Bill Simmons hasn't heard of MLB

By Jason Wojciechowski on June 20, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Here's Simmons at Grantland:

Internationally, the league has never been stronger: It's the only American sports league that attracts stars from every corner of the world. Digitally, the league has been light years ahead of everyone else, embracing the revolution and staying ahead of the curve with social media and video content.

Link. (Note: the story is from over a week ago. I'm behind! Leave me alone.)

The first point, about stars from every corner, is debatable. MLB has had multiple Asian stars (Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, Shin-Soo Choo, arguably Hideo Nomo) to the NBA's one (Yao). The NBA wins Europe, with a multitude of French players especially, but also including the contingent from ex-Yugoslavia, and Africa, although the African pipeline doesn't seem as strong as it once did. MLB is still working on those two continents and certainly has not drawn stars from either place. South America and the Caribbean are flat-out owned by MLB -- even though baseball only draws from a few South American countries, who is the last Chilean or Peruvian NBA star you've heard of? It's basically Brazil and Argentina against Colombia and (especially) Venezuela. And that's before you get to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Adding all that up and maybe Simmons is right in the technicalities -- the NBA is the only league that can claim at least one star from each "corner" of the world. But since we're talking about "corners," he's obviously not making an actual empirical point, so I think it's fair to criticize the more general idea that the NBA has been more successful internationally, in terms of bringing players to the U.S., than MLB, or at least so much more successful that you can talk about "only"'s.

I won't speak on NBA vs. MLB on the social media game, because that's just silly anyway. Are we going to compare the NBA's attitude toward Twitter with MLB's "achievements" for watching games in Gameday? I have no idea how to evaluate it, and I have even less idea how much it matters. My instinct is: very little.

But on video! Has Simmons actually used MLB.tv? I have my complaints about it, lord knows, but I can watch every single game on it. Any time I want. The only blackouts are while the blacked out game is happening. As soon as it's over, you can watch the archive. You can watch MLB.tv on Devices. In HD. My investigations into the NBA package show it to be so far inferior in various respects as to make this claim laughable. Maybe Simmons is referring to the all-around package, the clips and highlights and whatever else is on NBA.com vs. MLB.com (or NFL.com, for that matter), but all of that has to be considered secondary, right?

It's not like it's news that Simmons doesn't really care about baseball, at least as compared to how much likes basketball, football, and objectifying women, but it's worth pointing out sometimes nonetheless.

EDIT: Turns out the piece is actually Yet Another Giant White About How Unfair It Is For The Billionaires. I didn't realize I was linking to such garbage, where, yet a-fucking-gain, it's Eddy Curry's fault that someone paid him boatloads of money. He didn't even bother talking around it: he flat-out writes that owners and GMs have to be "protected from themselves"! The more sophisticated owernship shills in the NBA media have long realized that this is absurd on its face, that men who made billions by being good at making money suddenly need give-backs from the people who actually go out and perform the core actions at the center of the NBA, and thus those shills have learned to couch their "protected from themselves" cries in less plainly idiotic language.

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