Barry Petchesky over at Deadspin spins a great story on how the electronic windbag known as Bill Simmons ascended to
The Sports Douchebag Hall of Fame ESPN. If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, you know we are prone to perform a “Breakdown” in order to help you understand what is actually happening, especially in the case when there are hidden meanings or ulterior motives.
The main theme here is that Petchesky asserts that ESPN may have hired Simmons to stop him from flaying the World Wide Leader.
ESPN’s initial courtship of Bill Simmons has the air of an urban legend. Simmons wrote a column excoriating the bloated and self-congratulatory ESPY Awards, and that column was rapidly forwarded around Bristol, putting the Boston Sports Guy on ESPN’s radar. Much like Aeschylus’s lost plays, the ESPY diary was known only from a reference in another work. In one of his early Page 2 columns, Simmons wrote:
“More than three years ago, I wrote a scathing running diary about the ESPYs that ended up getting passed around ESPN at the highest levels, and eventually led them to hire me to write this column. What a weird way to get hired. After being forced to do nonstop keg stands from the company Kool-Aid since then, I’ve grown to appreciate the ESPYs — not the actual show, but what they’re trying to accomplish here. The show celebrates everything that happened in the past year of sports, a thinly-veiled excuse to round up some celebrities, throw some parties, promote the network and maybe even garner some decent ratings in the process.”
But because Simmons’s AOL Digital City work has been lost forever in the internet aether, no one has seen that original ESPY column in more than a decade. Until now. We got our hands on a treasure trove of Simmons’s old work, including the legendary ESPYs column. It’s in the form of a running diary that should be familiar to Simmons fans, filled with jokes that wouldn’t have flown under the Disney flag. In fact, it’s titled “The 1999 ESPY Awards: Greatest Night In Sports… Or TV Holocaust?”
I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but if it is, I should be on ESPN’s payroll buy this time next week. I have a long history of being a critic of that Bristol-based omni-directional sludge-pump. Moreover, this really is another exercise in how easy taking pot-shots at ESPN really is…like shooting at rabbit that has been drugged and staked to the ground. Even Bill Simmons can do it. But it is also a wonderful demonstration of the incredible hypocrisy of the World Wide Leader. If Petchesky’s assertion is true, then ESPN hired a guy for saying things for which they have fired others. Keep that in mind as we walk through Simmons timeline of the 1999 ESPYs.
- 8:03 — The show kicks off with a mock opera opening, featuring Dick Vitale as the showstopper. I’m not making this up.
- 8:04 — Just slammed my head against the coffee table for 30 seconds.
Dicky V and a self-induced concussion. Now the concept of Grantland makes a bit more sense. Besides, I thought Vitale and Berman the Hutt were “sacred cows” in Bristol.
- 8:12 — (Jeff) Gordon wins and immediately thanks God (who took time out of his busy schedule to watch the ESPYs tonight). Gordon’s gorgeous wife applauds. This will be a running theme tonight.
Somewhere, a 12-year old Tim Tebow is inspired knowing he can someday become the exclusive focus of an hour-long version of Sportscenter, or as it will be called in 2014 “Tebow-JesusCenter.” The ban on prayer in public schools will be replaced by mandatory “Tebowing.”
- 8:15 — Actor Dylan McDermott presents the ESPY for something called “Men’s and women’s tennis player of the year.” I’m not sure if this is two awards or one; if it’s one award, than Amelia Muresmo will obviously win.
- 8:16 — It’s two separate awards. Too bad. I would have loved to have seen Muresmo in high heels and a sportscoat.
- 8:18 — Hey, it’s Lindsay Davenport in a dress! I think I just had an aneuryism.
Here’s your first “shot across the bow” of the LGBT community….Lord knows now you can’t make fun of “alleged” women. We now call this the “Pam Ward” rule.
- 8:22 — Steve Largent reads the Emmy rules… allegedly a comedy segment. I’ve watched funerals for slain policeman that were packed with more comedy.
Here’s where Simmons takes the big whiff. Largent is a white, male, Republican; which means he is in the last demographic which you can take shots at according to the PC police. Instead, Billy goes with the “dead cop” joke; but remember, this was pre-9/11, so that was still OK. But we are about to seriously break out of the PC reservation.
- 9:16 — As we prepare for the Arthur Ashe Award for courage — which will be presented to Billie Jean King — ESPN’s Robin Roberts comes out and introduces presenter Rosie O’Donnell, who in turn will introduce King. Ironically enough, this same sequence of events will be happening at the Meow Mix Bar & Grill in Greenwich Village later this evening.
- 9:18 — Good GOD Rosie put on some weight! She’s so fat that Shawn Kemp is making fun of her right now. If Sammy Sosa and Rosie attend the ESPYs post-award buffet tonight, there might be a fistfight by the “prime rib” table.
- 9:25 — Billie Jean waddles up to the podium to accept the award from Rosie. It’s too bad Delta Burke couldn’t make it.
This is the point when Pam Ward got so angry she soiled her jockey shorts before making an angry call to ESPN management demanding that “You guys need to show some balls, and if you need, you can borrow one of my three.” But seriously, imagine what would happen to anybody in Bristol who made comments like that. They wouldn’t be getting a job offer from ESPN, that’s for damn sure.
- 9:34 — Sam Jackson introduces Dick Vitale and does the worst Dicky V impersonation of all-time. Is it just me or are the wheels starting to come off this show?
- 9:43 — I don’t want to say that the wheels are coming off here, but I think the Detroit Red Wings’ team chaffeur is driving this show.
In case you don’t remember, this is a reference to Richard Gnida, who while employed by the Red Wings as a limo driver was determined to be driving with a suspended license and under the influence of marijuana when he was convicted for his role in an accident which left Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakonov in comas. Had he written this today, I’m sure this would have transmorgrified into a “Sandusky” joke.
- 10:20 — Holdsclaw wins her second ESPY! This means we have to see her walk to the stage in high heels again. She makes Pat Summitt look like a runway model.
And for the piece de resistance, Simmons’ last shot at the “chicks with dicks” crowd. He’d never say that about Pat Summit now that she’s been diagnosed with
prostate cancer dementia.
Here’s the part where you ask “J-Dub, throughout the history of this blog, you’ve taken far worse shots than you are excoriating Simmons for. What gives?”
It’s rather simple. Now that Simmons has successfully employed the “reverse psychology” gambit to get a job, I’m going use his own example to draw attention to my own attempt…by saying the opposite of what I really think, I should be able to get what I want. For example:
The Dan Patrick show sucks and I would never work for it (besides, they need a blogger who is “White and Nerdy,” and if you saw today’s show, I live in Indiana and can handle St. Elmo’s cocktail sauce.) #soft
A Mercedez-Benz is just a regurgitated U-Boat and I wouldn’t drive one if you gave it to me, especially an E560 Coupe.
And don’t even think of trying to give me that car with a half-naked Sofia Vergara in it.
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