Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Sports Guy and Soccer: Together Again?

Fans of ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons, aka "The Sports Guy," may remember his short-lived dalliance with the English Premier League three years ago. In the lengthy but entertaining style that is his trademark, Simmons analyzed the pros and cons of supporting all 20 EPL teams, counting them down in reverse order. In the end he selected Tottenham over Liverpool, promising to cheer on the London outfit through the upcoming season.

And that was the end of that. Other than a couple passing mentions, Simmons was never heard from again on the topic of the Premier League. But now his interest in the game appears to be on again.

Apparently inspired by a visit to last week's USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Azteca (a great column if you haven't already read it,) Simmons was tweeting about Sunday's Liverpool-Tottenham game, a meeting of his top two squads from the '06 search.

A couple thoughts here. Simmons, one of ESPN.com's most popular columnists, is hopping back on the Premier League bandwagon at the same time that his employer landed the rights to air games in the States. Coincidence or the latest example of the ever-present integration of ESPN properties? My hunch is it's the latter.

Second, in his column Simmons states that Steven Gerrard was "ridiculously, dominantly good in so many different ways," Sunday against Tottenham. Other than a well-taken penalty kick, this was far from one of Gerrard's finer afternoons. Just wait until Simmons watches Stevie G bringing his A-game.

So will the Sports Guy's burgeoning interest in soccer take root this season? We'll have to wait and see. But Bill, if by some chance you read this blog, feel free to join us at The Globe (rated by ussoccer.com as the "Best Soccer Bar in America," to watch some games if you're ever in Chicago.

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