November 02, 2002


A SAD FUNNY ENDING: I thought it was a joke when I first heard it, but as it turns out it's actually true:'s well-known columnist "The Sports Guy" Bill Simmons will be drastically cutting back his column output because he is moving from Boston to LA in order to join the writing staff of Jimmy Kimmel's upcoming late-night talk show. A "Page 2" columnist for the past two years and propriator of the popular "Boston Sports Guy" website before that, Simmons quickly became the most popular writer on a site that also featured the likes of David Halberstam, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ralph Wiley. He developed a cult-like following by writing about the exact sorts of things that his audience of Gen-X guys care about- sports, movies, strippers, Vegas, etc.- sometimes writing three or four long columns a week while displaying sharp insight and a biting sense of humor at all times. He could contribute such classics to the sports lexicon as "The Ewing Theory" and "The Doug Christie Jersey," and then the next day write something as brilliantly silly as a list of 40 quotes from "The Godfather" and why they all apply to the Red Sox.
Like Springsteen before him, Simmons is experiencing the classic American dilemma of being unable to remain a "working-class hero" forever- eventually, if someone is good enough at being a working-class hero, they'll eventually be so successful that they cease to be working-class. Much of his appeal as a writer was that he's "one of the guys," the sort of friend you could have a beer and talk sports with. Now, especially from his fans in Boston, you can expect to hear all kinds of cries that Simmons has now "sold out"- after all, how can his guy-in-the-bar persona still hold up now that he's hobnobbing out in Hollywood with the likes of Jimmy Kimmel?
I'm not so quick to do so, though- after all, Simmons made clear that writing for television is what he's long wanted to do in life, and it doesn't appear as though he's sacrificing any of his long-held principles. And besides, we know he'll have some great stories to tell about celebrities and the like. There's nothing untoward about such a talented young man pursuing his dream and using his writing abilities as best he can. Now were he leaving Boston and moving to New York, then his Boston fans would have a point...

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 2, 2002 05:50 AM
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