Bill Simmons: Good Luck With Your Life.

OilCanShotTupac

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Marciano490 said:
 
Bernard Hopkins held the light heavyweight title at 49;  Bill Simmons doesn't think he can continue writing about sports into his fifties.
 
I love to knock Simmons, but I don't have a problem with this.  I'm 45 and I understand what he's saying and agree with it.
 
Using Bernard Hopkins as your comp is problematic; he's an outlier, to put it mildly.
 

JBill

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Grantland's his baby, he wants it well taken care of in this next negotiation. I assume they're not hurting to pay writers, but maybe they skimp on the behind the scene guys.

That interview actually made me think he's definitely staying. He's too invested in Grantland.
 

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OilCanShotTupac said:
 
I love to knock Simmons, but I don't have a problem with this.  I'm 45 and I understand what he's saying and agree with it.
 
Using Bernard Hopkins as your comp is problematic; he's an outlier, to put it mildly.
 
The Hopkins thing was obviously hyperbole, but saying you're slowing down from an office job at 50 is a little absurd when athletes can still compete at 50, and most of our nation's top judges, attorneys and many of its doctors are over 50.  I get wanting to slow down or stop, especially if you have money in the bank, but saying you can't work hard into your 50s just isn't the case for most people.
 

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luckiestman said:
 
 
Simmons might be wrong about prepping but I agree with the conversation aspect. I saw Larry David and Rick Gervais talking about bad interviews where the interviewer is not interested in having a conversation and just following a list of questions. Go to 4:55 of this video
 
 
Oh I agree 100%. I just don't get why prepping means you have your eyes glued to the iPad. Wouldn't prepping and then putting the iPad away for a conversation work? I mean I know it would, I think that's what everyone does.
 
Not a big deal, just throwing it out there.
 

luckiestman

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Marciano490 said:
 
The Hopkins thing was obviously hyperbole, but saying you're slowing down from an office job at 50 is a little absurd when athletes can still compete at 50, and most of our nation's top judges, attorneys and many of its doctors are over 50.  I get wanting to slow down or stop, especially if you have money in the bank, but saying you can't work hard into your 50s just isn't the case for most people.
This gets down to a define "hard" kind of thing.
 

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JBill said:
Grantland's his baby, he wants it well taken care of in this next negotiation. I assume they're not hurting to pay writers, but maybe they skimp on the behind the scene guys.

That interview actually made me think he's definitely staying. He's too invested in Grantland.
 
I have no idea how well a Greenwald or a Barnwell get paid, but Grantland doesn't seem to have the money it takes to have many Klosterman/Gladwell/Colson Whitehead types writing for them with any regularity. 
 

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Simmons has always said that he created Grantland to give young writers a platform and the chance to earn a decent wage. I don't think it was ever going to be staffed with high profile, older writers.
 
I think the understaffed part is referring to editors and video/audio production people. 
 

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Maybe I'm misremembering, but I could have sworn that Simmons announced last week that every Monday there was going to be a new NBA podcast--branded separately from the BS Report.
 
Am I missing something, or did that idea just take a single week to die?
 

RIFan

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Marciano490 said:
 
The Hopkins thing was obviously hyperbole, but saying you're slowing down from an office job at 50 is a little absurd when athletes can still compete at 50, and most of our nation's top judges, attorneys and many of its doctors are over 50.  I get wanting to slow down or stop, especially if you have money in the bank, but saying you can't work hard into your 50s just isn't the case for most people.
Your obviously a smart guy and post a lot of good stuff on this site, but you are way off here.  I'm guessing that you're not in your 40's and therefore cannot relate at all.  Most people cannot work at the same levels  beyond 50 they did in their 30's and 40's.   I'm 47 and I can 100% relate to what he is saying.  He clearly said he doesn't know if he can maintain the same pace in 5 years.  It's an entirely rational take.  It's not the physical ability, but the overall mental fatigue that gets to you after you've been doing something for 20+ years.  10-12 hour days were no big deal 10 years ago, but are really hard to do now for a variety of reasons none of which are my health or physical ability to do so. Do people continue to work at a high level well beyond 50? Absolutely.  That is partly because one day leads into another and you keep going and partly because they have to.  I would argue that most of those who are "working hard" beyond 50 are not working nearly as hard as they were earlier in their careers.  The work level may appear to be the same, but the coping skills you accumulate allow  you to work smarter, delegate, and ignore the low value things that you grinded through before.  Plus it's a much different effort to have reached a level where you are going to sustain where you are instead of continuing to climb the ladder.
 

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Grin&MartyBarret said:
Maybe I'm misremembering, but I could have sworn that Simmons announced last week that every Monday there was going to be a new NBA podcast--branded separately from the BS Report.
 
Am I missing something, or did that idea just take a single week to die?
 
What, you don't want to listen to a podcast with Steven A. Smith? (Note: I don't either.)
 

jimbobim

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I don't know how much you can take from that interview. If I remember correctly back before he exploded into running a whole website and many media properties he relished the idea of negotiating with big stakes like star players and the teams he's followed. 
 
If you look at his answers from that mindset along with the fact he knows there are people at ESPN who don't like him or the power he currently has he dances around any suggestion of demands or technically whining about being overpaid. 
 
I despise the idea that he wants to just drop commercial nonsense into the podcast unexpectedly to get an easy buck, but I guess that is not surprising. He specifically didn't like the idea of "recreating" Grantland and I'd bet that has to do with not only the relationships he's created, but with the probability that ESPN might view the site as being continuable even if they don't meet whatever demands Simmons brings up .
 
Without knowing anything about the contract it's impossible to know, but similar to the talk around his suspension Simmons probably has little leverage to up and leave the World Wide Leader for a bunch of different reasons. I'm sure he is working hard on editorial and managerial duties , but I imagine ESPN plays hardball with the next contract and his answers seem to suggest he knows that.
 
In sum I have liked him a lot over the years, but he is pretty terrible on TV both last year when he was part of countdown, his PTI stint this year, and his own show he's got has been pretty ehhh. Finally, the disintegration of his writing skill that is badly and perhaps permanently out of practice, outside of the occasional good basketball piece. Would love to be a bug on the wall in that negotiation.
 

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jimbobim said:
I don't know how much you can take from that interview. If I remember correctly back before he exploded into running a whole website and many media properties he relished the idea of negotiating with big stakes like star players and the teams he's followed. 
 
If you look at his answers from that mindset along with the fact he knows there are people at ESPN who don't like him or the power he currently has he dances around any suggestion of demands or technically whining about being overpaid. 
 
I despise the idea that he wants to just drop commercial nonsense into the podcast unexpectedly to get an easy buck, but I guess that is not surprising. He specifically didn't like the idea of "recreating" Grantland and I'd bet that has to do with not only the relationships he's created, but with the probability that ESPN might view the site as being continuable even if they don't meet whatever demands Simmons brings up .
 
Without knowing anything about the contract it's impossible to know, but similar to the talk around his suspension Simmons probably has little leverage to up and leave the World Wide Leader for a bunch of different reasons. I'm sure he is working hard on editorial and managerial duties , but I imagine ESPN plays hardball with the next contract and his answers seem to suggest he knows that.
 
In sum I have liked him a lot over the years, but he is pretty terrible on TV both last year when he was part of countdown, his PTI stint this year, and his own show he's got has been pretty ehhh. Finally, the disintegration of his writing skill that is badly and perhaps permanently out of practice, outside of the occasional good basketball piece. Would love to be a bug on the wall in that negotiation.
 
I think you and I agree about this talent at this moment. But I think you are one hundy percent full of shit about him having little leverage (his anti-establishment shtick, combined with an incredible nose for talent sells very, very well in a demographic that is critical to ESPN). I also think you read his interview terribly if you came away thinking his answers suggested he knows ESPN will play hardball with his next contract. 
 
This was his message to ESPN:
 
Paying me is not enough. Yes, I want to be paid. But, I want to see an investment in what we are building here. We need resources, my people need to get paid and we need promotion. 
 

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RIFan said:
Your obviously a smart guy and post a lot of good stuff on this site, but you are way off here.  I'm guessing that you're not in your 40's and therefore cannot relate at all.  Most people cannot work at the same levels  beyond 50 they did in their 30's and 40's.   I'm 47 and I can 100% relate to what he is saying.  He clearly said he doesn't know if he can maintain the same pace in 5 years.  It's an entirely rational take.  It's not the physical ability, but the overall mental fatigue that gets to you after you've been doing something for 20+ years.  10-12 hour days were no big deal 10 years ago, but are really hard to do now for a variety of reasons none of which are my health or physical ability to do so. Do people continue to work at a high level well beyond 50? Absolutely.  That is partly because one day leads into another and you keep going and partly because they have to.  I would argue that most of those who are "working hard" beyond 50 are not working nearly as hard as they were earlier in their careers.  The work level may appear to be the same, but the coping skills you accumulate allow  you to work smarter, delegate, and ignore the low value things that you grinded through before.  Plus it's a much different effort to have reached a level where you are going to sustain where you are instead of continuing to climb the ladder.
FWIW--and certainly everyone is different--but I'll soon be 52, work a demanding job, and one of my two kids is a special needs child--and I find Simmons's comment about slowing down at 50 almost beyond ludicrous.
 

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Grin&MartyBarret said:
Maybe I'm misremembering, but I could have sworn that Simmons announced last week that every Monday there was going to be a new NBA podcast--branded separately from the BS Report.
 
Am I missing something, or did that idea just take a single week to die?
 
In his recent podcast with Rusillo, he talks about a new branded podcast called "Bill Don't Lie" that would be coming in a week or two. I hadn't heard about this, so I was confused. 
 
He also we very complimentary of radio guys like Cowherd and Felger, so that confused me too.
 
Grin&MartyBarret said:
Maybe I'm misremembering, but I could have sworn that Simmons announced last week that every Monday there was going to be a new NBA podcast--branded separately from the BS Report.
 
Am I missing something, or did that idea just take a single week to die?
Do you remember the "Top 72 Sports Movies of the Past 33 Years?" I think he wrote about five.
 

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NW Sox Fan said:
Do you remember the "Top 72 Sports Movies of the Past 33 Years?" I think he wrote about five.
 
I'm not gonna lie, Simmons never following through on the Sports Movies was disappointing. He promised them when he was churning out thousands of words a week and I did like his movie recaps. Oh well. But, yes, I remember.
 

ifmanis5

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NW Sox Fan said:
Do you remember the "Top 72 Sports Movies of the Past 33 Years?" I think he wrote about five.
Yes, good call. Still waiting for that Eastern Conference preview as well.
 
 
I've been reading Bill since about 2002 and the overall evolution of my opinion on his writing is this:
 
'Hey, this is great. Glad I found him.'
'Well this is getting a bit repetitive.'
'Eh, at least the NBA material is still good.'
Skim... Skim... Skim... *shakes head, closes window*
 

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NW Sox Fan said:
Do you remember the "Top 72 Sports Movies of the Past 33 Years?" I think he wrote about five.
And joe Posnanski promised an iPad review for like 3 years on his blog, along both his top 100 baseball players, a couple a week....and it's been nearly two years and he just hot to like 40 (actually, I think it went from top 100 to top 50 so he has done ten of them)
 

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PC Drunken Friar said:
And joe Posnanski promised an iPad review for like 3 years on his blog, along both his top 100 baseball players, a couple a week....and it's been nearly two years and he just hot to like 40 (actually, I think it went from top 100 to top 50 so he has done ten of them)
He started at 100 with Curt Schilling.

http://joeposnanski.com/baseball-100/

And the difference between Pos and Simmons is that Pos writes a regular column four or five times a week, at least one book a year, a podcast every few weeks, actually goes on the road to research stories and does his blog.

Comparing Simmons to Pos lessens your point. Immensely.
 

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John Marzano Olympic Hero said:
He started at 100 with Curt Schilling.

http://joeposnanski.com/baseball-100/

And the difference between Pos and Simmons is that Pos writes a regular column four or five times a week, at least one book a year, a podcast every few weeks, actually goes on the road to research stories and does his blog.

Comparing Simmons to Pos lessens your point. Immensely.
Simmons runs a multi-media empire, He's the executive producer of multiple short films every year, editor in chief for a major website, puts out a lot of podcasts (12 in February if you treat the multipart ones as singles 16 if not), and has a monthly hour long TV special.  Treating Simmons like his column output is even close to his main job is disingenuous.
 
Also I assume the general point was that everyone plans to do stuff and it gets delayed or canceled, but people rip Simmons for it, but not Pos because they like the latter's writing better.
 

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John Marzano Olympic Hero said:
He started at 100 with Curt Schilling.

http://joeposnanski.com/baseball-100/

And the difference between Pos and Simmons is that Pos writes a regular column four or five times a week, at least one book a year, a podcast every few weeks, actually goes on the road to research stories and does his blog.

Comparing Simmons to Pos lessens your point. Immensely.
I was wrong about the 100, but he wrote the first 35-40 or so within the first 5-6 weeks.

And Posnanski does not write at least 1 book a year... Where the hell did this come from?

His first book, which was a collection of some of his columns was published in 01, the buck O'Neil was in 08, the big red machine in 10, paterno in 2013 and the nicholas one in June of 2015.

I am the biggest Pos fan there is, but shit happens and promised columns get shelved, delayed, etc. I just don't think it's a big deal.
 

Kliq

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We know JMOH and Bill have heat. With Simmons set to appear on Raw on Monday, I say we get those two in a steel cage and let them duke it out.
 

Clears Cleaver

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I think the point that people are missing is that value of Simmons written words is about 10th of the list of things that he gets paid to do. While everyone here considers themselves amazing editors and wordsmiths, at this point Simmons probably cares less about the quality and quantity of his writing than you do. People don't pay him to write. He does so when he feels moved to. Why harp on that? He's moved on.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Simmons runs a multi-media empire, He's the executive producer of multiple short films every year, editor in chief for a major website, puts out a lot of podcasts (12 in February if you treat the multipart ones as singles 16 if not), and has a monthly hour long TV special.  Treating Simmons like his column output is even close to his main job is disingenuous.
 
 
I did not make that distinction, PCDF brought up the writing comparison between Simmons and Posnanski. My point was that if you are going to compare them as writers and essentially say that, "Posnanski hasn't finished a lot of stuff too" then that's a poor comparison to make mainly because Simmons starts a lot of things that he never finishes: remember when he was going to be THE Tottenham Hotspur guy, or when he was going to countdown the top 72 sports movies ever, or his 2009 (I think) NBA East preview. 
 
When Posnanski doesn't follow through on his blog promises, it's a bit different as he's writing on his personal blog, which--I assume--takes a back seat to his every day work. So yes, I cut him a little bit more slack. 
 
And Posnanski does not write at least 1 book a year... Where the hell did this come from?
 
 
Cheerfully withdrawn. I thought that he did, but I was wrong. 
 
I am the biggest Pos fan there is, but shit happens and promised columns get shelved, delayed, etc. I just don't think it's a big deal.
 
 
I completely agree. 
 
I think the point that people are missing is that value of Simmons written words is about 10th of the list of things that he gets paid to do. 
 
 
"Tenth on the list of things he gets paid to do?" Where are you getting that? Bill Simmons helms Grantland because Bill Simmons' columns bring eyeballs to the site. I would bet that if you look at the numbers for the fall, Simmons' Friday NFL columns are one of the most read things on that site, if not THE most popular thing. What, do you think that Steve Hyden's latest piece comparing Arcade Fire to Dokken is lighting the world on fire? How about Molly Lambert's drivel about some shit reality show that no one gives a crap about?
 
Yes, Simmons has branched out and is on podcasts, executive produces films and is on a TV show; but most people know him as a writer. Did you watch the Christian Laetner 30 For 30 because it was a Bill Simmons joint? Of course not. 
 
"People don't pay him to write. He does so when he feels moved to. Why harp on that? He's moved on."
 
 
This is completely and totally false. 
 
While everyone here considers themselves amazing editors and wordsmiths, at this point Simmons probably cares less about the quality and quantity of his writing than you do. 
 
 
Two things:
 
1. If Bill Simmons cares less about the quality of his writing that *I* do, that's pretty damn sad. But I don't believe that. 
2. What does the bolded mean? That only Bill Simmons can talk about Bill Simmons? Seriously, we've come to that now? Listen, I know that you want to be C-Bug and have some fun at the Sports Guy Mansion and goof around Jalen, Jimmy and the gang; but blindly defending your hero is not going to lead you to that. 
 

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Clears Cleaver said:
I think the point that people are missing is that value of Simmons written words is about 10th of the list of things that he gets paid to do. While everyone here considers themselves amazing editors and wordsmiths, at this point Simmons probably cares less about the quality and quantity of his writing than you do. People don't pay him to write. He does so when he feels moved to. Why harp on that? He's moved on.
 
So I take it you think you're an amazing actor?
 

Clears Cleaver said:
Saw Skeleton Twins last night. Heder and Wiig... Wiig is mediocre, and I feel now like she's a one-trick pony. 
 
 
Oh, wait, you're an amazing football player, too?!:
 
Clears Cleaver said:
he was never really good before the injury and had the drops after he returned, l;argely because he couldn't get separation. Landry beat him out. 
 
This is the only thread on the entire board where people attack those who give their negative opinion on a topic by saying, essentially, "You aren't qualified to make that subjective criticism."   For fuck's sake, this entire site is devoted to following and opining on a game that absolutely none of us are remotely talented enough to play or coach.  Yet when someone says "Lugo sucks", I have never seen someone resort to: "Well, he's probably better than you, so shut up."  You know why? Because that's nothing more than a chickenshit attempt by the responding poster to get out of having to make a cogent counter argument.  
 
"Well, you're just jealous" and "How many books have you published?" are the last refuge of the dullard.
 

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drleather2001 said:
 
 
 
 
"Well, you're just jealous" and "How many books have you published?" are the last refuge of the dullard.
 
 
Isn't that more likely to be the dullard's first refuge?
 
 
If, in fact, writing is so far down the list of things that Simmons has the time or interest to focus on, then he shouldn't do it.  Jerry Seinfeld only returned to standup after his TV show went off the air. Tim Wakefield left college as the schools's all-time HR leader, but end up focussing on the things that advanced his career. 
OTOH--he's in a business; his writing is successul in that business; and there are new 20 year olds every day who don't say "Hmmmmm......I think I've seen this before...."
 

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joe dokes said:
If, in fact, writing is so far down the list of things that Simmons has the time or interest to focus on, then he shouldn't do it.  
I think some here have suggested just that but at this point Grantland without Simmons written material would take a huge revenue stream hit. He'd be shooting himself in the economic foot.
 

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ifmanis5 said:
I think some here have suggested just that but at this point Grantland without Simmons written material would take a huge revenue stream hit. He'd be shooting himself in the economic foot.
 
Sure. I understand completely why he doesn't.. Its his job, not some high-minded 'craft' that needs tending.  (and there's nothing wrong with that).
 

luckiestman

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The new Wesley Morris podcast is really funny. Simmons impersonation of guys that love pick off throws is good though I disagree that pick off throws should be eliminated.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Well, people here do criticize his actual writing in ways that no one criticizes Lugo's footwork or Gronk's route-running simply because most everyone has taken an English class, has written a story or is actually a writer/editor of some sort and maybe feels some form of expert. Certainly more than played baseball or football at any competitive level. Maybe not. But if you took that comment personally, I don't know what to say. And I never said people weren't qualified to make any opinion, but I think most of the criticisms in this thread look at his work from the consumer's perspective rather than the retailer's (consumer is like my comment on Wiig, she's made millions playing that same character, why should she change even if I don't like it. but I know I don't like her now so I likely won't go to her next movie). "His writing sucks now," "its a rambled mess," "it has no point," "don't waste my time reading it anymore," etc etc etc. Yet, his pocketbook is getting larger and larger and larger and, amazingly, he is getting to do a lot cooler things with his life than a blogger who spends 12 hours stressing over the construction of his next lead. Which is what he was 15 years ago when most of us first started to read him. I'm pretty sure that was my original point, but I didn't go back and proofread it for content or context. Same with Peter King, who I loathe as a personality and a writer, but he likely doesn't care what I or anyone but his boss thinks as long as the millions keep getting deposited in his Manhattan bank account. For some, the money matters more than the art. I'm guessing its more true for King than Simmons. Writing a 5,000 word piece takes a ton of time and effort for minimal pay. Simmons has basically created a place where he can have others do the work in his voice in topics he cares about while levering that platform for his own good. It's a lot cooler to have Lowe write 5,000 words on the Knicks potential free agents while you fly fish with Phil Jackson or hang out with Jalen and Kobe. Pretty sweet deal.
 
I worked with Simmons at the Herald in the sports department. I started the same time as Mazz and lived next door to Felger for a couple years while we went to BU and worked there covering high school and college sports. I didn't know Bill well as he was quiet and kind of a loner. Mazz was a loud mouth moron whom everyone loved. Felger was cocky and good looking and banging the hottest chick at BU (Sarah Blake I think, on the rowing team) and I was jealous. Lol. He was also politically savvy within the office. Those guys all succeeded at a level that most of the others there never did. Kudos to them because that place was a awful environment under Bob Sales and drove many people, like myself, right out of the business. Its ok to admire that, right? Even if I don't like Felger/Mazz show or read 75% of what's on Grantland, its pretty impressive how they all maxed out.   
 
As far was wanting to be J-Bug and hanging out with Simmons and Joe House and partying at Kimmel's and hosting Raw...sure, sign me up! sounds like a lot of fun. Certainly more fun than writing 20 posts blasting Kristen Wiig's next movie.  
 

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ernieshore said:
 
In his recent podcast with Rusillo, he talks about a new branded podcast called "Bill Don't Lie" that would be coming in a week or two. I hadn't heard about this, so I was confused. 
The new podcast kicked off this week. You get to hear him tell Mark Stein that he gets how Barcelona plays soccer because his daughter's U9 team plays the same way.
 

DrewDawg

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No U9 team plays possession soccer. None.
 
They all play the exact same way. A gaggle of kids chasing the ball.
 

TroyOLeary

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It was unclear because he never specifically says their name, but I'm almost certain he was referring to the LA Galaxy.  He mentions going to games with his daughter.
 

DLew On Roids

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Listen again. He was talking about how his daughter's team plays the Barcelona style. He never mentions the Galaxy.

And in fact, he talks about watching his daughter's team as a way of understanding soccer in his podcast with Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan as well. Imagine someone saying they understand the triangle offense because their son's U9 basketball team played it.
 

Blacken

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Eh. I did notice it, too, and it's pretty lame. Not dirty or anything, the music is from a royalty-free pack, but there's no way Simmons or his crew should have missed its use in the biggest basketball podcast there is. I mean, TBJ used to be on Grantland itself.
 

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DVR'd the basketball hour to see him break down the sport he arguably is the best at now. Couple observations 
 
1) Him and russillo are a terrible combo. 
2) He can't mock tv effectively like he does with the "hyperbolic chamber"  when he's so poor at it. 
3) I don' think he should try to run a tv show. If he is going to do a basketball one he should be required to be discussing things with Lowe. 
 

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I also posted this in the Grantand thread, but IMO the new page design at ESPN.com all but hides access to Grantland and 538, and led me to wonder if ESPN is trying to kill off those sites.
 
And I'm waiting for the Simmons rant/lawsuit.