So I was driving around like a mad man on Friday getting decorations for our Halloween Party and flicked on WEEI for the first time in like a month and the Big Show was absolutely killing and I mean killing Bill Simmons. Like you would have thought they were talking about the Antichrist or something the way they were bashing him. So the question is does the Big O have a point? Is Bill Simmons a fraud? Well longtime Stoolies know how I feel about this. I’ve been on the Simmons is a fraud bandwagon for 5 years now. Basically ever since I started Barstool Sports and here is why;
Here goes; For those people who are loyal veterans of Barstool Sports, you know that we have a longstanding grudge against Bill Simmons. Keep in mind that before I started Barstool Sports and for a full 6 months after the Stool launched I called Bill Simmons virtually every day and explained what I was doing and asked if he could spare a minute to talk andlend any possible advice. He never returned my phone call. NOT ONCE. Then we approached Simmons to do an interview with us to which he responded for the first time via email saying “he didn’t like media exposure.” Naturally, I was disappointed as I’d been reading him just about as long as anybody in Boston. I’m talking way back to his Digital City Boston days. Heck, he was part of the inspiration for me to start Barstool Sports. Therefore, I was surprised and dismayed when he totally ignored something that seemed like an obvious fit with his whole persona. The result of him dissing us was that we took a couple cheap shots at him in the paper (nothing to bad) despite the fact we had been huge and loyal fans from the beginning and left well enough alone. Months later the Weekly Dig ran a Red Sox preview issue that included an interview with none other than Bill Simmons! I sent Bill Simmons an email to confirm that he did in fact grant the Dig an interview as opposed to the Weekly Dig just pulling quotes from previous articles of his. Well, much to our surprise this was the beginning of a very unfriendly email exchange between Barstool Sports and Bill Simmons with Simmons being the clear aggressor. Simmons not only confirmed that he did do the interview with the Dig, but shoved it in our face that he had a ten times more entertaining interview with the Boston Metro that would be coming out shortly. He also went on to say that it was stupid for a “fledgling” newspaper like Barstool Sports to go public with the fact he denied the interview request since he could have potentially helped us in the long run, but now he never would. (He’s lived up to that promise) Trust me when I say that there was a lot more that Simmons had to say about BarstoolSports. We wish we could print the entire email exchange verbatim, but Simmons made such a stink about how unethical it is to publish them that we decided against it. However, in my book, if you are willing to say stuff via email you should be willing to standbehind it unless of course you want to present a different public face than private one. In his final email, Bill Simmons announced that he would no longer communicate with Barstool Sports andsomehow changed his email settings so when we tried to respond to his last email it automatically got bounced back to us. It is sort of like a little boy taking his ball and going home. Anyway, since Simmons refused to accept our final email, I figured we should publish it in Barstool Sports. It basically sums up how we feel about this whole exchange and was our last ever communication with the guy.
As my final email I’ll reiterate that we didn’t go out of our way to take shots at you because our feelings were hurt as you put it. We document the ups and downs of the paper on a weekly basis. Your denial of an interview was a down that we felt our readers would be interested in. I stand by the fact that we portrayed what happened accurately and fairly. And I hope and honestly believe that if we ever have success with this paper, which is a long shot, we will never turn down an interview request from local guys trying to start something new in Boston. As far as us closing a door with you that didn’t need to be closed, I’m not sure it was ever open since you didn’t take the time to return any of the roughly 75-100 messages we left you in the first place. Ironically we were originally calling to seek advice and actually try to involve you in the paper.
So anytime I see something trying to portray Simmons as somebody who really cares about the Average Joe, I rip him because I think he’s full of crap.
And then of course there are the hundreds of thousands of stories across the Internet of Simmons sending emails to bloggers who made fun of him, telling them to stop talking about him. I’ve always found it strange that a guy who made his name ripping people to shreds could be such a sensitive motherfucker, but he definitly is.
The thing that sucks is I want to be on his side. I want to like Simmons. Because he symbolizes everything that is wrong with the Boston Media. I mean how is it possible that a guy as talented as him can’t get a job in Boston, but Ron Borges can snap his fingers and get hired by everybody in the city. It’s a disgrace. And despite what the Big O says about doing his research, blah, blah, blah they never had any intention of having Simmons on the air until he was already a mega star. WEEI’s job is to maintain the status quo and Simmons was anything but. The fact that they ignore the Stool is testament to that fact. So I love how Simmons basically said fuck it and went and became a huge star without any help from the local media. And I’d love for him to come back and stick it in everybody’s face but instead he’s just become part of the establishent. The bigger he’s gotten the more he’s lost touch with his outsider roots. Instead of going on Dennis and Callahan and mixing it up, he just kisses their asseses.
Now does any of this make him a fraud? I guess that can still be debated. What I’ve come to believe is this. Bill Simmons is a great writer, but totally not suited to be a media personality. If anything he seems to be kind of socially awkward. He sucks on TV. He sucks on the radio. He gets upset when people make fun of him. He turtles when faced with confrontation. Almost like a great athlete who’s talent thrust him into the lime light, but he doesn’t want it, doesn’t belong in it and doesn’t know how to handle it. He should still be in the back room writing jokes for Jimmy Kimmel where nobody knows his name and he can rip people apart without ever having to answer the bell. But instead he’s become a media icon and he just doesn’t have the charisma to back it up in person. It’s not really his fault I guess. It just is what it is.