Over at The 42nd Estate, we recently launched a new site, Sports Fan 4, which mainly covers the local Boston sports teams but will also report on the national scene and big stories from other teams. For instance, Josh just posted a preview of the Final Four national championship game going down tonight between my North Carolina Tarheels and the Spartans of Michigan State.
I’m already a big fan of Josh’s sports writing style and think you’ll like it too. But it raises a larger question. You see, since his great article after the first Patriots Super Bowl victory, the “Boston Sports Guy” Bill Simmons has been on a decline. That article was his peak, and though he maintained a high quality writing level for a few more, lately he’s really begun to dip. Once a Bill Simmons fanatic, I now don’t even bother reading his stories.
So, someone had to step up and fill in the gap left by Bill. Let’s take a look and see if Josh is up to the challenge. Without further ado, it’s time to see who comes out on top in the battle between Josh Gans and Bill Simmons.
Who is the Real Boston Sports Guy?
Josh was born in Dorchester and raised in Charlestown, two real, actual Boston neighborhoods. Bill was born in Worcester. To his credit, Bill never claimed he was from Boston, but he does constantly imply it indirectly. Any true Bostonian will tell you, being born and raised in the City of Boston is an integral part of being a Bostonian.
While I respect Bill’s work in promoting the Boston sports scene, this point has to go to Josh.
Bill has been writing about sports on the web for years (technically decades), while Josh just recently got into the game. Though I love Josh’s writing style and think he’s truly found his niche and passion, Bill is simply more experienced and it shows. When all else fails, the traditional standard of whose had more best selling books published is a great metric for this category. I think even Josh would agree that right now this point goes to Bill.
In my opinion, Bill’s best article ever was his post about the Patriots first Super Bowl victory. I cried, I laughed, I smiled, I read it again and again. But since that fateful day Bill’s writing has slowly but surely gotten worse, especially after Bill moved out to Los Angeles. There is simply something about Boston that imbibes one with a personality and perspective that cannot be replicated in other cities. I should know, after living in LA for a year I felt like a stranger upon returning to Boston. Josh has just started out and is nowhere near reaching his peak, while Bill has been steadily declining for years now. Plus, Josh is currently living in Boston and can feed off the city’s buzz while Bill relaxes out in sunny but always cloudy Los Angeles.
Saturation of Boston Sports
Though his readers still complain about many of Bill’s articles focusing too much on Boston Sports, the past few years he’s written less and less about Boston Sports. At this point, I’d say it’s fair to call him simply the Sports Guy, leaving the title of Boston Sports Guy up for grabs. Josh also writes extensively about Syracuse University, due to his connection with them via graduating from their Utica campus. He’s also planning on writing about major national stories, but for now most of his posts are about Boston Sports.
Josh is Celtics season ticket holder while Bill is a Clippers season ticket holder. Not even close, point to Josh.
Effect on the Industry
Since Bill started writing about sports online, the web has taken off. Though he wasn’t the sole cataylst for it, I truly believe Bill’s skyrocketing career path greatly helped advance web writing and bring it respect and authority. Without Bill, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many sports bloggers, and even regular bloggers, earning a full time income online. Maybe there would be, but I really do believe that Bill helped all of us web workers legitimize the arena. Josh really can’t compare to Bill in this category, yet. Point Bill.
Bill writes for ESPN.com while Josh writes for SportsFan4.com. The national and international exposure Bill brings to Boston surely drives up tourism and helps make our city better. Also, his now stranger status means he has an outside perspective on Boston from which he can see our flaws better than we can. This one is not even close either, point Bill.
We can’t end this comparison without a look at the intangibles. Who has more upside? Who has a greater wing span? Who can rally the troops and lead them to victory?
Bill has a huge loyal following of thousands upon thousands of fans, while Josh has just a few so far. Bill pointed me towards the great works of Ronald Jenkees, while Josh’s enthusiasm for sports has led to guest writers already asking to write for Sports Fan 4 and even got me writing about sports again.
It’s a tough, close call but the fact that I’m actually reading Sports Fan 4 and even getting pumped for sports again sways this final category to Josh.
And the Winner is…
By the slimmest of margins, 4-3, Josh Gans wins the battle and claims the title from the reigning champion, Bill Simmons, of the real Boston Sports Guy.
Congratulations Josh! Don’t let the crown weigh you down.