The Bill Simmons Thread

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I don’t agree with the last half of his idea (trading a World Series for Mookie years) but I wholeheartedly agree with him about the first 45 seconds. 1000000%.
 

nattysez

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Apparently Simmons hosted " A Conversation with Larry David" at the MGM Theatre at Fenway tonight. My friend who is a curmudgeon thought Simmons did a bad job. Good for Simmons to develop a relationship with David -- that could be a useful connection in the future.
 

NickEsasky

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Apparently Simmons hosted " A Conversation with Larry David" at the MGM Theatre at Fenway tonight. My friend who is a curmudgeon thought Simmons did a bad job. Good for Simmons to develop a relationship with David -- that could be a useful connection in the future.
I was there last night. Bill sucked as a moderator. By the end Larry was pretty dismissive of him "yeah we covered all this in the show, let's take some questions."
 

bankshot1

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They did a podcast together a couple of months ago on the Ringer that really had a good flow and there was a solid chemistry between them. It was pretty clear they were both very familiar and big fans with each other's work. (I was surprised the LD was that into Simmons, and it sounded like LD was up for doing a Rewatchable). Perhaps the MGM gig was too soon after and for them it was covering old ground.
 

luckiestman

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They did a podcast together a couple of months ago on the Ringer that really had a good flow and there was a solid chemistry between them. It was pretty clear they were both very familiar and big fans with each other's work. (I was surprised the LD was that into Simmons, and it sounded like LD was up for doing a Rewatchable). Perhaps the MGM gig was too soon after and for them it was covering old ground.
Tough spot for a host in that the guest could be bored but who the hell knows if the audience heard the podcast.
 

chrisfont9

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Apparently Simmons hosted " A Conversation with Larry David" at the MGM Theatre at Fenway tonight. My friend who is a curmudgeon thought Simmons did a bad job. Good for Simmons to develop a relationship with David -- that could be a useful connection in the future.
He's not a great interviewer of celebrities in particular, and is a mixed bag with athletes. He leans waaaaay too much into his own view of that person's work, which is a very pop-culture view typically, and pretty often the people he's talking to are not going to be interested in that stuff. I've interviewed athletes over the years, and in my experience the key is to somehow get into *their* experience of what they do, rather than your uninformed perception of it, if you want to have an interesting conversation. Even if you can't really understand what they do, it's fine, they understand that and will probably engage meaningfully anyway. He has a big audience so the people he's talking to usually try to be nice about it, but it often gets cringy.

I like Simmons, his basketball and football knowledge is strong, the Rewatchables are usually super fun, and he's certainly created an interesting, very young and now finally a bit diverse media universe. But he's had this blind spot forever. And he stopped having interesting baseball takes when he got dismissive of analytics more than a decade ago.
 

Auger34

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I was there last night. Bill sucked as a moderator. By the end Larry was pretty dismissive of him "yeah we covered all this in the show, let's take some questions."
Can you go into more detail on this? Really interested in hearing more
 

NickEsasky

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It's probably not the easiest task to do this type of thing with Larry who is going to be Larry. But Bill as is his wont, put everything through his own lens - which included a big emphasis on sports. He made multiple references to Larry's random which, let's be honest, no one was there to hear about. He also came across as a cross between Galifinakis' character in Between Two Ferns and Chris Farley's on SNL. Bill didn't really draw much out of Larry but maybe no one would have. Bill started doing a greatest bits segment and after a few notable ones where Larry just repeated the scenes from the show for the most part Larry uttered the line above. Maybe it was all planned though as they had been speaking for about an hour by that point. I just think a better interviewer could have gotten more out of Larry for the audience versus let's talk about the funniest scenes we've all watched multiple times.

Larry does seem to really love Susie Essman and JB Smoove though as he said they got him to break a bunch of times.
 

luckiestman

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Here's the thing about the great Bill Simmons: I think he's the top podder in the whole game when it comes to sports radio or panel show hosting. He's elevated this shit to levels unseen before his time. His stuff with Sal, Russillo, Rewatchables, any kind of "hosting", the guy creates an unmatched vibe and is super entertaining. Whatever that skill or talent is, my guy's got it. Now for the bad stuff, his straight-up interviewing? It's shit, no other way to say it. He get's good fucking guests too because they probably love his show but the celeb interviews are not the "show". He isn't close to Maron or even Rogan, never mind great interviewers like Terry Gross or Tyler Cowen.

edit: For example, he can have a guy like Barkley on and shoot the shit and there will be some interview type elements and it will be really good, but any straight up "I don't really know this guy, let me talk to him about" thing? I swear I would be way better because that is how bad Bill is. It's kind of strange how it seems like it should be the same kind of thing but it's apparently a discrete thing.
 
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jacklamabe65

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In my teaching career (1979-24), I taught third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, eighth and ninth grade honors English, a senior writing seminar, and eighth-grade 20th-century American history. Bill seems to be one of those colleagues who taught sixth grade exclusively and was exceptional at it, but he also seemed personally and professionally stuck.
 
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kenneycb

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He was on the forefront of internet writing, forefront of podcasting, and ran and sold a company, all in the span of 25 years. Plus he’s basically running the podcasting strategy at a multi-billion dollar company now. I have no idea how you can make that claim.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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He was on the forefront of internet writing, forefront of podcasting, and ran and sold a company, all in the span of 25 years. Plus he’s basically running the podcasting strategy at a multi-billion dollar company now. I have no idea how you can make that claim.
He started off bartending in Allston while writing about Tennis players nipples (living off his family dime, though). He was a sportsaholic who loved and respected journalism. He has met/interviewed/counts as his friends literally all his heroes in the sports, journalism and Hollywood world. And still does what he loves and does whatever the fuck he wants to and is worth 100s (?) of millions of dollars. It is hard to imagine a bigger "regular" person fulfilling their dreams as much as Simmons. It really is an incredible stroy.
 

Remagellan

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He started off bartending in Allston while writing about Tennis players nipples (living off his family dime, though). He was a sportsaholic who loved and respected journalism. He has met/interviewed/counts as his friends literally all his heroes in the sports, journalism and Hollywood world. And still does what he loves and does whatever the fuck he wants to and is worth 100s (?) of millions of dollars. It is hard to imagine a bigger "regular" person fulfilling their dreams as much as Simmons. It really is an incredible stroy.
Dave Portnoy? Who I guess is kind of the Bizarro version of Bill Simmons.
 

TheGazelle

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Dave Portnoy? Who I guess is kind of the Bizarro version of Bill Simmons.
Portnoy is a better example of jacklamabe's "always a sixth grade teacher" analogy - Portnoy hasn't grown at all past being a shithead. To torture the analogy a bit, Simmons now I think is more in the mold of someone who has been successful teaching a bunch of different grades but is comfortable coasting along teaching whatever he likes at the tail end of his career because he's already proven how successful he can be.
 

8slim

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Here's the thing about the great Bill Simmons: I think he's the top podder in the whole game when it comes to sports radio or panel show hosting. He's elevated this shit to levels unseen before his time. His stuff with Sal, Russillo, Rewatchables, any kind of "hosting", the guy creates an unmatched vibe and is super entertaining. Whatever that skill or talent is, my guy's got it. Now for the bad stuff, his straight-up interviewing? It's shit, no other way to say it. He get's good fucking guests too because they probably love his show but the celeb interviews are not the "show". He isn't close to Maron or even Rogan, never mind great interviewers like Terry Gross or Tyler Cowen.

edit: For example, he can have a guy like Barkley on and shoot the shit and there will be some interview type elements and it will be really good, but any straight up "I don't really know this guy, let me talk to him about" thing? I swear I would be way better because that is how bad Bill is. It's kind of strange how it seems like it should be the same kind of thing but it's apparently a discrete thing.
This is spot on, IMHO.

Bill is an immensely talented guy, and I agree that he's the best sports podcast host going. I've searched for years to find a baseball pod that is as entertaining and engrossing as his NBA work, and I've yet to find one that even comes close.

The thing about his lack of interview skill is that for all his talents, Bill doesn't strike me as particularly curious. He's fantastic at generating his own takes, and creating interesting frameworks for discussing topics. But he's terrible at being interested in anyone else's perspective. I mean, how many times does he say something to this effect to Rusillo: "What's your thoughts on X? Here's what I think..." He's an only child who is great at building his own world, not so much learning about others.

And that's fine. No one is great at everything.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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He started off bartending in Allston while writing about Tennis players nipples (living off his family dime, though). He was a sportsaholic who loved and respected journalism. He has met/interviewed/counts as his friends literally all his heroes in the sports, journalism and Hollywood world. And still does what he loves and does whatever the fuck he wants to and is worth 100s (?) of millions of dollars. It is hard to imagine a bigger "regular" person fulfilling their dreams as much as Simmons. It really is an incredible stroy.
It bears noting that the only reason Simmons was able to start while bartending is that his dad was paying his rent for him. This isn't necessarily a knock on Simmons, just an example that he had privilege that a lot of other people didn't.

His shtik wore very thin for me long ago so I don't much care for him, but I would not deny his success has been incredible.
 

Kliq

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It bears noting that the only reason Simmons was able to start while bartending is that his dad was paying his rent for him. This isn't necessarily a knock on Simmons, just an example that he had privilege that a lot of other people didn't.

His shtik wore very thin for me long ago so I don't much care for him, but I would not deny his success has been incredible.
Pretty much every famous writer came from some money, went to prep school, etc. Not unique to Simmons at all.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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It bears noting that the only reason Simmons was able to start while bartending is that his dad was paying his rent for him. This isn't necessarily a knock on Simmons, just an example that he had privilege that a lot of other people didn't.

His shtik wore very thin for me long ago so I don't much care for him, but I would not deny his success has been incredible.
Haha, yes thought I implied that? What bar was it, Harrys?
 

m0ckduck

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This is spot on, IMHO.

Bill is an immensely talented guy, and I agree that he's the best sports podcast host going. I've searched for years to find a baseball pod that is as entertaining and engrossing as his NBA work, and I've yet to find one that even comes close.

The thing about his lack of interview skill is that for all his talents, Bill doesn't strike me as particularly curious. He's fantastic at generating his own takes, and creating interesting frameworks for discussing topics. But he's terrible at being interested in anyone else's perspective. I mean, how many times does he say something to this effect to Rusillo: "What's your thoughts on X? Here's what I think..." He's an only child who is great at building his own world, not so much learning about others.

And that's fine. No one is great at everything.
I agree with the general assessment, but can we stop using Only Child Theory as a key to understanding Simmons? It's beneath the collective intelligence of this board. There is no evidence of an "only child" personality type— it's junk science.

And, yes, I'm an only child and that's why it slightly annoys me.
 

Spelunker

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I agree with the general assessment, but can we stop using Only Child Theory as a key to understanding Simmons? It's beneath the collective intelligence of this board. There is no evidence of an "only child" personality type— it's junk science.

And, yes, I'm an only child and that's why it slightly annoys me.
Just like an only child to make it all about yourself.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I haven't really consumed anything by Simmons in years, but recently his quick 2-3 minute reels have been showing up in my social media feeds and I have to say that I like them very much. He does a really good job with those.
 

Auger34

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Portnoy is a better example of jacklamabe's "always a sixth grade teacher" analogy - Portnoy hasn't grown at all past being a shithead. To torture the analogy a bit, Simmons now I think is more in the mold of someone who has been successful teaching a bunch of different grades but is comfortable coasting along teaching whatever he likes at the tail end of his career because he's already proven how successful he can be.
This is probably true. He’s always had some pretty glaring weaknesses (he’s an awful interviewer if it’s not his employee or college friend) but he’s kind of settled into a role now. He definitely doesn’t want to go a ton of extra work and he wants to talk to a very specific group of people around it.

IMO, if it’s not about the NBA, he’s absolutely worthless. His NBA takes are 100% worse than they were before but they are still pretty good
 

Auger34

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This is spot on, IMHO.

Bill is an immensely talented guy, and I agree that he's the best sports podcast host going. I've searched for years to find a baseball pod that is as entertaining and engrossing as his NBA work, and I've yet to find one that even comes close.



And that's fine. No one is great at everything.
Are you a fantasy football fan? If you are, I think there are a few that are better than Bill.

to me, the gold standard is the fantasy footballers. They’re informative, entertaining, and have a great chemistry between the 3 of them. @johnmd20 can back me up on this

If Zach Lowe was able to keep a tighter rotation, I think he’s better than Bill. but he has some complete 0’s on his rotation though.

I’m going to be the debbie downer here but this version of Bill really isn’t that great. He’s still good but he’s definitely coasting off of his previous successes.
 

8slim

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Are you a fantasy football fan? If you are, I think there are a few that are better than Bill.

to me, the gold standard is the fantasy footballers. They’re informative, entertaining, and have a great chemistry between the 3 of them. @johnmd20 can back me up on this

If Zach Lowe was able to keep a tighter rotation, I think he’s better than Bill. but he has some complete 0’s on his rotation though.

I’m going to be the debbie downer here but this version of Bill really isn’t that great. He’s still good but he’s definitely coasting off of his previous successes.
I play fantasy football but I can’t stand FF talk. Bores me to tears.

I read the coasting talk here all the time, but it doesn’t land with me. Audio is a format that relies heavily on repeatable formats. There’s a certain familiarity that attracts people to spend hours each week with a show. That applies to talk radio as well as podcasts, IMHO.

But hey, different strokes and all.
 

CaptainLaddie

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I play fantasy football but I can’t stand FF talk. Bores me to tears.

I read the coasting talk here all the time, but it doesn’t land with me. Audio is a format that relies heavily on repeatable formats. There’s a certain familiarity that attracts people to spend hours each week with a show. That applies to talk radio as well as podcasts, IMHO.

But hey, different strokes and all.
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nattysez

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to me, the gold standard is the fantasy footballers. They’re informative, entertaining, and have a great chemistry between the 3 of them.
Strong second on this. Thoroughly entertaining while still being pretty deep into the numbers.
 

johnmd20

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Strong second on this. Thoroughly entertaining while still being pretty deep into the numbers.
And as tagged, strong thirded from me, too. The entertaining part is crucial, Andy, Mike, and Jason are very funny and entertaining. They do bits with some players' names, which is satisfying. They are huge fans of the game as well as the fantasy part. But they are also all about their players and their teams, which is authentic.

I listen to every episode they put out (I don't listen to the bonus one, tho, but I do their Patreon) but if you don't want too much homework, I would suggest episodes starting in the 2nd week in August for prep. And during the season, the only episode you just cannot miss is the Tuesday waiver episode. Monday is a recap of the weekend, which is fun and entertaining, but not crucial. Thursday and Friday are previews of the coming weekend, which is helpful to decide on what fringe players should sit or start. Wednesday is just free talk.

But the waiver episode should be listened to by every fantasy player in any half competitive league. They are very good at identifying players you should seek out as well as how hard you should go for them. It's how you win fantasy leagues.
 

8slim

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I defend Simmons a decent amount here. He was on The Town podcast yesterday talking NBA rights. Woof. Painful. He may have good business instincts, but he is flat out lousy at discussing media matters.
 

Kliq

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Sean Fennessey's torching of Joel Embiid was hilarious. Just pure, vitriolic, hatred.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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Sean Fennessey's torching of Joel Embiid was hilarious. Just pure, vitriolic, hatred.
That was great, very funny because he's usually rolling his eyes and acting holier than thou at Bill's or Chris Ryan's crude comments during the Rewatchables. But wow did he pull a flamethrower out!
 

kenneycb

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I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with that takeaway. I was not expecting gin to finish the “I poured myself a tall glass of…” sentence.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Sign me up for Fennessey pissed off about sports over basically all of his other regular sports guests. I’ve heard him occasionally go off like that on The Big Picture, but this was infinitely funnier. Largely because he wasn’t trying to be funny/it wasn’t more mannered schtick like some of Bill’s regulars, just pure uncut sports rage. Also, it didn’t come back to gambling talk.
 

Kliq

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Sign me up for Fennessey pissed off about sports over basically all of his other regular sports guests. I’ve heard him occasionally go off like that on The Big Picture, but this was infinitely funnier. Largely because he wasn’t trying to be funny/it wasn’t more mannered schtick like some of Bill’s regulars, just pure uncut sports rage.
He also wasn't afraid to just go all in destroying a popular player. Since he isn't a regular guy in the sports space, I think he felt more comfortable letting it fly.
 

Spelunker

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I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with that takeaway. I was not expecting gin to finish the “I poured myself a tall glass of…” sentence.
Don't get me wrong: I love gin. When people ask me "vodka or gin" when I order a martini I choke down my annoyance. Give me all the gin, in all it's odd varieties.

But I don't know there is a base liquor less appropriate for straight drinking than gin. As useless as I generally find vodka, is there a more degenerate move than drinking straight gin?

Now that I think of it, maybe it's perfect: that's how low he'd sunk. He was in a straight gin zone. That's Paul Schrader territory.

(From what I recall, Fennessey is normal a whiskey guy)
 

CaptainLaddie

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Don't get me wrong: I love gin. When people ask me "vodka or gin" when I order a martini I choke down my annoyance. Give me all the gin, in all it's odd varieties.

But I don't know there is a base liquor less appropriate for straight drinking than gin. As useless as I generally find vodka, is there a more degenerate move than drinking straight gin?

Now that I think of it, maybe it's perfect: that's how low he'd sunk. He was in a straight gin zone. That's Paul Schrader territory.

(From what I recall, Fennessey is normal a whiskey guy)
I think my lowest night was the night after Game 3 in 2004. I was at my parents house, I was basically unemployed, and I was alone. I got home from my part-time job working as a bartender at the Boston Opera House and all that was in the house to drink was Cachaça. It's just pure sugar, which means pure hangover. My god. The next morning wasn't good.
 

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Simmons is at his absolute dumbest when he discusses QB intangibles. His dad was also just completely making shit up about teammates liking Maye more than Caleb Williams.