But seriously, how can I turn down an e-mail like this?
I need a mailbag like a fat kid needs the last slice of cheesecake.
-- McGowan, Hamilton, N.Y.
SG: You know what, McGowan? I'm giving you TWO slices of cheesecake: Part 1 today, Part 2 tomorrow. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.
Could anyone leave a better voicemail message than Morgan Freeman?
-- Barnz, Fayettesville, Ark.
SG: Nope. Not that I can think of. Although I definitely would have had him throw in a "I guess I just miss my friend" joke. Here's the rest of my Dream Guest Message top five:
2. Jack Nicholson: "This is Jack Nicholson. Bill isn't home right now. You're entitled to leave a message for him. Just know that I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain where he is, especially to someone who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said 'thank you' and went on your way. Either way, I don't give a DAMN what you think you're entitled to!!!"
3. Al Pacino: "Hi, this is Al Pacino. I don't know where Bill is right now. But I do know this. Life is just a game of inches. I am still willing to fight and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is!!! The six inches in front of your face!!!!! Now I can't make you leave a message. You gotta do it. So wait for the beep."
4. Buffalo Bill: "This is Jame Gumb answering Bill's cell phone. Bill's not here. (Long pause.) Is this a great big fat person?"
5. Gene Hackman: "This is Gene Hackman for Bill's cell phone. There's a tradition with phone messages to not talk about the return message until you've left the initial one. I'm sure leaving a message on Bill Simmons' cell phone is beyond your wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right there. Don't worry about winning or losing with this message. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of this message, in my book we're gonna be winners! All right? (Sound of a slow clap in the background.) OK? (Clapping gets louder.) Lemme hear it!!!!! (Everyone cheers, followed by a beep.)
Q: Just bought the new edition of your Red Sox book on amazon.com, but since you are a podcast pioneer, can you record it as an audio book? I want a 60-part podcast series of you reading your book to me, because podcasts have made me basically illiterate.
-- Wade, Sydney, Australia
SG: I'll go one step further: I'm going to Twitter the entire book. Just one sentence after another, every minute, for the next 10 years. Let's make America dumber together.
(By the way, I'm going to make Twitter updates throughout the column. Here's the first one: "Bill is working on a mailbag!")
Q: Man, is it just me or does your NCAA bracket looks like an adopted child of a Paris Hilton-Lindsay Lohan marriage? Pretty at first, but quickly evolving into a complete train wreck.
-- Chad, Greensboro, N.C.
Bob Donnan/US Presswire
Blake Griffin is as good as Bill's bracket has been bad.
And fifth, other than everything I just mentioned, nothing excited me in March more than the release of USA Today Weekly's annual fantasy baseball issue (the one that has all the auction prices). I was trying to think of my 15 favorite days from this perspective: You wake up and you think, "Cool, today's the day when X happens!" My top-17 list looks like this: my daughter's birthday; my son's birthday; Halloween; the annual Celtics-Clippers game; Halter Top Day; Patriots' Day (Boston only); NFL conference championship Sunday; Christmas Eve; the first Saturday of NFL wild-card games; my fantasy football draft (the West Coast one where we all get together); first day of March Madness; the NBA draft; the NFL draft; (blank); (blank); Final Four Saturday; my anniversary; Sunday of the Masters; and strangely, the day when that fantasy baseball issue is released. In the League of Dorks (my AL-only keeper league), this issue takes on such mammoth importance that it's like the Nielsen Ratings only coming out once a year for television. For instance, we had Asdrubal Cabrera for $5 and the issue listed him at $12. Who knew? We're keeping a guy named "Asdrubal!" It's my single most exciting purchase every year.
(Couple of follow-up notes: Halter Top Day can't happen in warm-weather locations, just in places like the Northeast, where, in April, the weather finally becomes warm enough that convertible tops can go down and girls can wear miniskirts and halter tops outdoors. I miss Halter Top Day -- it was the single best day of the year in Boston. The two "blank" spots went to Opening Day in baseball and the first Sunday of the NFL season, both of which were ruined when someone came up with the brilliant idea, "Let's mess with those!" Also, I mentioned my anniversary because that means another year passed without my wife saying, "I should run from him while I can still find a second husband." So maybe I don't look forward to it as much as appreciate it. And for some reason, I enjoy the USA Today issue much more than the actual draft, which lasts for 10 hours and always leads to me re-evaluating my life at some point. There you go.)
Q: Do you ever shorten the first names of famous people? I find it very fun, and think that if someone like Russell Crowe had decided to be known as Russ Crowe his career would be different. How about Scott Pippen, Shaq O'Neal or Mike J. Fox. Do you think your life would be different if you had gone by Will Simmons? Yes, it would have.
-- Kevin, Philadelphia
SG: You're talking to the guy who believes Joey Harrington's career would have been completely different if he had gone by "Joe." Not necessarily a bad thing. I liked your other suggestions and would add: Bob Parish, Will Mays, Pey Manning, Bob Orr, Al Ovechkin, Jim Foxx, Len Wilkens, Jim Worthy, John Bench, Walt Payton, Dave Robinson, Carl Fisk, Charlie Barkley, Rob Gibson, Rob Cousy, Ron Lott, Jack Robinson, Marv Hagler, and my personal favorite, Gay Perry. By the way, I think "Will Simmons" would have put me on the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars. Not that I'd object.
Q: My friend and I (a lifelong A's fans) were talking about Eric Chavez and his inevitable extended stay on the DL this year. We were trying to figure out who would take his spot and realized that neither Nomar or Bobby Crosby could put up decent 3B numbers, but both are an upgrade over what we could expect from Chavez. So then the question came up ... in respect to Chavez ... is there such a thing as negative V.O.R.P.?
-- Jason, Phoenix
SG: I asked our baseballprospectus.com buddy Joe Sheehan and here's what he said: "Yup, negative VORPs are fairly common. It's what you get when a player is so bad he actually takes runs out of the league. A replacement-level player would actually be better than what the guy produces (and remember that VORP is adjusted for position, so the standards for shortstops are lower than for first basemen). Top-five last season: Tony Pena, -25.0; Corey Patterson, -19.3; Andruw Jones, -17.3; Jeff Francoeur, -16.9; Wily Mo Pena, -16.5." Thank you, Joe! By the way, that's a fun way to describe someone who completely sucks in your office, dorm hall or family: He has negative VORP.
Q: If you were a male stripper, what song would you dance to? I would have to go with "Regulate" by Warren G and Nate Dogg, being that it is silky smooth yet very manly.
-- Victor, Waretown, N.J.
SG: "Picture Me Rollin'" by Tupac. That's my answer for everything: male stripper song, cell-phone ring, song for my major league at-bat, music for my somber "SportsCenter" highlight package if I died, my entrance for a boxing match, you name it. It's a song that fits any scenario -- past, present or future -- and makes it slightly better. I even used it for a three-paragraph analogy in "The Book of Basketball." You cannot find a song that works in more ways, not even "Slow Ride" by Foghat.
Q: Wondering if you saw ESPN's hilarious interview with Herm Edwards regarding Jay Cutler's situation? When asked how he would handle the situation, Edwards actually said he would point to the team missing the playoffs by just one game last season and tell them, "Hey, that's something we can build on." Can you imagine Herm charging into the Broncos locker room following a 52-21 loss to San Diego to complete a monumental collapse and yelling "WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!!"??!!
-- Rosie, Seattle
SG: (Checking to see if I can still poke fun at Herm because he's now an ESPN employee ...)
Crap. It looks like we can't build on this.
Q: How come all the guys on "High School Reunion" still want the short chunky red-haired woman? Is there an athlete like her -- someone who was good once upon a time and is now past-prime, but teams are still infatuated by them?
-- Patrick R., West Hartford, Conn.
SG: You're trying to bait me into a Terrell Owens rant. I'm not biting. By the way, for those of you who believed that the reality genre was dying, you obviously didn't watch "Reunion" this season. Put it this way: In "The Bachelor," they pull the "Coming up: It's the most amazing revelation yet!" trick and the revelation turns out to be, "I was briefly engaged but then we called the wedding off." When they promise a "Coming up: A shattering secret is revealed!" for "Reunion," it turns out to be something like "Maricela is outed as being a prostitute!" I give this show seven thumbs up.
Q: I'm an NYU student, so it's nothing new when a movie is being filmed near campus, as was the case today. Walking past with my friend, we wondered what movie it was, as it was clearly high budget. I remarked that it was probably another crappy Nicolas Cage movie. My friend stopped to ask a cop, who excitedly said "The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Nicolas Cage." This killed us, as we could tell from the title that this would be another instant classic.
-- Mike, New York
SG: Note to Nic: It's not a good sign when movie fans can guess that you're filming a movie in their neighborhood with the clues "high budget" and "looks crappy." And speaking of high budget and crappy, have you ever seen this clip of Nic Cage doing a series of Japanese commercials (check to right). You're paying me in yen, right? No checks! That was the agreement!
Q: My friend believes that Las Vegas sways its odds to entice people from Los Angeles to make bets because there are so many people from the southland in Vegas every weekend. I think his theory is silly. So we ask you, do the large amounts of L.A .residents visiting Vegas each weekend factor into oddsmaker's decisions?
-- Blair Fetter, L.A.
SG: Yes. Absolutely. Chuck Esposito told me that when I was filming my Caesars Palace piece for "E:60." They don't do it with game action as much as future bets, MVP bets and stuff of that ilk. They also skew the odds low for World Series bets for the Red Sox or Cubs. Why? Because of all the friends and family members who say, "You're going to Vegas? Can you put $20 on the (fill in: Sox or Cubs) for me?"
You just reminded me of something: There should be a section on eBay that allows the auctioning of enticing future bets. For instance, a few weeks before the NBA season, I placed $300 on 15-to-1 odds that Cleveland would win the 2009 NBA title. Those odds have dropped to 2-to-1. Not that I would (after all, Cleveland is going to win the 2009 NBA title), but shouldn't I have the option to sell that $300 ticket on eBay? What if someone bid $1,200 on it (which would be a smart move because, again, Cleveland is going to win the NBA title) and I was guaranteed a $900 return on my investment? Should I take the money? This would be a fun Web site, you have to admit. And if eBay can't do it, then why couldn't the casinos themselves build a Web site that allows people to sell future tickets and get a second cut on the action? It all makes too much sense.
Q: How long will Nancy Lieberman keep asking NBA coaches what they have to do to stop the other team's best player? We are running out of ways to hear someone say, "I have no idea, Nancy. If I knew that, we'd be winning the game."
-- Mike, Philadelphia
SG: See, I'd go the other way on this: This has become something of an odyssey for Nancy. She's trying to find the one coach who will say something like, "You know what? I am doing a little rope-a-dope with Wade right now. I'm defending him straight-up, but with six minutes to go, I'm going to release the hounds on him and trap him with Udonis Haslem's guy. And I don't care that someone from Miami is watching this right now, or that they might relay a heads-up down to Miami's huddle. This is what I am going to do, and dammit, it's going to work. You are going to be SO IMPRESSED, NANCY! I am coming over for a high-five when it works. You be ready for me?" And then Nancy would look with a satisfied smile and say, "Back to you guys." That's her dream, and I am rooting for it.
(Annoying Twitter update: "Hope they leave that answer in. LMAO!")
Q: About four years ago I got a "Rocket Arm" training device to strengthen my arm for pitching. It was endorsed by Roger Clemens, with his picture on the box. I never opened the box and put it in my closet. Now, four years later, I find the box and it says that it lets you "Train like Roger Clemens does." I opened it, half-expecting needles and syringes. The best part? Clemens still endorses the product. Check it out.
-- Matt, Corona, Calif.
SG: This makes me so happy. I will only add this: As a former Clemens fan who has been bashing him since my old Web site launched and once spent 4,500 words trying to figure out if he was the Antichrist, I'm still getting used to the fact that the heart of my anti-Clemens rhetoric (he mailed in his last few Boston seasons, then got in shape and rejuvenated his career after he left) is technically not true. We have ample evidence that (A) he wouldn't have come back to haunt Boston if not for PEDs, and (B) this guy was much more unlikable than anyone realized. It's not even fun to gripe about Clemens anymore -- it's like griping about taxes or airport security lines. He has ceased to be interesting. If you think about him for more than two seconds, you end up thinking about things like, "I am an idiot for following professional sports" and "Every moment I spend rooting for these guys is a moment that I am wasting."
We always talk about the tangible effects of the Steroids Era (it screwed up the numbers historically, compromised the competitiveness of the games and tainted some of the nicer memories we had as fans from 1990 to 2007), but the underrated effect was the realization that some of our greatest players were scumbags. Should we have realized this after the Pete Rose scandal? Yeah, probably. But look at some of the greats from the past 50 years. Rose lives in Vegas and spends his days betting on horse racing. Barry Bonds seemed like a truly awful person even before he let his buddy rot in jail for him. Clemens was willing to sell everyone out, even his wife and friends, to try to keep his name clean. Mark McGwire doesn't have the decency to admit that he cheated. Neither does Sammy Sosa or Raffy Palmeiro. A-Rod lied in 2008 on national TV, then lied about the lie. There are 103 names from that 2003 random drug-test list still out there, only none have the balls to come out and say, "You know what? I'm probably on there and I'm ashamed of what I did." And when you think about how many All-Stars cheated over the past two decades -- is the number 70 percent? 75 percent? 80 percent? -- the unwillingness of the commissioner's office and the player's union to apologize publicly or admit any culpability whatsoever is really staggering. Why is Bud Selig still the commissioner? THIS HAPPENED ON HIS WATCH! Why is Gene Orza still running the players' union? THIS HAPPENED ON HIS WATCH! Everyone's collective "apology" this winter seemed to be, "Let's move on, it's spring training, the World Baseball Classic will be fun, fantasy baseball is starting up ... no use crying over spilled milk."
Ask yourself this: Do you feel like the players, union leaders, owners and executives even feel bad about what happened? Because I don't feel like they do. And it makes me kind of hate baseball. I will still follow it, and I will still love the Red Sox, and I will still do the League of Dorks ... but at the same time, when the sport flounders because of the economy this summer, part of me will be thinking, "What goes around comes around." And after that somber thought, let's talk about boobs.
Q: So, I just watched "Escape From New York" for the first time (one of your favorites), and as much as I enjoyed it, I found that the only thing I ended up paying attention to during the movie were Adrienne Barbeau's SPECTACULAR bosoms. I kept trying to concentrate on the plot, but they were just too distracting and seemed completely out of place. Can you think of other "good" movies where obscene amounts of cleavage or the overall hotness of a female character distracts from the movie to the point where it may even hurt the film?
-- Travis, San Francisco
SG: That's what we call "a good problem," my friend. It just happened with my favorite new show of 2009: HBO's "Eastbound and Down," which could be best described as "A crazier and even more offensive John Rocker-type named Kenny Powers loses his baseball career and goes back home to become a still crazy and still offensive teacher." Kenny's well-endowed ex-girlfriend overshadowed every one of her scenes; you just kept thinking, "Come on, it's HBO, get this girl in a shower or something!" (Let's just say those wishes pay off in the season finale. Just call me the Mr. Skin of sports columnists.) But again, this was a GOOD problem. I don't think this is a show for everyone -- it's silly and raunchy -- but it made me laugh at least twice an episode and nothing makes me laugh anymore.
(My only issue was Kenny's pitching motion: For someone who allegedly threw 101 mph, it looked like he was tutored by Tim Robbins and the guy who played Kevin Costner's dad in "Field of Dreams." I couldn't get past it. It's not a good sign when your flamethrowing pitcher looks like Lamar throwing the javelin for Lambda Lambda Lambda. Regardless, I loved this show and hope it comes back. Knowing HBO, they'll probably only bring it back if Season 2 revolves around Kenny seeing a therapist.)
Q: YES! YES, YES, YES!!! Please write about Anthony Randolph! I've been telling people about him all year long. There's never been an NBA player with his size and skill set. Ever. He's a looong 6-foot-10, runs like a gazelle, has great hops, and can handle the ball. Love it. As an added bonus, he looks like he's constantly crying or really getting his feelings hurt. He's fascinating. I get genuinely giddy any time the Warriors are on, for him alone. Can you please let America know about Anthony Randolph?
-- Aaron, Chicago
SG: He's one of the most breathtaking rookies I've seen in person -- ever -- for all the reasons you just described. There has never been anyone quite like him. He's like a cross between Josh Smith and Lamar Odom, only if you fed him 10 Red Bulls and told him right before the game, "If you can make 10 things happen during the 10 minutes you play tonight, we will quadruple your salary and you will start for the rest of the season" ... and then he does just that, but the coach reneges on the promise so Anthony has a near-crying meltdown on the bench. That's every Anthony Randolph game. I caught him once and, in the span of two hours, he made three "MY GOD!" plays and broke down on the Warriors' bench because Nellie wouldn't put him back in, followed by an assistant consoling him through an entire timeout like Randolph was a third grader who got in trouble for something he didn't do, then had a meltdown and got kicked out of class. It was riveting. The odds of me missing another Clips-Warriors game for the next five years are 10,000-to-1.
One other thing: There hasn't been nearly enough made of how screwed up the Warriors are right now. Their front office and ownership situation is a world-class mess. Their coach has been in "I'm Keith Hernandez" Mode since the 2007 Dallas upset and looks like he's actively trying to get fired. They have two young players everyone loves -- Randolph and Monta Ellis -- only they've been antagonized to the degree that it might affect them long-term. In Randolph's case, how can a lottery team not play a talent like Randolph 35 minutes a game? What the hell is going on here??? For some reason, the only media member who seems to care is Tim Kawakami. I don't get it. If I were a Warriors fan, I would be organizing protests outside the arena complaining about Randolph's playing time. It's insane. Imagine if Chicago was 16-50 and played Derrick Rose 10 minutes a game. Would you think that was weird? You would, right? Welcome to Anthony Randolph's world. This is the single weirdest subplot of the 2008-09 season, narrowly edging Zaza Pachulia's bacne.
Q: What's the very best sports month?
-- William N., Lockhart, Texas
SG: The Final Four, Opening Day, WrestleMania, first month of baseball, start of the NBA and NHL playoffs, The Masters, the NFL draft, Patriots' Day, Halter Top Day ... what's better than April? I'm convinced that's why we have to pay taxes in April -- it's the government's way of tainting the best month of the year.
(Annoying Twitter update: "Taxes due in two weeks. Ugh. Anyone want to do mine?")
Q: Can we get your thoughts on Schilling and the HOF? Here are mine: Saying he would help break the curse, and then DOING IT! Bloody sock -- beating the Yankees! Great postseason record. Regular season numbers are STRONG! Antagonistic relationship with the media (CHB in Boston, Pedro Gomez in Arizona) and management (Philly). Supporter of troops and ALS. Critic of performance enhancing drug users (in the sport) Of course many other things ... anyhow, I am so glad he passed through Boston. I cannot tell you how much 2004 meant to me.
-- Matt, Huntington Beach, Calif.
SG: Couldn't agree more. My Schilling defense: We want athletes to speak their mind, and then when they do, we want them to shut up. So pick a side. I'd much rather have a sports world littered with Schillings than Vijay Singhs. That's one part. The second part is this: Back in 2003, you could have played a "How far would you go to see the Red Sox win a World Series in your lifetime?" game with any die-hard Sox fan and potential answers might have included, "I would hold up a convenience store wearing a ski mask," "I would allow my friends to tip me over in a port-o-john" and "I would listen to a tape that looped Bill Russell's laugh over and over again for 72 straight hours." Anyone from the '04 team should be beyond reproach in New England. It's just a fact.
Q: I was thinking about the biggest non-Internet era sports stories that would have made the Internet or ESPN talk shows explode. Here's my rudimentary list: Magic and HIV; Jordan retires for first time; Wilt scores 100; O.J. Simpson car chase; Kermit Washington's punch; Hatch CATCHING a penalty kick to save the Allies after they stay for the second half. What do you think?
-- Mark, Seattle
SG: All good candidates. But you left out three sleepers: Juan Marichal repeatedly hitting John Roseboro over the head with his bat (isn't he suspended for life if that happens today?); Muhammad Ali getting stripped of his boxing license for his stance on Vietnam (seriously, that would have been covered with its own ESPN show, like how ABC formed "Nightline" around the Iran hostage crisis); the Bruins climbing into the MSG stands to fight Rangers fans (really a more violent and more entertaining version of the Artest Melee). You also left out the clear No. 1 on the 20th century list: The 1919 Black Sox. That story would have kept going for years and years and years. Grantland Rice, Red Smith and Fred Lieb would have gotten a ton of mileage out of it on "Around the Horn," I can tell you that much.
Q: Who wins a Smile-Off between Larry Fitzgerald and Dwight Howard?
-- Andrea B., Boston
Q: Sweet Jesus was "Righteous Kill" bad. You already knew that but AMAZINGLY failed to mention this million dollar nugget: Robert De Niro hits a STAND UP TRIPLE off one of the New Kids in the softball scene of that movie! No F'n way! That guy couldn't run 20 years ago and he's legging out uncontested triples? We need a "There's NO WAY IN HELL!" movie scenes category. Here's three off the top of my head: De Niro's triple; the ex-president bank-robbing surfers knowing who Johnny Utah was at the beach football game; Eastwood beating up The Swede in "Heartbreak Ridge." Feel free to expand the list. You could easily kill a few hours.
-- Paul Hogan, Pittsburgh
SG: I'd call this the Speed Jump List after Keanu's bus that jumped the 50-foot hole in "Speed." Some other examples: Rambo surviving the jump off the cliff in "First Blood;" everything that happened in the climactic baseball sequence in "The Fan;" Andy's suit somehow surviving the 500-foot crawl through the sewer pipe and the subsequent thunder storm in "The Shawshank Redemption;" the dancing scene in "Breakfast Club;" the "He Got Game" ending when Denzel throws the ball 500 miles off the roof and it gets caught by Jesus (or whatever we're supposed to believe happened there); Mox walking away from Ali Larter's human whipped cream sundae; the last out of Billy Chapel's no-hitter; Mike McD turning down free sex from the Russian poker hottie after his girlfriend dumped him; any movie where Woody Allen landed a good-looking woman after 1985; Chuck Noland surviving the FedEx plane crash; Harold Ramis and Bill Murray hooking up with Sean Young and P.J. Soles in "Stripes;" Rocky accepting the Drago fight on Christmas Day for no money; Rocky climbing a 20,000-foot mountain in Russia in the dead of winter wearing only a jacket and running boots; the Russians turning on Drago and cheering for Rocky; everything about "Rocky IV."
(Annoying Twitter update: "This week marks eight years for me at the Mouse ... and eight years of beating 'Rocky IV' jokes into the ground!")
Q: You talked about the flaws in "Heat" and "Castaway", but the most overlooked movie flaw in history goes to "Titanic." Remember when the old lady dies in her sleep and sees Jack Dawson, decked out in a three-piece suite, awaiting her arrival? Let's not forget the same lady was married and spawned numerous children and grandchildren throughout her long life. Yet despite over 50 years of marriage, she decides that when she goes to heaven she wants to be with some dude she had a fling with on a boat almost 80 years ago? Isn't that like John Smoltz wanting to enter Cooperstown as a Red Sox?
-- Robert C., Toronto
SG: See, I like that twist. It will teach my little boy not to trust women. It's important. Crucial, even. That reminds me ...
Q: Why can't Hollywood make a movie about a guy who doesn't get married, keeps his friends, loves life, dates hot girls up until they get crazy. But also show his old college roommate married with kids, a nagging wife, a crap job he can't quit because of the kids and mortgage. This should be made and mandatory viewing for any single male by the time he hits 18. At least he would have a fighting chance. If you have a great marriage awesome. But I would tell you that nine of 10 married guys I know are in the old college roommate state of life right now. Good luck all you engaged men. (Suckers.)
-- Gabe B., Waterloo, Iowa
SG: And that wraps up this month's installment for "Fellas, Don't Get Married!" By the way, I'd like to give a special shout-out to my buddy Sully, who's already trained his two young sons to answer the questions "How old will you be before you can think about getting married?" and "Where are you going to college?" with the answers "35" and "South or West." Now that's great parenting.
Q: Why won't you understand shooting percentages? 33 percent from beyond the arc is the equivalent of 50 percent from within. If a guy shot 50 percent from the field, would you be killing him for shooting? Of course not. You obviously realize how stupid that would be. Yet that's what you've been doing -- FOR YEARS -- with your mind-boggling argument against 3-point shooting unless the guy can hit 75 percent of his 3s. Just think about it for a couple of seconds. Please ... we are begging you.
-- Nick, New York
SG: Dozens of readers e-mailed me Nick's same stupid argument in a similarly condescending way, which is what makes the following so much fun: I'm not stupid, YOU'RE STUPID. That 33/50 logic only makes sense in a professional basketball league in which they aren't calling fouls and you aren't allowed to pass to a teammate ... which, as far as I can tell, doesn't currently exist.
Let's say that one player attempts 12 3-pointers and makes four (for 12 points). His teammate attempts 12 2-pointers and makes six, but during that time -- because he's not standing 25 feet away jacking up 3s like an idiot -- he also draws three fouls on his defender, creates two assists for teammates, makes three of four free throws, turns the ball over once, and misses one layup that gets tapped in by a teammate (we'll call it 19 points). You're telling me those two scenarios are equal? If I'm playing LeBron (a 31 percent 3-point shooter), ideally, I want him jacking up contested 3s because that means (A) he's not getting to the line, (B) he's not getting my guys in foul trouble, and (C) he's not potentially creating shots for someone else. I can't defend LeBron when he's going to the basket, especially if he's getting calls. But you know what? If he's happy shooting 3s from 25 feet with a hand in his face, then I'm delighted. This is great. I want him to do that. And if he's doing something that the other team WANTS him to do, then he's doing the wrong thing. I'm fine with shooting 24-footers over 20-footers, but getting into the paint will always be more valuable than jacking up 3s. It's just a fact.
(Note to Nick and everyone else who mailed me the 33/50 argument: I'm doing the Dikembe finger wave at you. Don't come into my house.)
Q. I heard you mention Micro League Baseball on a podcast and it inspired me to take a stroll down memory lane and read the game's Wikipedia page. One problem. It doesn't have one! I defy you to find anything with as much historical and cultural significance that does not have its own Wikipedia page. This is the same resource where you can find DETAILED charts and graphs of who just got kicked off "From G's to Gents."
-- Mike O., N.Y.
SG: I knew I'd make a difference in some small way in 2009. Maybe this will be it.
Q: On a side note, a few weeks ago, the manager at a local restaurant congratulated my stepdad on me making your Holiday Mailbag on Dec. 26, 2008. Subsequently, I received an e-mail from my mom titled "Makes A Momma Proud," and foolishly I had grand ideas of her praising me. However, all she sent was "Q: Beer + Weed + Bill Simmons = 1.9 GPA for fall quarter. Thank you, Bill, for helping me achieve my lowest GPA since the seventh grade. Yup, I'm one of your readers."
-- Tysen A., Bellingham, Wash.
SG: Yup, that was 2008's "make a difference" example.
(Annoying Twitter update: "Part 1 is in the books! Part 2 coming tomorrow!")
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. For every Simmons column, as well as podcasts, videos, favorite links and more, check out the revamped Sports Guy's World.