Don't Expect Bill Simmons Pardoning Any Interruptions This Summer

Last month Dan Le Batard was on the ↵Deadcast and mentioned that he would be doing part of his traditional mid-summer replacement tour on PTI with none other than The Sports Guy – ESPN's resident voice of the fan, Bill Simmons. ↵

↵It's odd that Simmons has never co-hosted PTI in the past, nor to my recollection ever been a guest for Five Good Minutes. Why has ESPN's top show featuring writers yelling at one another (and there a lot of them on ESPN these days) never featured the most popular writer the Worldwide Leader employs? ↵

↵

↵Think of the list of names they've had in the past to fill in for Mike and Tony. Say what you will about Le Batard, but he's great on PTI as a fill-in for either Kornheiser or Wilbon. Le Batard has proven to be the only guest host, no disrespect to the venerable Bob Ryan, to come close to mirroring the quality Tony and Mike team up to produce – even if he plays the villain in the process. ↵

↵

↵There's a reason the PTI shows with guest hosts don't do as well in the ratings. We like to watch two old friends – crotchety as they may be – discuss the topics of the day in sports. When there's a fill-in host, or heaven forbid two fill-in hosts, the show loses its hook. Le Batard, seems to be the only one who manages to keep some of the heat lost when Tony or Mike are away from the show. ↵

↵

↵And in the summer, they are away quite a bit. ↵

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↵Deadspin put together a list of former PTI fill-in hosts, including J.A. Adande, Stephen A. Smith, Jay Mariotti, Dan Shaughnessy, (stop me when you want to watch someone), Jason Whitlock, Norman Chad and, who can forget, Rick Reilly. ↵

↵

↵Whitlock is the only person the list who was consistently entertaining (my own admiration for Chad aside), but Big Sexy is, shall we say, persona non grata at the WWL these days. ↵

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↵The worst offender of the fill-in chair may have been Reilly, who struggled to fit his one-line puns and dental references into the PTI model. That's why word last month that Le Batard would be hosting the show with Simmons was big news. And exciting. If for nothing else, it would be interesting to see how Simmons, himself, could fit into the PTI mold. Known for his 'free-flowing conversations that occasionally touch on mature subjects,' would Simmons flounder in the quick-hit, bell-ringing world of PTI, or would it be a huge success, furthering development of the ever-growing Bill Simmons/ESPN media empire? And in a time of the year when PTI struggles to find viewers with the absence of Mike and Tony, Simmons would deliver a huge number. ↵

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↵It turns out, we'll have to wait to find out what that number will be. ↵

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↵When Tony and Mike came back from vacation this week, the question became if, not when, Simmons and Le Batard would have their chance to pardon and/or interrupt one another. Usually the fill-in weeks are during the dog days of July, and with August just around the corner and football season starting, there may not be time for Simmons to do a full week of PTI. ↵

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↵I emailed with Erik Rydholm, executive-producer/creator/genius behind PTI and he told me that he would like to make it work, but scheduling isn't cooperating. He wrote: ↵

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↵⇥"Very few upcoming stretches when both Tony and Mike are off. A couple of single days and it makes little sense to fly Dan and Bill in from forever away for one day. Hope to get something (scheduled) down the line." ↵
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↵It seems we'll have to wait for Simmons to litter the set with cut-out heads of Yaz and Pudge and Orr and Bird and The Chief and J-Bug and Johnny and whoever else he can fit on the screen behind him. As for when? Perhaps we'll see Simmons debut on PTI in October. He will have that book to plug, after all. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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