Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rise and Fire

Don't write this down, but I find The Sports Guy probably as annoying as you find The Sports Guy. The Sports Gal finds him boring, too. He's a little bit long-winded, he doesn't translate very well into our generation, and his jokes are terrible.

Having said that, his most recent podcast is really good. In it, he interviews Gus Johnson, everybody's favorite play-by-play sportscaster, the voice of the New York Knicks, and the star of CBS' coverage of the NCAA Tournament. Discussion topics include Stephon Marbury's selfishness, Isiah Thomas' coaching ability, David Lee's floor game and curly 'fro, broadcasting in small towns, and how he almost went to law school. Mainly, he's just a likeable guy who's fun to listen to - in addition to being a good broadcaster, he seems like plain 'ol good company.

I've liked Johnson for years; too few people realize that he's been with the MSG network for 13 years by now. Between Johnson, Mike Breen and Walt Frazier, the Knicks have the best team of basketball broadcasters out of any NBA team. Plus, he's Catholic educated and a graduate of Howard University - how can you not like the guy?


ShakenNeighborSyndrome said...

I've heard Mrs. Milton finds sports guy pretty dull, too.

Paul Smecker said...

i like that sports gal is taking him behind the woodshed on picks.

Wade Garrett said...

I do, too. Simmons is a funny writer, but he doesn't know as much about sports as he thinks he does. To his credit, its good to have a writer who pays attention to chemistry and conflicting personalities and relates them to what happens on the field, as opposed to either ignoring them or else writing about them as if they were interesting in their own right.

Wade Garrett said...

Its ironic to me that Simmons entirely misinterpreted the Colts-Pats rivalry up until this year, the year in which it has the least currency. For years he played the "Peyton Manning can't win the big game!" and "Tom Brady JUST WINS FOOTBALL GAMES" cards until everybody was tired of hearing about them, while totally ignoring the fact that Manning was clearly the best player on the best or second-best team in the NFL, while nobody, even Bob Kraft, considered Tom Brady to be the best player on the Patriots. He's right about the Pats and the Colts this year - that both teams are the best they've ever been, that the Pats have finally found a way to score explosively on offense and the Colts have finally found a cold-weather running game and an excellent defense - only, this year, the Colts are so banged-up that their eventual playoff meeting is going to be robbed of much of its innate drama.

8yearoldsdude said...

I will stand up, like the quaker that I am, to speak the truth regarding simmons. He is damn great.

He basically invented modern sports commentary and continues to be engaging and readable despite his overexposure and being forced to write more columns a week than is really plausible. the huge internet backlash stems from jealousy, but no one is doing it nearly as well.

is anything that gene wojichowski, jemele hill, chard ford, gregg easterbrook or anyone else in america writing that is as funny or interesting regarding sports? no.

and Wade, before you mention Roger Angell, you have to reread his paean about joe torre in the new yorker a few weeks ago in which he described torre as heroic for taking the yanks to the playoffs so many years in a row in the era of dynasty shattering revenue-sharing. I almost killed myself.

Wade Garrett said...

8yearoldsdude - Didn't you once describe Simmons as a "second-tier jester whom we love because he isn't so different from us?"

For the record, I don't hate Bill Simmons. I made that joke mainly because Jake had just posted that Animal House clip. I think Simmons is really funny, and he's a great NBA writer, but his annoying tendencies - mainly, his habitual recylcing of jokes that weren't that funny to begin with, his strained analogies to pop-culture ephemera from the 70's and 80's, and his endless carping about the greatness of all things Boston - are made exponentially worse by the frequency with which he publishes columns.

All three of this traits were on display in his recent column about the Pats-Colts game. His main thesis was that the referees screwed the Patriots in that game because he wanted to punish them and/or wanted to see them lose so that casual fans wouldn't write off the rest of the regular season. I had no rooting interest in that game, and I watched it with two Patriots fans, and none of us thought that the Patriots got screwed by the officials. So that's his Boston homerism at work. Then, he analogized the entire game to the movie "Victory," the Patriots to Allied P.O.W.s and the referees to the Nazis, none of which made any sense, shed any light on the game, or for that matter accomplished anything other than maybe making a few Family Guy fans say "wow, that's a random pop-culture reference!!!!! And we all know that random=funny!!!!!"
Thirdly, he recycles jokes - the Manning face, reason #2345234 why I hate the NBA, the Reggie Cleveland all-stars, etc - over and over, ad nauseum. Peyton Manning lost three big games early in his career, the most recent of which was four years ago, when he played on a team that had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. But Simmons is going to call Manning a choker for the rest of his career. Its lazy, it doesn't show any real insight, and its been played out since at least the year 2005.

Otherwise, Simmons is really great!!

8yearoldsdude said...

your recall is impressive, wade. my pants are clearly down. I might defend myself by saying that, after a through scan of the landscape, that there is no first tier. or that the popularity of informal sports commentating has created a general descent and in this new format other journalists are overmatched. or perhaps I might say that this ability to seem like you and me is really where his genius lies. but i am not in the mood for grand pronouncements. I make enough stupid ones on other days.