Some random love for The Sports Guy

15 Aug

simmons.jpgThe funniest thing I read on this here internet this past week came from Bill Simmons’ recent Mailbag column. The excerpt:

Q: We’ve seen DirecTV commercials featuring Doc Brown, Ricky Vaughn, Nadia and Ripley among others … which character [and] in which scene would you most like to see done? I cannot think of anyone better than seeing Ving Rhames in the store basement with Zed with a gag in his mouth mumbling about DirecTV’s superior HD selection. Or would you rather see a “Shawshank” one in which the warden blows off his head, then hear Morgan Freeman’s voice-over saying “I’d like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell he could have passed up such an exclusive offer from DirecTV featuring free installation and access to over 400 channels.” Or am I being obtuse?
–Frank the Tank, Bethlehem, Pa.

SG: Frank the Tank is like Hank Aaron — it’s his consistency over the years that makes him so special. Frank, I liked your choices and would add these three: (1) Al Pacino dressed as Tony Montana, coming up from a gigantic pile of coke on his desk and screaming about DirecTV’s movie channels; (2) Jimmy Chitwood breaking out of the final Hickory High huddle and saying, “Coach, I’ll make it … as long as we’re all allowed to order the NBA package on DirecTV!”; and (3) Michael Myers breaking character as he’s about to kill Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween,” then calmly explaining the advantages of DirecTV’s relocation program as he’s holding Curtis in the air and wearing his mask. All three of those would kill me. So would Dirk Diggler getting ready to show the Colonel his goods, then pulling out a DirectTV remote and explaining all the features. It’s an endless list.

The myriad mental images in those two paragraphs stirred up not only a few shoulder-shaking giggles, but also a bit of a revelation: I’ve been missing The Sports Guy. As regular Simmons readers will know, he’s been MIA the past few weeks in order to complete his second book. And while I still read all of his columns, my enthusiasm in doing so has paled in comparison to the excitement I’d feel back in the day when Simmons was at his best (I’m thinking ’03, ’04?). It’s the nature of the beast; you improve until you peak, then you decline. (Cue Elton John’s “Circle of Life.”) C’est la vie.

The “missing” I’m referring to has nothing to do with Simmons’ current absence. I miss the old stuff, and for whatever reason, the excerpt above reminded me how good Simmons’ columns used to be. So, just for the hell of it, I searched through the archives and dug up a few of my all-time Simmons columns. Without further ado, an unofficial Top Five:

5. Basebrawl Fever: Catch It! — I remember this as the column that got me hooked on Simmons’ writing. It’s cliched to say now, but as a college student hoping to become a writer someday, Simmons was an inspirational figure, a guy that proved you didn’t necessarily have to follow the road more traveled to find success as a writer. This was, obviously, well before I gave up on finding success as a writer.

4. Curious Guy: The OC — Simmons trades emails with “The OC” creator Josh Schwartz. An interesting read for those of us who appreciated the once-great show, those of us interested in the television-making process, and those of us who always wondered just why in the fuck “The OC” got rid of the smoking-hot guest star Alex during season two.

3. Masters of Their Domain — the Sports Guy on the females-joining-Augusta controversy from a few years back.

2. Face-Off: a Late Wake-Up Call — Simmons and writer Chuck Klosterman debate everything from Olympic basketball to 80s movies to Dokken. An extremely entertaining discussion about nothing in particular.

1. Only Stupid Question is One Not Asked — Mostly just a column about the NBA playoffs; the only reason I have this column at #1 is because of the following excerpt, which remains the most enduring thing I’ve read from Simmons:

Question: What’s the story with Doug Christie?
Did you see that New York Times article about Christie and his wife, the piece that resulted in the Whipped Hall of Fame being quickly changed to the Doug Christie Memorial Hall of Fame? Everyone has that one buddy who constantly makes up lame excuses because his wife or girlfriend won’t let him leave the house, but Christie takes it to another level. This is unprecedented stuff. Few things have rendered me speechless over the years, but check out some of these tidbits:

> You know when Christie raises his arm, extends his pinky and index fingers and signals into the air? He’s actually signalling “I love you” to his wife (Jackie), something that happens 50-60 times a game, even during crunch-time. It’s almost like he suffers from a whipped version of Tourette’s.

> Some direct quotes and excerpts: “With few exceptions, Doug Christie does not look at other women, avoiding dialogue or even direct contact” … The Christies remarry every year on their anniversary, “not a mere renewal of their wedding vows but an actual wedding — replete with friends, family cake and a reception” … Mrs. Christie attends 25-30 of the Kings road games, always riding on the team charter … “(She) arrives before games with her husband and leaves with him after” … “She sends him a note in the locker room before every game, taken there by a team attendant. He writes a reply and sends it back” … “Sometimes on the road, Jackie will ride in a car behind the team bus, talking to Doug until he arrives at the hotel or arena.”

(I kept waiting for this part: “When Doug asked if he could attend Mateen Cleaves’ bachelor party this season, his wife burned his clothes and set his BMW convertible on fire.”)

> My favorite part: “When Christie played for the Raptors, his wife once confronted a female fan seeking an autograph and a kiss in Toronto. ‘A security guard grabbed her, but I put my hand up and told her to back off really loud,’ she said. ‘It scared me, because my voice sounded like a demon … she was touching someone she shouldn’t have been.'”

I guess there are three appropriate reactions here:

1. If you had one TV wish, wouldn’t it be for the Christies to appear on “Temptation Island.” I always write how this-and-that would make for the greatest TV series ever, but realistically, a “Temptation Island” with the Christies … that would never be topped in the annals of TV history. That’s the Comedy Ceiling right there, isn’t it? Even my idea for the HBO talk show with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and an open bar couldn’t come close.

2. If you were granted an alternate TV wish, wouldn’t it be for an “Osbournes”-style reality-TV show called “The Christies”? Just Doug getting harassed by his wife in episodes entitled “I wasn’t looking at her!” and “I told you, that was Peja’s fiancee!”

3. From this point forward, doesn’t Christie’s replica Kings jersey immediately become the best possible way for a group of guys to humiliate one of their emasculated buddies? Let’s say you have that one friend who’s spending a little too much time with a new girlfriend, and it seems like she’s wearing the pants in the family, to the point that your buddy has been blowing you off. BOOM! Everyone chips in five bucks, you purchase the Christie jersey, and you mail it anonymously to him.

Funny, relatable, pertaining to sports but not really … that’s the Sports Guy M.O. in a nutshell. Say what you will about his output over the past couple years, but the fact is Simmons has had some damn fine moments during his career.

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5 Responses to “Some random love for The Sports Guy”

  1. Ms. Minneapolis August 16, 2007 at 5:47 am #

    since i’m also a fan for similar, but different reasons, my take on the sports guy.

    i preferred him before he moved to L.A. although, i do understand that people, at times, find him obnoxious about his hometown teams. his best overall season, i’m not sure. i think it might be 03, but i’d have to go thru the archives to make a true opinionated statement. i heart, love, adore some of the sports gal/sports guy banter, especially the whole subject of the female “US Weekly” fantasty league. if only my girlfriends liked sports, i think i would create such a league. i do always get a kick out of his stories to vegas with the boys, maybe it’s because one of his friends is a vikings fan. i’m not sure. but in those articles there is usually something that will make me LOL.

    top of mind there are few articles that stand out. the one with malcolm gladwell is pretty good, but that’s also because i like gladwell, so i don’t know if it would be totally liked as much by the masses. and the reader mail “yep, those are my readers.” is such a classic, good ending, i wish i had thought of it myself.

    and yes, for the male friend who is spending too much time with new lady, as friends you should purchase the christie jersey and send it. although my guess is B, you could be the first one to recieve it. because that is how karma and good ideas work.

  2. Jose Offerman August 16, 2007 at 12:19 pm #

    I love the Sports Guy; I read his column religiously as well as listen to his new podcast, which you should check out it if you haven’t yet. Anytime David Stern and Alton from the Real World are on your interview list, I’m sold. His other interviews are good too, I love the Paul Shirley one because his sense of humor is drier than the Gobi. B, I like your top 5, but some of my favorites are: the Las Vegas columns, Running Diaries, his 2006 trip to Milwaukee/Green Bay (his comments are just classic – His AC Green comment still floors me, and I think I have actually had some of his conversations with my friends) and the mailbags. His mailbags are tough to beat.

  3. Jim August 16, 2007 at 3:14 pm #

    I still read everything he writes, but LOL less and less. I first read him in 2002, and haven’t missed a column since. The mailbags are the best, along with the first NBA draft diary.

    By the way, what do people think of Paul Shirley? I read his book and enjoyed it. Just curious.

  4. B. August 16, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    No no no, that Christie jersey ploy does not, and will not, apply to me. I rule all and will be pushed around by no woman ever (unless she allows me to sleep with her. At which point you’ll never see me again.)

    Jose, I believe the quote you’re referring to is “Gallo looks more overwhelmed than A.C. Green on his wedding night right now.” Right? By the way, nice outburst at your minor league game this week. Proud of you.

    Jim, haven’t read Shirley’s book yet but I plan on picking it up soon. Thanks for the reminder, and the endorsement.

  5. Jose Offerman August 16, 2007 at 6:54 pm #

    Big Paul Shirley fan, have not yet read his book but will also be picking it up soon. As for the AC Green line, yes, yes and yes. Is it bad that I can picture AC fumbling around on his wedding night like an 18 year old at his Senior Prom? If it is, than I don’t see a point in being right.

    I wouldn’t call what happened to me in the minor league an “outburst” per se, just a misunderstanding that went terribly wrong. My apologies, it’s not like I fought dogs or anything.

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