Thursday, April 9

This is the part where a Southerner would say "Bless your heart."

If it didn't happen in Suffolk County, it didn't happen.

I don't read or listen to Bill Simmons -- not living in, or being a fan of any of the sports franchises from, the Boston area, I doubt there's a lot of intersection in the Venn diagram of our respective interests. But "The Sports Guy" still managed to be, shall we say, brought to my attention for his "B.S. Report" podcast from Wednesday.

The guest was Sports Illustrated ESPN columnist Rick Reilly, whom I don't really have that big a problem with as either a writer or a guy in general, but who hasn't been a big fan of Every Day Should Be Saturday ever since EDSBS posted an account of Reilly's odd behavior in the LSU press box for the '07 LSU-Florida game. Maybe you sympathize with the guy and maybe you don't, but 18 months after the incident supposedly occurred, Reilly brought it up on Simmons's podcast in the course of an entirely predictable tut-tutting of how mean-spirited and irresponsible sports blogs are, a tut-tutting that rather unpredictably spawned this howler from Simmons:

Yeah. It's the way, just the way the Internet is. I mean, my dad is retiring as a superintendent this year -- the way the Internet works now, you know, with the cell-phone cameras and text and -- you know, it's a crisis every week, something happens, and it just seems like society's gotten a little bit meaner. Which I'm surprised by, because -- I really thought after 9/11, it was gonna be like some sort of wake-up call for everybody, you know?

Wow. That's downright wistful for a guy who wrote more than 4,000 words to do little more than gloat over Pete Carroll's inability to three-peat in the '06 Rose Bowl, or who once said about NBA ref Violet Palmer, "Nobody has ever been worse at their job, in any vocation -- not even the people who work at Home Depot selling Christmas trees." But just for the sake of argument, let's take Simmons at his word that he's very sorry for saying those things and he wishes the whole world would be nicer. Here are some other things Bill Simmons thought were going to happen after 9/11:

Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow getting back together

McDonald's bringing back the McRib sandwich

America's Big Three automakers cutting back on SUV and truck production and concentrating on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles

Those kids in the commercial finally letting the rabbit have some Trix

Delta installing special sections on their aircraft where passengers could sit in bean-bag chairs

George Clooney rejoining the cast of "ER"

The "tastes great" and "less filling" sides in the great Miller Lite debate coming together to make peace

The Red Sox finally winning a World Series (OK, so he got that one.)

Otherwise, a worldview as perpetually sunny and optimistic as Simmons's, with such an abiding faith (misplaced or not) in human nature, seems destined to lead to frequent disappointment. Still, we salute you, Sports Guy, and hope that one day you really will teach the world to sing, mean-spirited bloggers be damned.

And as for you, Orson Swindle, we always suspected that you didn't really care about the worst terrorist attack in American history, and now we have proof. Good job: You've managed to make Glenn Beck and the Baby Jesus cry. Shame on you, sir, shame on you indeed.

This meant nothing to you, Swindle? What are you, made of stone?


DAve said...

There's a small part of me that still finds many of Rick Reilly's columns heartwarming, inspiring, yadda yadda yadda. But jeez, man, are all journalists this sensitive? To paraphrase Chris Tucker in Friday: "Why you bringing up old shit?"

Anyway, let me recommend one of my favorite Tweeters: Fake Rick Reilly, formerly "Rick Rielly" until the gods of hypersensitivity intervened.

And, not to sound like I'm coming from the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to sensitivity, but can we please stop framing things as Pre- and Post- 9/11? That's just so, I dunno, what's the word? Played.

SpartanDan said...

Funny thing is, I'm not even convinced Orson meant that blurb as an insult. I mean, he did say "We had no idea Rick Reilly was so debauched, so reckless, and so…cool."

Josh M. said...

Dave, under no circumstance anywhere, anyhow, is it heterosexually permissive to type the words "one of my favorite Tweeters."

DAve said...

Tweeties? Tweetists? Tweetadores?

Josh M. said...


Will said...

I think the preferred term is "twits" or "twats".

MeatyBob said...

DAve, I think you mean hackneyed.

And to the author, are you sure you are liberal? This sort of candor on this topic is quite unbecoming of those on the left, sans Hitchens, and even I think he is full of bs half the time.

Winfield Featherston said...

"Official" Sports Journalists who work for magazines and newspapers are scared. If you want to learn about something, you find a blog. You don't read the newspaper anymore. Who freaking cares what Rick Reilly or Bill Simmons thinks anymore?

caliban said...

Well, Boston rules because it's the home of the greatest dynasty in the history of organized sports. It's also quite true that the Celtics did for the color barrier something like what Branch Rickey did. And really, if you think Jordan was the best, you never saw Bill Russell.

DAve said...

"Well, Boston rules because it's the home of the greatest dynasty in the history of organized sports."

And all this time I thought UCLA's men's basketball team played their home games in California. You learn something new every day.

Reed said...

I'm definitely not going to go listen to that podcast, but are you 100% certain he wasn't sarcastically kidding? I mean, that's just ridiculous. He used to rip on Reilly a lot, too (only when he wrote for another publication of course - ESPN won't let him analyze one of their own). Maybe he was mocking him and the people who bring up 9/11? I'm not necessarily trying to defend him, but that's just such a farfetched though.