We start with more on the spat between Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons. For more on my thoughts, echoed in the conversation by Nick, read it at The Sporting Blog.
The news, of course, stems from this comment by Olbermann in response to Simmons calling him out on Twitter.
I am surprised, however, to be able to shed some light on something that has been a prominent topic of late around the internet: the prospect that Mr. Simmons is leaving ESPN. Admittedly I am something of an authority on this process. Nonetheless, I was stunned to receive several emails from some of Mr. Simmons’ bosses there, thanking me for pointing out the absurdity of, and the embarrassment to ESPN provided by, the Woods/Ali comparison.
About five years ago, I guess, somebody said Tony Kornheiser was the most uncontrollable, unmanageable talent in the history of ESPN. I was, of course, crushed (although I believe I got honorable mention). When ESPN bosses are writing me for helping them about somebody they claim has now lapped Tony and myself, I am left to conclude only that if Mr. Simmons does leave ESPN, it may not be entirely of his own choosing.
Not mentioned in my TSB piece is Nick’s assertion that Simmons has changed so much in the last ten years — to which I reply who hasn’t — mostly in his style of writing. Things are far more serious and authoritative than they used to be. The fun is gone from much of his style, and we wonder if it was sapped away from the prevalence of sports blogs. Namely, Drew Magary, who has either organically become the internet’s version of Simmons circa 1999 or made a calculated decision to model his entire online persona that way. Either way, we discuss how it has put Simmons into a bit more perspective that wasn’t there when he was the only sportscar in a lot full of sedans.
Rovitz, aka Ron Balaskovitz, winner of the first Blogs with Stones tournament, joins the show to talk about how great it is to curl online. But that’s not all! Rovitz not only admits he JOINED TWITTER just to play in Blogs with Stones, but also admits that he blew off friends from out of town to play in the tournament segment of the event. Also, and this is the better reason to have him on, Rovitz and friends travelled to the U.S. Curling Championships last weekend. We talk about the event, how it differed from the Olympic coverage and if he had any run-ins with John Shuster.
Turns out, the Olympians weren’t there, which makes me question how you have a national championship without the team that qualified for the Olympics. Nonetheless, we talk about the scene at the event, from the action on the ice to sitting in the stands and knowing when and when not to cheer.
This time the court report is about basketball. I’m even confusing myself with this drop. We talk about some brackets that may or may not have been busted by Saint Mary’s beating Gonzaga last night and discuss the start of the greatest — and completely unwieldy — Big East tournament today. That spins us into a brief conversation about 96 teams, wondering if the Big East would get all 16 teams into that? They’d easily get 12 (only needing four current bubble teams in a 65 team format to qualify for one of 31 more spots). Could they get all 16 in a given year if everyone finishes over .500? Is that what we want?
Hope Springs eternal, as Nick says. We talk about Aroldis Chapman throwing 102mph and then dropping down to high 80′s with a slider. That’s nasty. And isn’t that why we love Spring training? And speaking of the Spring, can we try, American sportstalk radio host, to discuss something other than a trade that happened MONTHS ago? If you’re going to talk baseball, let’s focus on the team we have now — in Philadelphia a team that’s expected to get back to the playoffs — and not as much on what could have been. How about some positivity for a change, and focus on who we have not who we wanted to keep.
Thanks to Rovitz and thanks for listening. Skeets on tomorrow.