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 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.


, 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 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.

Tags: , , Keith Olbermann, , Spring Training

9 Responses to “DL343: Simmons v. Olbermann Redux, US Curling Championships, March Madness & More”

  1. SHOP ELECTRONICS!!! says:



  2. jonathan says:

    Dan, three things.

    First, I think you and a lot of other commentators are misrepresenting Simmons’s argument about Ali/Woods. His argument had nothing to do with the respective reasons for initial absence from sport, but solely on the respective comebacks. Ali’s absence was without question more difficult, but that’s not what the prompt is. Olberman, you and many others are arguing against a point that Simmons never made. I suggest you go back and read the column he penned again. I’m not claiming he’s correct in his argument, but people need to at least address the actual argument, not the one they find easier to attack.

    Second, from a business perspective, it doesn’t matter if Simmons loses some of his audience if he choses to leave ESPN. If he controls the online “empire” he’s cultivated over the last decade, he’ll stand to make exponentially more money than he does at ESPN. Plus, he’ll have unlimited creative freedom and an existence outside the ESPN bubble.

    Third, we shouldn’t expect or even want Simmons to have the same writing style he did when he was ten years younger. Simply looking at the changes in life between then and now (wife, kids, age, money) it would be false for him to write about the same topics and in the same manner as he once did. If you’re looking for the same amount of frat-humor he once had, then obviously you won’t find his writing as essential anymore, but I don’t think you’d find an inauthentic persona any more palatable. Writers only succeed when they present their work with authenticity.

    Anyway, enjoy the podcast, keep up the good work.

  3. Dan Levy says:

    Your points are valid, but you’re comparing him to people on TV. No matter how popular the internet is, TV still gets more attention. And from the people I’ve talked with, only Olbermann star has gotten bigger. Sure Patrick is on NBC for football, but a day in day out basis, his audience is far smaller than ESPN. As for Eisen, he’s the lead dog on a network, but I’ve had long debates with people at ESPN that more sports fans would recognize any random SportsCenter anchor than Eisen at this point.

    Who knows.

  4. bpdouglass says:

    Podcast listener just catching up… intriguing conversation about Simmons/Olbermann. Two points you noted struck deeper than others.

    Olbermann’s motivations for discussing supposed conversations/emails with ESPN personnel… you could build an entire segment around this (though every answer seems to point back to self-serving motive).

    You also noted Simmons could be “on Dancing With the Stars down the road… that’s how big his star could shine, if he stays with ESPN.” I would think his stardom would rise without ESPN… his good friend Adam Carolla has built his own podcast network that would serve as the perfect home to take that Simmons stage to the next level (Carolla’s numbers are rather strong, Simmons would be free of the constraints that seem to be his primary source of disdain for ESPN… with Adam’s own success with his podcast, one could argue the thought of eventually bringing Simmons in served as motivation to take a jump to being a “network” with plans to build a menu of shows… you just have to wait for your star and that wait isn’t so long).

    He can still write best sellers… the network he’s built on the west coast through the Kimmel/Carolla connections (not to mention connects he’s made while at the Worldwide Meter) would be looking to collaborate with his name and audience…

    Take a look at the guy he’s fighting with (Olbermann), or Dan Patrick, or Rich Eisen… that story has already been written and it seems to suggest leaving ESPN is a path to happiness and, if done right, a better bank balance (& he wouldn’t have to dance on primetime).

    Or Morey can bring him in to write 150,000-word player profiles for the Rockets’ media guide while serving as assistant GM.

  5. Dan says:

    Interesting thoughts on Simmons, particularly the comparison to Drew and about whether blogs have helped him or hurt him. But were you guys actually reading him a decade ago? He wasn’t just some Fire Joe Morgan type.

    What has hurt him isn’t that he can’t call Chris Berman fat anymore; it’s that his lists and live blogs and pop culture references are now what everyone on the internet tries to do.

    As for respect within the industry, how much do you think that takes away from his value as a writer? Most readers are reading him on a piece by piece basis. Some things they like, some things they don’t.

    Same goes for Reilly or Stephen A. Smith. The average person probably doesn’t know about the blackberry column. But they might know Smith because he’s the one who broke this Iverson story.

    Simmons is always going to draw eyes and even if he has lost some respect from the industry, I’m sure the industry would still appreciate a link from his twitter account.

  6. sanford sklanksy says:

    Olberman may be a blowhard at times, but he is a pretty smart blowhard. You ought to see if you can get him on the podcast.

    Cossell was also smart, but between him and Olberman I think Howard would have been the more obnoxius.

  7. Brian says:

    The 2010 U.S. Olympic curling teams were determined at the 2009 U.S. championships, which took place in March 2009. These are the 2010 U.S. championships, which take place in March 2010.

  8. Here’s a Simmons question: Do you think he was probably prodded into defending his take by ESPN? I mean given the attention it got, you know people were clicking to read what he said. Maybe they encouraged him to defend his point – dissent and debate is always ‘better radio’. Not saying it was smart on his part, but maybe it wasn’t all him.

    Also on curling – I had thought I heard in a curler interview on MSNBC or something during the Olympics that the Olympic Curling team wasn’t going to the Championships. I understood they had been invited but were a little burned out to go on the heels of the Olympics.

    I could be wrong but could have sworn I saw that.

    Good stuff as always guys.

  9. Joe Ryan says:

    Here’s a stupid theory for you…

    When the Kornheiser suspension went down and Deadspin said it was more about Berman than Hannah Storm, they also mentioned that Berman, Simmons and Erin Andrews are all in the last year of their contracts. Now Berman and Andrews are replaceable and can be let go. Simmons isn’t just because of the traffic he drives to their website. (Of the three of them, Simmons does the least for ESPN networks)
    However Berman and Andrews can leave and land on their feet elsewhere. I’m not sure Simmons can. Right now, Simmons is the alpha dog on ESPN.com. Would he still be that if he went somewhere else? Or how does he react if where he goes has one or two or several better writers and he finds himself chasing them all the time?

    Food for thought…