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Old 07-18-2011, 09:26 PM
Location: Wylie, Texas
1,693 posts, read 2,476,548 times
Reputation: 2717


I remember when I first read a Bill Simmons column...he wasn't a headliner on ESPN yet. He was actually buried underneath several other writers who I can't even recall now, but back then this guy had a burning passion for sports. One thing he said that really stayed with me, he talked about how he had just graduated college, no job prospects, barely getting by bartending or something...just surviving...yet he still hustled up all the money he could spare to get tickets to watch Pedro Martinez back when he was with the Red Sox.

He was just a guy who clearly loved sports, and wasnt writing for a weekly paycheck. Yet the other thing I liked was his passion in other parts of life too. One of his classic articles was where he broke down the careers of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro to decide who was the better actor. And it was just great to me, maybe because those guys are two of my favorite actors as well. There have been other sports writers who share their non sports passions in their articles, but they are just boring as hell to me. Paul Zimmerman writes for the NFL, and he is a wine lover, so he spends a few lines going on about different wines from all over the world...sadly I'm not a sophisticated connoiseur so that bored me to tears. Peter King is another NFL writer, who loves Starbucks coffee, so he will spend some time either praising or berating some barista for how well his latte was made...again I'm not a coffee guy so I thought it sounded incredibly corny...but Simmons stuff was right up my alley.

So his following grows and grows...and then he starts podcasts...now maybe it's just me, but Simmons has a voice that only print meida could love...when I first heard him speak, he kinda sounded like the Beavis and Butthead guys...his voice just grates on me after a while...plus his guests he kept bringing on were for the most part crappy. Yet the podcasts became a bigger and bigger part of his writing, to where we now get 2 or 3 podcasts a week, and you're lucky to get one of those nice 5,000 word essays that you can kill time at work reading.

His podcasts remind me of an NBA guy who early on in his career drove to the basket all the time, got dunks and fouls...then all of a sudden he develops a jumper, at first you like the jumper because it adds another dimension to his game, but now all he ever does is shoot jumpers, regardless of whether they are going in or not, he never drives to the hole anymore...that is simmons with his podcasts, they have replaced his writing to a large degree. And that sucks since he was my favorite sports writer.

What do y'all think? (if you follow Simmons that is)
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