It's no big secret that Globe and Mail sportswriter James Mirtle was once a writer here at Battle of California.
It's even less of a secret that his colleague, Toronto Sun sportswriter Steve Simmons (who has never written for Battle of California, we'd like to point out), is objectively horrible at what he does.
Simmons is the idiot manchild poster boy for the anti-advanced stats crowd that actively argues that facts can't teach us anything. While there are plenty of people that aren't interested in advanced stats for more understandable reasons (such as they just haven't taken the time to figure out what they all mean yet so they simply aren't paying attention to them, or because statistical analysis simply doesn't add to what it is they like about hockey), these more reasonable people generally would not argue that analysis or facts don't belong in hockey commentary. But not Simmons. If it's objectively demonstrable through facts and figures, Simmons insists there's no use for it. It's counter-intuitive to basic human existence, yet Simmons loudly marches on.
Trouble is now arising for Simmons, as the team he writes for, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have made it clear this offseason that they are openly embracing advanced-stats and have hired an entire department of stats nerds to help shape the team's future, including former blogger Cam Charron. The Leafs certainly aren't the only team moving in this direction, and the league in general appears to be accepting the usefulness of expanded statistics.
Rather than admitting he was wrong and that maybe this new means of analysis can be helpful (and save the careers of people like himself), Simmons decided to go the character-assassination route:
Cam Charron and I exchanged private emails last season. He posted them online. You can think what you want. To me, that's a weasel.— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) August 19, 2014
There are plenty of sportswriters that say stupid things on Twitter, so Simmons isn't alone here. We here at Battle of California pride ourselves in pointing out some of the stupider ones. In a display that proves that even after you leave Battle of California, Battle of California never leaves you, Mirtle called out Steve Simmons on his hypocrisy:
@simmonssteve You and I had private conversations you put in the Sun. What's the difference?— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 19, 2014
When Mirtle does things like this, it's no wonder how he was able to win over new Battle of California writer Stace's heart.
Simmons tried to fight back as best as he could, but he's an idiot and his response was the equivilent of a Twitter fart-noise.
When you find your name in my column @mirtle call me. Until then, go back to tweeting answers to questions you don't have the balls to ask.— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) August 19, 2014
Actually, a fart noise would have been a lot more clever.
Not knowing how to properly source the private conversation you leaked doesn't mean you didn't leak the conversation, of course, so Simmons's argument here is a pretty weak one.
And while I think I understand what Simmons was trying to say in the second part of his tweet, his ham-handed way of saying it was so clumsy and unclear that it just raised hilarious questions like...
At any rate, we appreciate Mirtle's fine reporting and his ability to keep the Battle of California spirit alive within him, long since leaving and forgetting all about us (and hoping that not too many people figure out his roots).