Bill Simmons: Valuing Trades More Than Friendships

Vandalman

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They finally did The Shawshank Redemption on The Rewatchables and it was worth the wait. It was Bill, Chris Ryan and Bill's father on the podcast and it was nearly as long as the movie! Great insight into a classic they all loved. Fortunately, I had seen it just a few days before this. One thing that bugs me, though, is that no one brought up the remarkable resemblance between the character Bogs Diamond (head of "The Sisters" rape gang) and Dallas coach Jason Garrett.
 

cromulence

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They finally did The Shawshank Redemption on The Rewatchables and it was worth the wait. It was Bill, Chris Ryan and Bill's father on the podcast and it was nearly as long as the movie! Great insight into a classic they all loved. Fortunately, I had seen it just a few days before this. One thing that bugs me, though, is that no one brought up the remarkable resemblance between the character Bogs Diamond (head of "The Sisters" rape gang) and Dallas coach Jason Garrett.
It was a good listen, but there was zero reason for Bill's dad to be there. He brought nothing to the conversation at all - it seemed like he was there solely because he used to call Bill and tell him when it was on TNT. In fairness, I pretty much always feel that way when Bill's dad is on the podcast, so maybe it's just me.
 

Vandalman

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It was a good listen, but there was zero reason for Bill's dad to be there. He brought nothing to the conversation at all - it seemed like he was there solely because he used to call Bill and tell him when it was on TNT. In fairness, I pretty much always feel that way when Bill's dad is on the podcast, so maybe it's just me.
This is the first time I've heard Bill's dad and, you're right, he didn't add a whole lot to it. He jumped the gun on a few segments ("We're not picking nits yet, Dad,") but the others seemed to cover for him.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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I won't listen to any podcast (or podcast segment) that Bill's dad is involved with - or any other member of Bill's family, actually. I don't know why I should care what they have to say, and I don't enjoy their delivery, and I don't see the point. The "Around the NFL" podcast has a recurring segment where the host, Dan Hanzus, calls his Jets fan father for a quick hit of commentary: they go into it with a funny jingle ("His name is Keith, he's Dan's dad, no doubt about it he's a big Jets fan - what is he gonna say about the game today? What is he gonna say about the game today?"), he speaks for around 30 seconds, or a minute tops, and he's out and that's it. *That* is how to work a family member into a podcast.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I won't listen to any podcast (or podcast segment) that Bill's dad is involved with - or any other member of Bill's family, actually. I don't know why I should care what they have to say, and I don't enjoy their delivery, and I don't see the point. The "Around the NFL" podcast has a recurring segment where the host, Dan Hanzus, calls his Jets fan father for a quick hit of commentary: they go into it with a funny jingle ("His name is Keith, he's Dan's dad, no doubt about it he's a big Jets fan - what is he gonna say about the game today? What is he gonna say about the game today?"), he speaks for around 30 seconds, or a minute tops, and he's out and that's it. *That* is how to work a family member into a podcast.
I can understand not caring what his dad or son or cousin or whomever has to stay about the NBA or NFL or whatever. But for a podcast about movies, what's the difference? What sort of expert opinion does Bill or Chris Ryan bring to a discussion of Shawshank Redemption that Bill's dad doesn't? I'm not saying his presence elevated the episode or anything (though I was mildly amused by Bill having to repeatedly admonish his dad "we're not to that part yet"), but I'm not sure that putting Mallory Rubin or Shea Serrano in that third chair makes a significant difference in the long run. I mean, why should I care what Mallory thinks about it any more than I care about Bill's dad?

I listen or have listened to many podcasts that are/were retrospectives of TV shows and movies. Most of which are hosted and produced by people I've never heard of and have no particular ties to or expertise on the shows. They're just big fans. I put the Rewatchables into that category. I don't really care what the bona fides of the panelists are, as long as they have some chemistry with each other and produce interesting discussions.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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I can understand not caring what his dad or son or cousin or whomever has to stay about the NBA or NFL or whatever. But for a podcast about movies, what's the difference? What sort of expert opinion does Bill or Chris Ryan bring to a discussion of Shawshank Redemption that Bill's dad doesn't? I'm not saying his presence elevated the episode or anything (though I was mildly amused by Bill having to repeatedly admonish his dad "we're not to that part yet"), but I'm not sure that putting Mallory Rubin or Shea Serrano in that third chair makes a significant difference in the long run. I mean, why should I care what Mallory thinks about it any more than I care about Bill's dad?
It's not about expert opinions, it's about how those opinions are delivered. The Rewatchables podcast stands and falls on how funny and/or clever its participants are. Is Bill's dad funny? Is he clever? Is he particularly well-spoken, for that matter? Bill and Chris and Mallory and Shea work for a media company and are paid to be funny and/or clever on podcasts. Mind you, so apparently does Nephew Kyle, and his only credentials for being a podcast producer are the genes he shares with Bill's wife. (The young Bill Simmons would have been furious with the old Bill Simmons' transparent nepotism, but whatever, I'm just a guy trying to break into the sports media business and my surname isn't Buck or Albert or Brennaman or McDonough or Caray or Kalas or....)
 

Spelunker

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Bill's dad almost ruins it. I don't care that it's their family movie. He doesn't add anything, and it takes away from someone more interesting and insightful.
 

Joe Sixpack

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I've been the opposite.

Both of my kids like to play baseball, but one of them loves to watch it. He's 7, and comes home from school, does whatever shit he has to do, just so he can be in front of the TV at 6:05 when the Twins game starts. He gets bent out of shape if we make plans and he's not able to watch a game. As a result, I've become more invested in MLB over the past few years, because baseball is something my wife and I are totally fine with having on in the background while we do other things. It's been impossible not to become more aware of general baseball stuff, if only through osmosis.

I doubt most kids are as passionate as mine, but I do know that other parents who maybe stopped caring about baseball sometime in their 20s have started watching it again because their little league-playing son or daughter expresses an interest, so it's an opportunity to pick an old pass time back up in the name of having a common interest with your kid.
My kids are 6 and 4 and not much interest in watching sports yet, although the 6 year old is starting to get into basketball. A lot of Celtics games start at 7:30 or 8 when he's going to bed so we'll watch a few minutes or the 1st quarter together. That's as far as I've got though. It'd be great to get into it more with them in another couple years.
 

Dropkick Izzy

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The Walrus brought nothing to the table, and they could just as easily have had Wes Morris on instead. He shouldn’t have been there.

Now if Bill wants to effectively deploy his dad, he’d have him on for “Kramer vs Kramer”.
 

The Needler

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How can you guys say Bill's dad brought nothing to the table. It was only through him that I learned Bill actually made that movie famous.
 

ElUno20

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So Bill will be doing an updated Book of Basketball in podcast form with interviews, deep dives, etc.


I dont know why it sounds incredibly boring to me. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago but today does anyone really care if a guy is slotted 14th or 17th on a made up list? I guess depending on the guest it has potential to be interesting.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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So Bill will be doing an updated Book of Basketball in podcast form with interviews, deep dives, etc.


I dont know why it sounds incredibly boring to me. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago but today does anyone really care if a guy is slotted 14th or 17th on a made up list? I guess depending on the guest it has potential to be interesting.
One of the things that made TBoB so fun to read, was that it was a good bathroom book or it was a good book to read a few chapters and put down for a few days. An updated podcast? Hard pass.
 

Kliq

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I’m excited for it; anyone that thought Bill was going to write another 700 page book deserves to be disappointed. As someone that has read the book probably 5-6 times; I have a ton of questions about how the game has changed over the last decade and how guys are evaluated. For instance, he kind of buries Dirk in the book as a guy who was never good enough to win it all and choked away a championship. Obviously that opinion and ranking is going to half to change. His “What If?” Chapter also deserves plenty of updating, considering everything that has happened over the last ten years.
 

Spacemans Bong

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One of the things that made TBoB so fun to read, was that it was a good bathroom book or it was a good book to read a few chapters and put down for a few days. An updated podcast? Hard pass.
I just re-read it in exactly that way -- on the can. It and the Bill James Historical Abstract (another book I'd love to see updated) are maybe the two greatest bathroom books in sports.
 

Kliq

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The Bill James Abstract desperately needs to be updated again. The best part is when he launches into a long analytical essay about how Sammy Sosa can go from being a scrub to hitting 60 homers and never once mentions steroid use.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I’m excited for it; anyone that thought Bill was going to write another 700 page book deserves to be disappointed.
I didn't think that he'd write another 700-page book, mostly because Simmons isn't a writer any more. But it would have been nice if he did.

The Bill James Abstract desperately needs to be updated again.
Agreed. The last one came out in 2001, I believe. WTF has he been doing for 18 years?
 

Foxy42

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I’d think if the BoB podcast as just being an nba nerd / deep dive podcast vs thinking of it as BoB volume 2. A chance to dive into recent nba history instead of just current events. The BoB label is just a way to market it / give it a title.

I’m looking forward to it and while I won’t prioritize listening as they come out, it will be good to have in reserve.
 

Vandalman

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I just heard Bill, Sean and Chris talk about The Shining on The Rewatchables and it was outstanding. There are so many theories about what Kubrick was trying to convey and they covered a lot of them. Plus, bad Nicholson impressions! I'm glad to see them continuing their run of 80s movies. Maybe they'll tackle Full Metal Jacket in the near future.
 

coremiller

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On the Steph Curry pyramid pod, Bill noted that Steph led the league in true shooting % in 2015-16 but admitted he didn't know what TS% is. Seriously Bill? This is 2019, it's not that wild of a concept.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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I liked the Steve Kerr interview on the Book of Basketball 2.0. I was surprised at how candid he was regarding Kevin Durant. He basically admitted that KD was upset that he caught so much shit for going to GS and didn't get enough "credit" when they won. He sort of insinuated that KD torpedoed the whole team last year.
 

Kliq

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I've really enjoyed the Book of Basketball podcasts so far. The prologue he did was really interesting, because it was clear he was just reading a long-form piece that he had already written. The Kerr podcast was also really interesting, because as PC pointed out above, he is really candid about Durant and this is far from a BB/Pop interview. I think that is an example of a strength that Simmons has where he has really solid relationships with a lot of people, so they are more willing to be open to discussing controversial topics on his podcast.

I just finished the one on Shaq he recorded with JA Adande and it is fantastic. Just a thorough deep dive into a modern star's career, with enough hindsight having set in that I think they build a fair assessment of his career. I agree that Shaq is probably a bit underrated today, which is hard to believe given how famous he was and still is. I'm really looking forward to the future pods, presumably on Duncan, LeBron, Kobe, Durant, etc.
 

luckiestman

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I've really enjoyed the Book of Basketball podcasts so far. The prologue he did was really interesting, because it was clear he was just reading a long-form piece that he had already written. The Kerr podcast was also really interesting, because as PC pointed out above, he is really candid about Durant and this is far from a BB/Pop interview. I think that is an example of a strength that Simmons has where he has really solid relationships with a lot of people, so they are more willing to be open to discussing controversial topics on his podcast.

I just finished the one on Shaq he recorded with JA Adande and it is fantastic. Just a thorough deep dive into a modern star's career, with enough hindsight having set in that I think they build a fair assessment of his career. I agree that Shaq is probably a bit underrated today, which is hard to believe given how famous he was and still is. I'm really looking forward to the future pods, presumably on Duncan, LeBron, Kobe, Durant, etc.
Adande is great and hope he is on more BS podcasts.
 

nattysez

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Late to this, but their podcasts must be minting money for Bill to take this approach to updating the book, no? If website ads were more lucrative than podcast ads, I have to think he'd be publishing these on The Ringer in written form. Or does he just not like to write enough anymore to do that?
 

Kliq

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Late to this, but their podcasts must be minting money for Bill to take this approach to updating the book, no? If website ads were more lucrative than podcast ads, I have to think he'd be publishing these on The Ringer in written form. Or does he just not like to write enough anymore to do that?
I don't think that it is a secret that podcasts are the main source of revenue for The Ringer.

If I'm going to be honest, if you listen to the prologue it sounds like he had parts of the book already written and decided ultimately to scrap that idea and go with the podcast format. Whether that was to be in book form or a series of columns, who knows.

As a huge fan of the book; I obviously wanted another one. However, after listening to a few podcasts there are obvious strengths to doing it in podcast form; I don't think you get that kind of a good, 90 minute breakdown of Shaq's career between two thoughtful guys; one of whom is a life-long Laker fan who was at the LA Times during Shaq's peak. Adande and Bill are really good together, they agree and disagree a healthy amount and bring a lot of perspective to the topic they are discussing. If this is a 5,000 word Ringer piece or a chapter in a book where it is all just Bill's thoughts on Shaq, I don't think it would be nearly as interesting.
 

johnmd20

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Late to this, but their podcasts must be minting money for Bill to take this approach to updating the book, no? If website ads were more lucrative than podcast ads, I have to think he'd be publishing these on The Ringer in written form. Or does he just not like to write enough anymore to do that?
It's definitely a combination of factors. Simmons doesn't want to write AND Podcasts are a huge source of revenue. Combine those factors and it is a no brainer than Simmons would "write" the 2nd book via Podcast. It makes sense up and down the line.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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When he had Gladwell on his pod recently promoting his new book, Bill was very interested in hearing from Gladwell about how audiobook sales were super high, and posited that a whole generation of Gladwell fans were more familiar with his podcasts than his earlier books at this point. I wonder if that was a turning point in Bill deciding to go with a podcast version instead of a printed book.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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If this is a 5,000 word Ringer piece or a chapter in a book where it is all just Bill's thoughts on Shaq, I don't think it would be nearly as interesting.
Bingo. That's really how Bill keeps his podcast going, is opening up the tent. His monologues mainly fall flat nowadays just due to not flexing his writing muscle as much or having bigger responsibilities than living & dying with day to day sports events like when starting out.
 

bbc23

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When he had Gladwell on his pod recently promoting his new book, Bill was very interested in hearing from Gladwell about how audiobook sales were super high, and posited that a whole generation of Gladwell fans were more familiar with his podcasts than his earlier books at this point. I wonder if that was a turning point in Bill deciding to go with a podcast version instead of a printed book.
I don't think there's any way it wasn't significantly along by then. That pod was recorded mid-September, we know the Kerr podcast was recorded early October. Not sure how long it'd take with all the planning to get this going but it certainly was on the way by then.

Agreed that the Shaq pod was fantastic, and I hope Bill continues to bring on guests that have that kind of inside look at the players he has episodes on. He mentioned there being an episode on Chris Webber in the can or planned which should be pretty interesting.