This is not evidence either, but I’m not claiming that something totally new is happening.

“Baseball fans are old, NBA fans are young.”

Uh, ok. That sounds like pretty complicated demographic work you’d have to do to ascertain the average age of each sport’s fans. I’d be interested to see your reasoning.

“YouTube.”

Ah, well, that’s not a reason, that’s a website. You can put dunks on YouTube, but you can also put ridiculous defensive plays and home runs and Julio Lugo grabbing his crotch on there.

Well, the only reason attendance has overperformed in this terrible economy is because of expensive new ballparks.”

OK, now you’re definitely just making shit up. I demand to see the Excel spreadsheet and regression analysis you’ve done to support this. And also, since when was the NBA known for it’s boffo attendance?

I want David Stern to hire me.

I know, Bill. You hate unions, you love David Stern. The line “ The union runs baseball; Stern runs basketball. Big difference” is meaningless. This is not self-evidently a good thing for the NBA, no matter how good David Stern’s balls taste.

Baseball has big markets and small markets and basketball doesn’t because of the celery cap and the droft!

I fucking hate this argument so much. If one could strangle concepts, I would have a piano wire around this thing’s neck right now. It’s been debunked a bazillion times, but let me let an NBA man spell it out for you: Bill Simmons’ NBA preview, 10/23: “…we know how it’s going to play out — the Spurs, Celtics, Lakers, Cavs and Magic in some order, then everyone else…” He then explains why he’s still interested despite this situation. Except THIS IS THE EXACT FUCKING THING YOU JUST ACCUSED BASEBALL OF BECOMING! You only care because your team is one of the five! Do you think the 76ers fans and Hawks fan are excited by this development?

Look, I understand it’s annoying to have to continually talk about how the Yankees payroll is ridiculous and the haves and the have-nots and blabbity blah, bleepity blow. Last year, the Rays played the Phillies in the World Series. In fact,  let’s look at these lists:

  • LA, Orlando, LA, Boston, San Antonio, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, San Antonio, Detroit, LA, Detroit
  • New York, Philly, Philly, Tampa Bay, Boston, Colorado, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Boston, St. Louis

These are the teams that have played in the Finals/World Series since 2004. So, um, which one has more parity? I would say baseball, but even if it’s not clear, it’s pretty obvious baseball is at the very least equal to basketball. And you have already written off all but 5 teams for the upcoming season. So, yeah. Get those fans involved.

See, when you actually analyze the points he’s making, they make no sense. Bill is no stranger to idiotic, gut-based arguments. But this is a new low. I expected better than this, Simmons. It’s not like I’m going to stop reading. But you’re better than this, Bill. Put at least you’re starting to get why I love soccer. So one step forward, one step back into a huge pile of dog crap covered nails.

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Manny Being Gone

Posted in General, Sports with tags , , on October 2, 2008 by fieldingmellish

Bill Simmons wrote an excellent column on ESPN about Manny’s last days in Boston and everything surrounding it. It really is an excellent, fascinating piece that will undoubtedly be bashed on Deadspin and places like it.

I have always been Manny’s biggest defender. I love Manny. I love his quirkiness, I love his hitting, I love his fielding miscues. I always thought there was some sort of mystical connection between Manny and the old-school ballplayers. If Manny had been white, he could have played in the Deadball Era and we’d be reading apocryphal stories about him hitting two home runs and then fishing in a gutter after the game or stealing his manager’s pants on a train ride. He always got a bum wrap in Boston because he didn’t talk to the media and he wasn’t white, the first reason being more important than the second. The Boston sports media has proved generation after generation that it is capable of not recognizing greatness when the greatness is packaged differently. A white guy (Ted Williams), a black guy (Jim Rice) and now a Dominican, all great hitters, all skewered by the Boston media because of their personalities. And of course, now the Boston sports writers are the ones fighting to get Jim Ed into the Hall of Fame on shaky credentials. And 10 years from now, when Manny is being Manny at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, everyone will suddenly remember how great he was, how fun he was to be around, and how cool it was to watch him play ball every day. Maybe someday his number 24 will hang between the 9 and the 27 on the right field facade, and we’ll all be regaled with Manny Being Manny stories, as if nothing ever happened. I hope Manny doesn’t sign with the Yankees, but he probably will. And it will be worse because you know it was Sox management’s fault. Since they’ve begun to run this organizations like the Patriots, it’s a lot harder to love them.

Anyways, read the whole article. It’s funny, bittersweet, sad, etc. It really makes you wonder.