Thursday, July 20, 2006
So this is the new feature of Awful Announcing (Since I can only watch so many local feeds of MLB games and make fun of the Announcers). The weekly/bi-weekly/monthly review of everything Sports Guy. Let me explain....
For the longest time Bill Simmons was my favorite sports writer. He was knowledgeable, a good writer, funny, and loved Karate Kid. Back when he was writing every other day his columns were a staple for me. When I was in college I would read them in class. When I worked for the Wizards I would print out the articles and read them on the metro. When I worked in Philly I would print them out and read them in the bathroom. I even have an autographed article from the middle of the playoff chase last year. My birthday was coming up, and I explained to a friend in Boston that I was sick of all the Yankees/RedSox Articles. At a book signing he had Simmons write, "This column rocked, hope your birthday sucks." Well I loved that gift, and I still do, but here's my real issue.
Ever since Bilbo moved out to Los Angeles his articles have changed. They are no longer funny, the Boston References moved from 60% to 80%, and his knowledge of the game has seemed to wane. Now there are a few things that could explain this...obviously he's a new father...but his jumping of the shark is directly correlated to the company he works for. Personally, I cannot stand ESPN. They have been brain washing the masses for years now, and I think they finally got to Simmons. I had noticed this change for awhile, but I didn't want to believe that my favorite writer was changing. Then came this column.
The second to last Mailbag question someone asks him the sitting/standing rules in sports, and this is his response:
1. When the ball is in play, you can't make a unilateral decision for your section to stand. It's not up to you -- you need 3-4 people in your row backing you up, and everyone else in your section should follow suit within 3-4 seconds. If it doesn't catch, sit down. Or else you're being a jerk.
2. During a big play, you can't jump out of your seat erratically -- like, as somebody is shooting a jump shot (not when the jump shot actually goes in), or as the QB goes back to pass (not as the football is in the air). Try to act like a normal person. It's not hard.
3. I'm all for the whole "stand up, wave your arms and try to get everyone in your section to stand up" routine, a valuable weapon that almost always falls into the wrong hands ... but pick your spots, for God's sake. Try to have some sense of the moment.
4. When there are cheerleaders on the floor/field during a timeout, that doesn't make it OK to stand up and ogle them like you were just released from prison. That means that everyone else will have to stand up to ogle them. ... Basically, you're blowing our cover.
5. Coming out of a timeout, it's not acceptable to stand up, then tug violently at the front of your jersey hoping to get noticed by the guy working the Jumbotron camera. Unless you have a mental problem. Then it's OK.
6. I'm all for standing up and yelling at the referees; I'm the same guy who carries a list of their jersey numbers and names in my wallet. But say your piece, belt out your best "hey, ref, bend over and use your good eye!"-type joke and sit down. Don't turn it into one of those endless Lewis Black rants.
7. If you break any of these rules, and someone screams at you to "sit down," you can't turn around, remain standing and start jawing at that person -- they're just trying to watch the game, you're the one who's blocking them. Be considerate and sit down. Unless you weigh 250-plus and can kick everyone's ass. Then you should do whatever you want
Now I agree with the majority of those rules...mainly #'s 2, 4, and 5. But the rest seem to me something a "Sports Guy" would never say. In his latest article he talks about how, "Soccer does have the one thing that drew me to sports in the first place: Great crowds. There's nothing like following a sport with fans who know how to make a big game feel even bigger." Soccer would be an awful sport if it wasn't for Rules #1, 3, 6, and 7. He goes on to say, "American sports have been ravaged by TV timeouts, ticket price hikes and Jumbotrons that pretty much order fans how to act. Just look at what happened in the NBA playoffs. "
Now for those of you who don't know, I live in Arlington, VA and grew up in Maryland. The teams I root for are the Skins, Maryland Basketball, Wizards, and Orioles. There is not place where that quote above is more evident than FedEx field. The ticket prices are insane, football TV timeouts are the worst, and they have these awful jumbotron graphics (Including one that can only be described as three mob construction workers having seizures. If you've been there you know which one I'm talking about.)
Well the reason that American Sports have become so bad to attend in person is because of the teams ignoring the fans and catering to the big corporations. Every lower level seat in FedEx is filled by some Washington Bigwig Douchebag who thinks Heath Shuler is a Tobacco Lobbyist from South Carolina. There's a reason why FedEx field (at 91,000 seats) can't even compare to the noise at Lambeau (70,000), Arrowhead (79,000), and the 68,000! at Gillette Stadium. I've been battling these a-holes for years. The root word of fan has always been fanatic.
So basically Simmons just contradicted himself in just the mere span of two months, and I'm tired of it. Here's the plan going forward:
I'm going to rate his columns on a scale of 1-5.....1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. And what you ask will he be trying for??? But of course.....Red Sox Championship Rings.
What it boils down to is this...For the longest time I held him up on a pedestal, and I still think there's a great writer in there somewhere. I believe that ESPN has turned him into half the "Sports Guy" he was, and I refuse to believe that I will ever stop being a fanatic. I'm protesting until he's back to his old form. From here on out he will be rated on 1) Timing/Relevance 2) The number of Boston Sports Mentions 3) Knowledge of the Subject.....and 4) Overall writing within the article. As always, I welcome your comments and the first review is coming soon.