Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

38 Minutes With MLS MVP Landon Donovan

Nice to hear from the USMNT playmaker.

With Sunday’s MLS Cup being broadcast on ESPN and ESPN360, the Worldwide Leader called upon Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, to generate some buzz via a B.S. Report podcast with MLS MVP, LA Galaxy star, and USMNT engine Landon Donovan.

Given the recent sub-par performances by the USMNT which demonstrated the incredible need for Donovan on the pitch, national team fans will probably be happy just to hear Lando’s voice at this point.

The 38-minute discussion runs through a variety of topics including PK and corner taking, Jozy Altidore, youth programs, MLS and the USMNT’s World Cup bid.

Relevant to the US hopes in South Africa, Donovan mentions that the team is preparing to play the World Cup without Davies and Onyewu. (Read into that what you like regarding Gooch.)

There also are some interesting insights on Brazil, their match in the Confederations Cup and how the country continually produces great teams. And, similar to Brazil, Donovan explains that Coach Bradley is attempting to create an American style of play that is consistent from the national team through the youth programs and has reached out to coaches at the various levels.

Finally, the podcast finishes with a quick exchange on creating a home city for USMNT games where Donovan admits that the guys on the squad do talk about developing a fan base in one place to create a home field advantage. As expected Seattle and Columbus are mentioned. (Readers may recall that TSG covered that a few months back in our two-part Soccertown, U.S.A. piece.)

All-in-all it’s worth a listen.

(It can be found on ESPN.com or downloaded from iTunes.)

Stood Up By The Sports Guy

Update From Mark: The title and notion that we were “stood up” was written firmly tongue-in-cheek. Seems like it didn’t come across that way to some readers based on the comments. However, we certainly appreciate the impassioned discourse. For 45 days a note sat in the sidebar about the Campaign. This post was to wrap it up, say we failed and thank people for making the effort.

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Assuming you can be stood up by someone who never actually said “yes,” the USMNT faithful were stood up by faux USMNT fan Bill Simmons of ESPN.com last week when the Yanks took on Costa Rica at an emotional RFK stadium. And thus we came to the unsuccessful conclusion of the Bill Simmons Campaign.

Based on the emails we received and various message boards around virtual America, I know everyone put forth a great effort to reach out to Simmons via email and twitter imploring him to attend the final World Cup qualifier. (Matthew and I explored other avenues to make direct contact, but were ultimately unsuccessful as well.)

To all who did what they could, THANK YOU.

To be honest, I knew the campaign was in some trouble when Simmons opened a recent “Mailbag” with an ode to October as the best month for sports and didn’t even make a casual reference to World Cup qualification matches.

The Sports Guy was not in the stands (as far as we know and with his second half tweets as evidence) for the dramatic draw, but it sounds like he wishes he was there. (Don’t we all!)

Here’s an excerpt from his Friday NFL column:

RFK STADIUM (-3) over Any Other Soccer Venue
Did you see Wednesday’s incredible USA-Costa Rica game? Phenomenal crowd, upper decks hanging over the field, entire sections swaying, tons of history … the whole thing was Estadio Azteca-esque, only without the fluid-throwing. I was lucky enough to stand on that field once with the Hogs for a 2002 column. It’s an incredible place. Every seat feels like it’s right on top of you. So can’t we just make it official? Every big American soccer game should be played in RFK. We need the home-field advantage. Done and done.

Most interesting to me was that Simmons made no mention of Charlie Davies or The Salute in his note; especially considering the human side of sport and fan experience is what this guy’s career was been built on.

Let me let the statement resonate with you.

A guy who makes his living speaking from the fan perspective didn’t even note the tribute to  Charlie D, the player who scored the only goal that the “Sports Guy” ever saw in person.

(I’ll leave the debate about RFK as the national stadium to you guys and Jason Davis over at Match Fit who recently addressed the subject. Is Simmons qualified to offer an opinion on a national stadium for the USMNT…umm, no.)

In reality, the inclusion of the above snippet in his weekly NFL column seemed like Bill Simmons was tossing a bone to the soccer fans among his faithful readers. Kind of like a “See guys, I still follow soccer.”

For all the reasons we stated in the original piece kicking off the Campaign it was worth giving it a try as there is no denying the coverage by Simmons would have been a boon to Soccer in America. However, at the end of the day, soccer was simply a convenient August distraction and fodder for Simmons’ columns when needed.

Hey Bill, can we at least get a response the next time your soccer crush kicks in?

No caption needed

Honestly, "Sports Guy," how could you miss this? (Awesome photo by Matt Mathai.)

No B.S. – Simmons and Lalas Talk Soccer

UPDATE:  Support the petition to get Bill Simmons to the US qualifier against Costa Rica in RFK and sitting with the American Outlaws.

Simmons: This is the summer that I inexplicably fell for soccer. I can’t explain it. I don’t know why it happened now. I don’t know if it is like a mid-life crisis, but I have thrown myself into the US National Team and the English Premier League.

Lalas remains one of the most recognized faces in US soccer.

Lalas remains one of the most recognized faces in US soccer.

Lalas: You don’t have to explain it. It’s like…uh…love. You know, it just happens. You got to go with it.

And thus began a meandering, but interesting 58-minute conversation between ESPN’s Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) and Alexi Lalas early this week as part of Simmons’ B.S. Report podcast.

Say what you want about his motivation for covering the sport or knowledge of the game, but the increasing coverage of soccer by Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) can only be a good thing. This isn’t Simmons first foray into the world’s #1 game. A couple of years ago he wrote a two part piece about picking his EPL team—Tottenham Spurs. But, ultimately, Simmons lost interest.

Continue Reading for Highlights of the Conversation

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