How Dare You, Sir!

April 27, 2010

I’m upset with Bill Simmons.

I got called out by someone for using the phrase “Press Box Hot” without attributing it to Simmons. Which angers me because that phrase is a variation of “Press Box Cute” which has been around a long time before Simmons used it.

— For those of you who don’t know, press box hot/cute is the tendency for a male-dominated industry to have an inflated sense of a woman’s attractiveness because the peer group she is in is underwhelming. (In this case, the discussion was about Erin Andrews, and is she legitimately hot, or is her attractiveness over-stated because of her job in sports, where most women are not very good looking).  —

Upon the accusation that I was stealing someone’s material without allocating proper credit I immediately cried out “How dare you, sir!” and explained:

Simmons whole style is that he’s the ANTI-PRESS BOX writer, someone who doesn’t go to clubhouses or press boxes and writes a column as a fan. Being someone who’s actually in press boxes, I heard about that phrase before I’d heard of Simmons… and a heck of a long time before Simmons ever set foot in a press box — if he ever has.

But he recently heard it from a reporter colleague and used it in an article, so now my friends outside the media relations field act like he invented it.  It’s a lot like how the folks at ESPN and the YES Network made a huge deal about A.J. Burnett giving Yankees the shaving cream pie in the face. They acted like they’d never seen it before, and he invented the concept and turned it into a season-long phenomenon. In actuality, that gag has been part of baseball for as long as I can remember.

I was defensive because I can pinpoint the date I first heard it as I fondly remember the young lady we were discussing and when I first met her. I won’t go into details, because there’s a possibility she is a reader and might be offended.

But as I was explaining how this woman was a legitimate cutie,  and I was just overrating her compared to our colleagues, a long time veteran of press boxes informed me that “There’s a phrase for that. That’s called Press Box Cute.”

This incident predates not only Simmons’ usage of the phrase by almost a decade, but also his arrival at ESPN (although, in full disclosure, I had read him prior to that).  So I became defensive at these wild accusations, and our argument soon escalated.

My adversary did get an outstanding retort in on me:  “I don’t give a **** if you invented square hamburgers 200 years ago, Dave Thomas gets the credit for taking it global.”

But I reject his stance. You know how when some people are fans of a band when they are underground and after the band gets huge, they  will resent the bandwagon fans that just discovered them? That’s kind of how I feel on this matter, because the phrase comes from my world. So I hear by give everyone in the universe full permission to use the phrase Press Box Hot/Cute without attributing any credit whatsoever to Bill Simmons, as his press-box avoidance renders him outside the industry which created the term.