The arc of Bill Simmons' sportswriting career has forcefully intersected with the ascendant exponential function of bloggers. Many believe the Sports Guy has discarded his outsider status (hobnobbing with Anna K in Miami?), run out of material (so now he's a college basketball fan?), and generally lost his touch (his mailbags lately consist of letters from readers who agree with him). Simmons has always said he's not going to hang around Page 2 forever, but it's clear some feel he should already have moved on.
Few, if any, of those people fail to acknowledge Simmons' contribution to the kind of unconventional sports coverage that bloggers now engage in regularly: Writing somthing sportive in connection with television/music/movies/cars ... Posting diaries of live events ... Criticism of tv sportscasters. It's fair to say that blogging has unleashed the vast talent on the internet (and me - $1, Sheehan) to in effect out-Simmons the Sports Guy.
ESPN has allowed TSG to branch out from writing columns. They've sent him to the Super Bowl and various league all-star games. He's provided color commentary for a couple of minor college hoops games, and now he's formally blogging (Can one "formally" blog?). His latest basketball post listed the following as a dislike from the NCAA tourney:
"Holy Cross hoops: Honestly? I'm embarrassed. That was a disgrace. The Cross is now going on 30 years without an NCAA win. And you know what? I've had enough. Somebody needs to save our basketball program and it's going to have to be me. Details to come this spring."
The Sports Guy is foreshadowing this Holy Cross project on his Page 2 blog, thus it's likely he has the blessing of the Worldwide Leader to "fix" the 'Cross and write about it for ESPN. So, with apologies to The Cultural Oddsmaker and The Balls, AJ Daulerio...
I'm clicking over to Page 2, affecting my best Boston accent, and placing odds on exactly how Bill Simmons will save the Holy Cross men's basketball program.
Suiting up for the team: 25/1
Simmons is always writing about that one time, back in college, when he set a pick and then rolled to the basket while his teammate passed him the ball for an easy layup!!!!! Holy Cross is a "mid-major" school that plays in the Patriot League alongside noted basketball powers Colgate and American. The only Patriot League school ever to make a Final Four are your Holy Cross Crusaders, back in 1947. Simmons could easily make the varsity squad and contribute to a "whitewash" starting five. He could even borrow the #10 jersey of graduating senior Keith Simmons. The Sports Guy still has years of NCAA eligibility left, and you know he's been rehabbing his back for this very reason.
Writing for the Holy Cross student newspaper: 7/2
Don't call it "slumming." TSG would tell you himself, since he's started writing the ESPN column he's witnessed Patriots and Red Sox world championships. The collective karma of his thousands of readers rooting for Holy Cross would undoubtedly boost his alma mater's chances to bust everybody's 2008 NCAA bracket. Simmons himself admits that when he "started writing for the Crusader, everything fell into place..."
Becoming Holy Cross Athletic Director: 3-1
If Simmons has said it once, he's said it a thousand times: The Sports Guy would be one of the best general managers in the entire NBA, right now. And everybody knows college basketball is easier than the pros. He's even won the NBA Celebrity Fantasy League. You think he can't do better than Richard M. Regan, Jr.?
STFU: Even money
The Sports Guy adopted an EPL soccer team and has since written once about soccer, because he doesn't know jack about soccer. He has season tickets to the Clippers but only mentions the team to advise us that his farting friend Blueboy could repair the team's poor chemistry. When the first Holy Cross column appears on Page 2 later this Spring, expect perhaps one follow-up column and then radio silence, because Holy Cross does not need to be fixed, certainly not by Bill Simmons.