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Bill Simmons: A Debate


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I think simmons is at his best, when he's writing about the pure emotion of being a fan. the agony and the emotion of big moments ( which for him, involve boston sports). Then, I really enjoy his work

grantland is the best. i go there daily.

Yeah , I look forward to not reading that site like I didn't read grantland.

Well clearly the point of Grantland is to appeal to a wider audience than just hardcore sports fans. For example: I've sent my girlfriend, who has no interest in sports whatsoever, a few links from the site, including an article on women in movies (prompted by Bridesmaids), and one of the youtube compilation articles that included a lot about music. She now browses through the site now and again, and will even tolerate pop culture articles that include some spins on sport-related topics. Personally, I think the site is fine. There have certainly been a handful of huge winners in terms of articles, and as long as you're willing to pick around the complete losers (like on any site), there's a solid rate of articles that are at least palatable in order to find some gems (which have become increasingly rare, but it may be a cycle).
TB, did you want to debate about this bullshit or not? QUIT WASTING MY MOTHERFUCKING TIME.
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TB, did you want to debate about this bullshit or not? QUIT WASTING MY MOTHERFUCKING TIME.
Just busy. I've written a response to your comment; it's just a matter of finding a free hour with a computer so I can type it up and submit it. I'd rather not do this on a phone.
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Another thing that I imagine tilts the shit out of TB about Simmons is that he's largely a public sports bettor and an idiot when talking about any other form of gambling, but thinks he's a sharp.
I'm on record -- I believe in the MusicThread, within the last 10 days -- explaining that his NFL playoffs betting manifesto is what makes me unable to take him seriously, ever, no matter what. NARRATIVES!It takes a special kind of arrogance to believe -- based entirely on the supposition that paying attention to sports qualifies one to better handicap NFL lines than Vegas oddsmakers -- that one can beat the book. I don't care that he's square. I hate that he approaches sports betting so blindly, so absurdly and stupidly and with either negligence or willful stupidity.He's not curious. He begs the question, and holds on to his absurd conclusions with unfounded and vigorous dogmatism
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I'm on record -- I believe in the MusicThread, within the last 10 days -- explaining that his NFL playoffs betting manifesto is what makes me unable to take him seriously, ever, no matter what. NARRATIVES!It takes a special kind of arrogance to believe -- based entirely on the supposition that paying attention to sports qualifies one to better handicap NFL lines than Vegas oddsmakers -- that one can beat the book. I don't care that he's square. I hate that he approaches sports betting so blindly, so absurdly and stupidly and with either negligence or willful stupidity.He's not curious. He begs the question, and holds on to his absurd conclusions with unfounded and vigorous dogmatism
Did you clean up on the Baylor game or what!?
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Just busy. I've written a response to your comment; it's just a matter of finding a free hour with a computer so I can type it up and submit it. I'd rather not do this on a phone.
I'm curious; did you you 'write' a response in your head, or is it actually written down on a piece of paper?
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I'm super curious to hear your thoughts on his new article from today. Since it's all about baseball stats.
Here's what I believe: The best player on a noncontender shouldn't be considered "most valuable" unless (a) his numbers demolish everyone else's numbers, and (b) there wasn't a kick-ass candidate from a better team.Does this make any sense at all?I've had some thoughts about the MVP kicking around in my head that probably don't make much sense either. It seems to me that the goal of advanced metrics is one of two things: either better predict future success or to strip away all the things that players don't control to find out how well they did the things they do control. The first is meaningless in an MVP discussion, so let's focus on the 2nd.Hypothetical Player A gets 600 AB's and hits a single in every single one. Nobody is ever on base and nobody ever drives him in. His team loses every single game because they never score a run.Hypo Player B gets 600 AB's and hits a single in every single one. There is a runner on 3rd every time and his team wins every game and he is the only player on the team with an RBI. Advanced stats will tell you that A and B are the exact same player. They performed exactly the same way with what they could control. But isn't B pretty clearly more valuable to his team? I think it's a version of the clutch discussion. There's no such thing as a clutch player, but there are obviously clutch plays. Shouldn't that matter? When deciding who was MV, I don't want to know how many wins a player contributed all else being equal, I just want to know how many wins a player actually contributed. An RBI is highly contextual, but it still contributes to a win.
I'm curious; did you you 'write' a response in your head, or is it actually written down on a piece of paper?
I'm hoping it's hand-written on notebook paper. Or a cocktail napkin.
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the problem is the award itself. mvp is an ambiguous term, and it needs to be done away with. replaced by:AL Offensive Player of the year (Bautista)NL Offensive Player of the year (Braun)AL Starting Pitcher of the year (Verlander)NL Starting Pitcher of the year (Halladay)AL Defensive Player of the year (Alcides Escobar)NL Defensive Player of the year (not sure)

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the problem is the award itself. mvp is an ambiguous term, and it needs to be done away with. replaced by:AL Offensive Player of the year (Bautista)NL Offensive Player of the year (Braun)AL Starting Pitcher of the year (Verlander)NL Starting Pitcher of the year (Halladay)AL Defensive Player of the year (Alcides Escobar)NL Defensive Player of the year (not sure)
But that's what makes it a fun discussion. Offensive player of the year can be determined by looking at who the league leader in WAR or something is. I heard Jonah Keri mention something interesting regarding the Verlander for MVP talk. The pitcher can't be MVP camp likes to say that a player who only plays every 5th game can't ever be as valuable as someone who plays every game. But an everyday player will get something like 600 plate appearances in a year while Verlander will face about 800 batters this season. Why isn't Verlander just as valuable?
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i dont subscribe to the pitcher cannot be mvp newsletter. verlander has a serious case based on the way the mvp has typically been awarded. i just find the debate a waste of time. quit arguing about who is most valuable and honor the best players in the league with appropriate awards.

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It takes a special kind of arrogance to believe -- based entirely on the supposition that paying attention to sports qualifies one to better handicap NFL lines than Vegas oddsmakers -- that one can beat the book.
I think my favorite theory of his is that the best time to bet on the NFL is the first few weeks because it takes the books a while to adjust their lines. That being said, I love his podcast with Cousin Sal.Hey BigD, do you listen to the Dameshek NFL podcast? Dameshek is one of those guys who "trusts his eyes," but he is still a lot of fun. Also, one of the Grantland Network podcasts was Keri and Dameshek debating Stargell vs. Raines.
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I just read his most recent mailbag entry while in the john, and I found his Jose Bautista:BlueJays:AL MVP :: Tom Hanks:Turner & Hooch:Oscar analogy amusing. Mostly because I love the movie Turner & Hooch.

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I went to Grantland for the first time in a week or two hoping somebody wrote something about the Federer Djokovic match. It was the best thing I've read on that damn thing.
That was good stuff.I liked this paragraph in particular:

We want athletes to be able to explain sports. Sport, at its most basic, is about physically realizing intentions — calculating the angle, plotting the spin, executing the shot. So surely the people who have the intentions, the people whose inner lives sport is expressing in some complicated way, are in the best position to tell us what really happens on the court. And to a certain extent that's true. But one of the reasons it's so scary to imagine going into the postmatch press conference as a loser is that it's not entirely true. What happens during a match may concern you to an emotionally devastating degree, but what happens can also turn on tiny fluctuations of chance so complicated that they are astoundingly difficult to articulate — minute physical differences that fall within any conceivable margin of error, emotional swings that could have gone either way and went against you, who knows why. These sorts of breaks are often monstrously unfair. And as with The Shot and The Confrontation, they tend to take on outsize importance in matches that are otherwise very close. Meaning that the greatest contests, the ones whose outcomes are most exalting for the winners and most devastating for the losers, are the ones most likely to be decided by infinitesimal turns of luck.

I do indeed listen to Dameshek. I think his sports takes are often retarded but they are presented humorously and I love his crazy pittsburgh accent.
Totally agree. Which is probably the real problem with Simmons: he's not that funny anymore.
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Here's what I believe: The best player on a noncontender shouldn't be considered "most valuable" unless (a) his numbers demolish everyone else's numbers, and (b) there wasn't a kick-ass candidate from a better team.Does this make any sense at all?I've had some thoughts about the MVP kicking around in my head that probably don't make much sense either. It seems to me that the goal of advanced metrics is one of two things: either better predict future success or to strip away all the things that players don't control to find out how well they did the things they do control. The first is meaningless in an MVP discussion, so let's focus on the 2nd.Hypothetical Player A gets 600 AB's and hits a single in every single one. Nobody is ever on base and nobody ever drives him in. His team loses every single game because they never score a run.Hypo Player B gets 600 AB's and hits a single in every single one. There is a runner on 3rd every time and his team wins every game and he is the only player on the team with an RBI. Advanced stats will tell you that A and B are the exact same player. They performed exactly the same way with what they could control. But isn't B pretty clearly more valuable to his team? I think it's a version of the clutch discussion. There's no such thing as a clutch player, but there are obviously clutch plays. Shouldn't that matter? When deciding who was MV, I don't want to know how many wins a player contributed all else being equal, I just want to know how many wins a player actually contributed. An RBI is highly contextual, but it still contributes to a win.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think that Win Probability Added is calculated as an attempt to quantify what you're talking about.
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I'm not 100% sure, but I think that Win Probability Added is calculated as an attempt to quantify what you're talking about.
Sounds right."Win probability added is a sport statistic which attempts to measure a player's contribution to a win by figuring the factor by which each specific play made by that player has altered the outcome of a game. ... Win shares would give the same amount of credit to a player if he hit a lead-off solo home run as if he hit a walk-off solo home run; WPA, however, would give vastly more credit to the player who hit the walk-off homer."AL LeadersJose Bautista (Blue Jays) - 7.43Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) - 5.9Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) - 5.19Josh Hamilton (Rangers) - 4.49Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) - 3.35Bobby Abreu (Angels) - 3.24Alex Gordon (Royals) - 3.19Curtis Granderson (Yankees) - 2.8Alex Avila (Tigers) - 2.74Michael Young (Rangers) - 2.69NL LeadersJoey Votto (Reds) - 6.84Prince Fielder (Brewers) - 5.66Matt Kemp (Dodgers) - 5.26Ryan Braun (Brewers) - 4.83Lance Berkman (Cardinals) - 4.68Albert Pujols (Cardinals) - 4.01Ryan Howard (Phillies) - 3.86Aramis Ramirez (Cubs) - 3.42Shane Victorino (Phillies) - 3.2Carlos Beltran (- - -) - 3.03Kevin Millar on the BS Report: "Stats are ruining baseball."Edit: I forgot to include pitchers. However, Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks) leads the NL at 4.81 and Jered Weaver (Angels) leads the AL at 4.50, so they would be in the discussion, but not at the very top.
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I know this is going to come off as terribly biased given my avatar, but I don't get why Bautista should be 'punished' for being on a 'bad' (I don't think the Jays are a bad team, fwiw) team. The turner & Hooch analogy from Simmons was beyond terrible. If we want to make retarded movie analogies, then Bautista is Heath ledger in The Dark Knight and Ellsbury is Robert Deniro in Goodfellas. Bleh, that's bad too, whatever.If anything, and SJ's numbers support this, a great player to a bad team is MORE valuable than the same player would be on a great team. Take Bautista away from the jays, and the impact would be much greater than taking ellsbury or Gonzalez away from the Bosox. Not that I agree with using garbage intangibles to decide who the MVP of the league is.

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I was listening to the simmons/sal conversation, and he was talking about cleveland, and he said something about peyton hillis that I found shocking. He said that he wasn't effective coming out of the backfield catching the ball? Really? This is the same peyton Hillis that McDaniels said was the best pass catcher on his team, not running back, but period.. and had 61 catches last season. Like, I understand that he's a big white guy, so you naturally assume he's a goal line back, but his pass catching is what makes him such an attractive fantasy player. I could understand like a regular schmo making that mistake, but a Professional sports writer, sports better and obsessive fantasy football player should know hillis is a pass catching runningback. FFS. I don't even know why it bothered me so much, maybe it was the authoritative way that the said it, like it was general knowledge or something that hillis was no good

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