Monday, October 03, 2005

Sports Guy, In His Own Words

Boston Sports Media Watch has a thrillingly depressing interview with Bill Simmons. (Scroll about halfway down - the passage referenced is titled "The Guy.")

We won't lie - The Sports Guy is one of our major writing influences. His wit is sometimes mind-blowing. But his smugness is showing in this interview. And his prickness.

I mean, this guy is essentially the father of sportsblogging, even if he was never really a sportsblogger on his own. Every sportswriter buddy I had in college, including two successive editors-in-chief of the school paper, were huge Sports Guy fans. He's carrying the writing torch for every 18-34 sports fan right now.

And this is how he treats it:
“I hate the word ‘blogger’ only because I actually wrote 2-3 full-length columns a week back then, unlike just about everyone now.”

I understand that this guy has a lot of stuff going. He churns out a couple columns and some limited bloggy stuff every week, and he just published a book (of parenthetically-noted old columns, mind you). Plus, he's apparently writing scripts and wrote for a TV show for a while. Few sportswriters I know work harder.

But that's all he does for a living. He doesn't have to toil at a daily newspaper coverning planning commission meetings and environmental lawsuits and new businesses. He doesn't have to sell real estate. He doesn't have to bartend anymore. He doesn't have to dig trenches or pour cement or put in eight hours in a cubicle. Sadly, most bloggers do.

Where his hatred comes from is beyond me. Is he pissed that we can all get our thoughts published without having to toil for years to build an audience in a pre-Internet-savvy America? Is he pissed that it's so easy to get a blog going and get readers, that any chump can do it, even without a master's degree? Is he pissed that bloggers don't have to write three columns a week?

It seems like that. And it seems like that's what he hates about the mainstream media, as well. He hates that eternally-employed columnists clog the paths of the up and coming talent. He hates that you essentially have to sell your allegiances to get into the big-time sportswriting game. He hates the actual grind of the ascent required for a meaningful sportswriting career.

It's incredibly hypocritical. And it's annoying. This is a guy whose career path would indicate he'd love the breaking down of the walls for guys getting into sportswriting. Yet he's pissed that one of the walls he had to overcome - establishing your online presence - is getting knocked down by schmoes without obligations, word counts or deadlines.

He wants his to flip off The System and be the top dog in The System, all at the same time. It's disappointing. He's still the best in the game, and there's no way I'm not reading every column he writes.

But I'm really disappointed in his disowning of the sportsblogosphere. It's his kid, whether he wanted it or not. The least he could do is acknowledge it, even if he doesn't pay child support.


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Tom Ziller

The Sacramento Kings are a tough act to follow, literally.

SKB does the dirty work so you can forget about the blood, sweat and tears.

Oh, you'll still need the tears in April, though.

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