Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ten Weeks?

From the Nice Work if You Can Get It Department comes an announcement from ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons:

Quick announcement from Bill: ESPN was gracious enough to give me 10 weeks off to finish my second book. My column will return right before Week 1 of the NFL season, just in time for another year of crappy football picks! If you're a fan of the "B.S. Report," we're still doing weekly podcasts, but that's it. Enjoy the summer.
Am I insane, or didn't he take several weeks off last summer for the same stated reason? I can't criticize him too harshly -- I've been telling people I've been working on a book for a decade now -- but at least no one was paying me a lot of money to slack. Well, nobody not associated with the law firm anyway.

But I am reminded that guys like Jerry Crasnick, Rob Neyer, Jim Caple, and Buster Olney have all written books without requiring a sabbatical from ESPN, and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Hell, Curtis Granderson keeps up a more frequent posting schedule over there than Simmons has lately, and he's playing centerfield for a contender.

It's possible of course, that the Sports Guy isn't actually getting diva treatment. Rather, as others have suggested, this may be an instance of quiet discipline for his recent insubordination and fraternization with the enemy. If he is acting like a diva, I'd have hoped that ESPN wouldn't cave to it, because for all of Simmons' good qualities -- he's a good writer who does a great job and draws a big audience when he's committed -- Simmons is not as special as some say he is and he's certainly not irreplaceable (no one in the land of the Internet is). However, if he's being punished, it would be ironic indeed given that it is Simmons himself who has done more than anyone to popularize one of the most famous (alleged) instances of quiet discipline of all time.

Whatever the case, enjoy your time off Bill.

(link via Deadspin)


Jason said...

Just remember, those other guys who have written books generally cover just one sport, which happens to have a long off-season, custom-built for bookwriting.

Also, I suspect that part of Bill's contract stipulates that some % of any book royalties goes to ESPN.

Bill's making more than $1M a year, so loot can't be an issue. I know this as one of my oldest friend's brother is oft-mentioned by Bill in his articles.

Bill was a great writer, but has gotten stale the last few years. The references have become trite. He's a few years from rolling out the "in my day" lines...

The angst about being a Boston sports fan has disappeared. That the Sox have become the Yanks and their fans have become as hated as us Yanks fans doesn't help. Plus, despite a new wave of NBA interest this year, Bill's focus on the NBA have given many to say "so what?".

I feel that Bill wishes he maintained his independence, like Deadspin, though he loves that paycheck too much. So would I, mind you.

tadthebad said...

At the end of that ten weeks, man, that is going to be one shitty Monday.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tad. Too bad he won't take a 10-year sabbatical.

With that said, who cares if he takes 10 weeks off to write a book?


David said...

Boston's success at, well, just about everything sports-related has killed him. His Boston columns are unreadable at this point.

And when he isn't talking Boston, there are only so many Karate Kid references you can make.

Richard Dansky said...

Most of the working writers I know would weep tears of scalding-hot blood to read this.

Luke said...

Shyster, definitely thought it was classic that you linked to an article in which one of the comments disses you (in a round about sort of way):

Max Power at 02:30 PM on 05/14/08
He's using blogspot? Didn't know Bill was a 15 year old emo girl.

Umm...who is that who hosts this particular blog (not to mention my blog)?

Craig Calcaterra said...

Seriously. Sad to say, but I am way below the level of most 15 year-old emo chicks when it comes to technology.

Mac said...

Simmons is also an ESPN Books author -- actually, their only author who's had any success of note so far. I expect that they would be a lot less likely to give time off to someone who was working on a book for someone else.

tadthebad said...

My comment was meant to reflect that going back to work after a one-week vacation is tough...let alone ten.