By T.J. Simers
Gee whiz golly gee, golf went where the money is.
Who cares? All this hand-wringing about who gives Jordan Speith millions is unbelievable. People must really be starved looking for a controversy to comment on.
Most of us don’t give a care about golf beyond the Masters, the U.S. Open and maybe the Ryder Cup. I know I can’t take much more of Jim Nantz.
Our resident knee-jerk reactionary, Bill Plaschke from the Los Angeles Times, stepped right up to the tee; “The next time you spend a Sunday curled up on the couch watching the dramatic end of a PGA Tour event…”
As Wednesday morning laughs go, that would be the first time. Come on, can you picture Plaschke curled up on the couch living and dying with a Sunday golf finish?
That would explain why he doesn’t cover the Dodgers and Angels more, but come on, that’s like the sound of gunshots he hears when covering an inner city football practice.
Plaschke’s point is the finish to these golf tournaments will “have been bought by a country with no free speech, no religious freedom and a history of discriminating against women.”
I’m sorry, but there are so many injustices in the world, I can’t keep track any more. There are starving children in this country probably not far from the local country club. Who made sports writers today’s crusders?
Plaschke says this is happening to a sport that we “knew and loved.”
Huh? It’s OK, but I would rather watch a football game on Sunday.
I’ve been to lots of golf tournaments, interviewed the very best and the name Jamal Khashoggi never came up. That would be my fault, of course, but am I supposed to apologize for wearing blinders when I watch sports?
They are an escape, and out of my hands, the only men’s golf we’ll be watching from now on will be the combined efforts of the PGA and LIV. If you believe anything Plaschke has written, every golf tournament from this date on should be boycotted.
Let’s see Plaschke call for a boycott of the U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club beginning Monday. In the name of Khashoggi, Plaschke, show some courage.
Does he cover the tournament? Does he write about Khashoggi, asking golfers if they are upset about taking tainted money? Of course he does.
But does he eventually write about the winner, making himself look more like a hypocrite?
There is so much talk here about hypocrisy from sports writers. They are out of their league. In this case the word is being used to explain a complex world in simplistic terms. Didn’t we just finish up a World Cup in Qatar, a country allegedly violating human rights?
The Times sent a reporter to Qatar who wrote a million words like soccer is important.
Golfers are mercenaries, always have been and apparently will be. Their job is to chase the money or they don’t make any, the sponsorships coming after they have won.
Some of them were being paid with tainted money; now they all will be and within a matter of weeks none of them will care where any of it came from. Mercenaries don’t sweat the details; tournament organizers do and it seems hard for sports writers to grasp the concept.
“This merger,” continues Plaschke like someone who really does need his blankie, “feels like a missed two-foot putt.”
My friends don’t make me make two-foot putts.
I think I understand now why he’s so upset.
By T.J. Simers
Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,
So, your newspaper buries Game 1 of the NBA Finals inside the sports section, letting everyone know how important Denver and Miami are to the people of Los Angeles. And then….
Your newspaper runs one of the longest stories to ever appear in the sports section, beginning on the front page of sports re: Game 2 promoting the guy who runs the nightclub in the basement of the Miami arena. Complete with pictures you paid for.
Miami. The nightclub is in Miami. What a stunner they have a Forum Club inside their basketball arena. Wow.
By now you have probably guessed, Patrick, or have already seen his expense account and know this is the handiwork of Times’ Culture Critic, Tyler R. Tynes.
So far your Culture Critics has been clueless when it comes to culture in the Los Angeles area. He wrote about Philadelphia fans, a losing fighter from Victorville and almost no one cares about boxing anymore, and Brittney Griner without getting an interview with her.
Now add everything you might want to know about a guy who works in a Miami nightclub. Consider it breaking news.
You know who I am talking about, the guy Editor Kevin Merida recommended and sports editor Iliana Limon Romero hired to keep Merida happy. The guy who has written four bloated stories to date, one so long they couldn’t even get it into the newspaper.
They never allow for comments below any of Tyler R. Tynes’ stories like they do columnists Bill Plaschke and Dylan Hernandez. I wonder why?
There’s a picture on the front sports page of the guy who runs the nightclub, and on the two pages of more writing about the club—yes two pages and God knows how many killed trees—-there’s a picture of bar patrons and female bartenders missing part of their uniforms. The cutline reads: “Courtside Club bustles with activity beginning hours before Miami Heat games and continuing hours after.”
This revelation that Miami has a Forum Club must have really excited Lakers’ fans, although I might have a suggested using the space to write about a week spent with Austin Reaves and his growing acclaim.
There’s another picture of young lovelies, all of them with arms raised above their heads to celebrate their good fortune of being featured in the LA Times. You paid for that picture, Patrick.
The Times sports editor had already declared no interest in the basketball game between Denver and Miami, but this solved a problem.
Our Culture Critic had been working on this story since being hired last October and that’s a lot of time to spend in a bar without getting much in return.
He hasn’t written much so this would show he can write, well, wax poetic about nothing we care about.
What good fortune Miami made it to the Finals, or it might have been a really rough start for Tyler R. Tynes and Merida and Romero.
By T.J. Simers
I wasn’t surprised when I read former Dodger Steve Garvey was potentially going to run as a Republican for the open Senate seat in California.
Given his track record with women and unpaid bills, Garvey has the perfect choice for campaign manager in Donald Trump.
That’s not a political statement so much as the common ground shared by the well-known popular “do whatever they like and get away with it” duo.
I figure Garvey will ultimately decide not to run, too much baggage to tote in this age of stinging social media and Garvey lacking the ability to shrug it off like his prospective campaign manager.
On the other hand, I could be totally wrong, Garvey offering the voting public one of the great redemption campaigns of our lifetime. And maybe benefitting finally from all those “Honk if you”re carrying Steve Garvey’s love child” bumper stickers, the kiddos all grown up and ready to vote.
For the record I have always enjoyed my encounters with Steve Garvey even after he ruined my night after hitting a walk-off home run for the Padres to beat my Cubs in 1984.
I was there that dramatic night, Jack Murphy Stadum louder than any other ballpark I have ever been in and Garvey running around the bases with his fist flying over his head.
If you have been around Garvey he offers a challenge; is he Mr. Clean or is he a phony? I have always believed he’s just a nice guy.
We have had many, many friendly chats and one outlandish one.
He called me in 2006 to ask me to kill a story running in the Los Angeles Times. The front-page story detailed Garvey’s history of not paying his bills. (April 9, 2006 Former Dodger Great Facing Mound of Debt by Matt Lait, if you care to GOOGLE).
The story said the Garveys had been taken to small claims court by their gardener, a mirror installer and owed attorneys $300,000. His pediatrician reportedly would only accept cash from the Garveys. And the list went on and on.
There were two problems, 1) I couldn’t even consider killing the story because it was already plastered across the front page of the LA Times and 2) I had no idea if the story was true or not.
I knew who wrote the story and knowing the reporter’s reputation I figured it was true down to the last comma and period. And what an embarrassing story, Garvey and his wife coming across as scoundrels, one lawyer who was trying to collect a $235,000 debt, saying, “Once a Dodger always a dodger.”
I have no idea how his bill-paying goes now. So, it could be totally unfair to bring up 2000 to 2006 moments in Garvey’s life, but politics makes it almost a guarantee they will resurface.
That is why I don’t think Garvey will run for office. Too much explanation required.
I liked to ask Tom Lasorda over our breakfasts at the Mini Gourmet in Placentia whether Garvey was real or not? Lasorda said you got what you got from Garvey, and when mentioning the fight between Garvey and Don Sutton, Lasorda made it clear he was pulling for Garvey.
I apparently knew Garvey’s wife before he did, delivering the DuPage County Press to her parent’s home in Wheaton, Il. I had no trouble collecting payment for the newspaper.
When we have had that opportunity over the years to chat she has been great. Yet we have never discussed the thousands and thousands of dollars allegedly unpaid to debtors with claims against them.
Have they all been paid? I really don’t care, but if Garvey runs for office, there will be people who do care. Lots of them.
By. T.J. Simers
Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,
KUDOS to the Times.
Dylan Hernandez wrote an excellent, strongly-worded, opinioned column for the LA Times recently on the Dodgers decision to cancel an invite to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence during the team’s upcoming Pride Night game.
He disagreed with the Dodgers and wrote the controversial column before waiting to see how others might react. That took some newspaper courage.
In the last few days Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw has said in a measured response that he opposes the Dodgers’ decision to reinstate the nun’s event while urging the team to bring back a Christian-faith night.
You couldn’t find two better spokesmen than each representing their point of view.
But I think they are also both dead wrong.
There is only one reason to honor groups brought to the ballpark, and that is to sell more tickets.
The same goes for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League teams and Rotary Clubs. The Dodgers want to sell more tickets, and that’s business. I guess it’s offensive to some to be in the hot dog line or finding their seats while the LGBTQ+ community parades on the field.
Maybe that’s why Dodgers crowds are so late-arriving.
In 2000, before I think Hernandez was even born, I covered the “Kissing Lesbians” fiasco at Dodger Stadium. Three women were tossed from the stadium for kissing each other after a Dodger home run. As you might imagine, everyone was shocked a Dodger hit a home run, and so there were all kinds of reactions
The Dodgers publicly apologized later for breaking up the smooch-fest. “We felt we wanted to send a strong message that everyone is welcome to Dodger Stadium,” said team president Bob Graziano. “and subject to equal treatment.”
Equal treatment is how it’s gone ever since. I have been to thousands of baseball games and most pregame festivities are ignored, the stadium essentially still empty as honored groups take a bow.
As for Kershaw if he doesn’t want to see the nuns, stay in the training room like so many players do before a game. As you have probably noticed seldom does a player you recognize take part in the pregame festivities.
Kershaw said this has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community, and you know why? That would make it a really big argument. With a ton more controversy.
He confined his criticism to a group of nuns I have never heard of. I was taught by nuns. On first glance this doesn’t seem anything like them unless they suddenly start smacking people with rulers, so I don’t know anyhing about them or care to know. I have no interest in them or Kershaw’s event. If I go to a Dodger game, and bless me Father for even mentioning such a possibility, it would be to watch Kershaw pitch.
To be honest, I attended many of those faith-based events while covering the Dodgers because they held them in the stands after a game while we wrote our stories about the Dodgers. I had no choice. I would have preferred silence, but the media always remained respectful.
That’s the only thing Hernandez and Kershaw should be calling for: respect, and as solid as they are as communicators that’s what they seem to be doing even if they disagree.
If the Dodgers want to be digging deep to sell more seats, why is that a problem? If it is, just don’t go that night.
By T.J. Simers
Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,
Did you know, Patrick, that your newspaper is currently developing a bells and whistles system designed to go off whenever sports culture critic, Tyler R. Tynes, writes?
As you might know you have paid him to write three times since being hired in October last year. And I missed the third time.
Apparently the story ran inside the sports section recently, not worthy of Page 1 sports display and it was late again—-Two days after Brittney Griner played in Los Angeles.
An odd place to put a Brittney Griner exclusive.
OK, so it wasn’t exclusive, which begs the question not? Why is Tyler R. Tynes is writing it and not your Angels’ hack? You hire a sports culture columnist and I imagine your expectations would be that such a writer would come in handy with something like this.
I’m told the editor of the Times, Kevin Merida, who was the driving force behind hiring the waste of space that has been Tyler R. Tynes so far, told the sports department he wanted Tyler R. Tynes included in the coverage of the Lakers’ playoff run.
Two problems with that, the edict coming down before Game 4 and Tyler R. Tynes failed to show up for the assignment and the Lakers would not play again in the playoffs after Game 4.
I was told the guy showed up for the National Championship college football game a little tipsy after spending time with TCU fans, but I would imagine you would have to be tipsy to sit with TCU fans, And why should the writers in the press box be any different than the fans in the stands?
That’s what a source told me, and I see the Times loves anonymous sources using them everywhere in its USC athletic director story, and maybe we have the same sources.
Patrick, if you remember I suggested assigning your culture critic to the Lakers’ beat, so he might write something that might be read. His first two non-efforts, a story on Philadelphia football fans a week after the Super Bowl and a Victorville boxer knocked out in his fight were amateur hour attempts. The boxer story never made it into the newspaper, too long, too late and too much of nothing.
Editor Kevin Merida obviously has an eye for talent, spotting Tyler R. Tynes on one of those rare opportunities Tyler wrote elsewhere and recommending him to sports editor Iliana Limon Romero. Romero is in the business to impress the bosses so she immediately hired him.
But so far, and it’s only been three stories—two of which have made it into the paper—the writing is nothing but pompous puffery. She might want to act like an editor and help him.
If you are going to write a story on Griner as the Times’ Culture Critic, shouldn’t you do everything in your lofty media position to score an interview with her? He got nothing, and that’s nothing from her that anyone writing about her wouldn’t get.
“Well, I’m here, as Ms. Griner requested of us,” wrote Tynes to begin his story. “All of us, I may add. Fans, press, patrons and phonies — the entirety, included, Come, now. Don’t make that noise. There’s plenty of room for us in the cold corners of the Crypt. And anywhere would be a welkin…”
Would be a WELKIN? Cold corners of the Crypt? What noise?
Total overwritten garbage and Plaschke didn’t write it.
He’s goes on to write, “She was no Odysseus, I assure you.” Does that have something to do with Russell Westbrook?
“I could’ve sworn,” Tyler R. Tynes wrote, ” I saw a god with the flicker of the underworld’s blue embers, still trying to figure out how her new normal worked.”
They set Griner free in Russia and this is what she has to confront now in the United States?
By T.J. Simers
Do you think Plaschke is pulling everyone’s leg and just playing the role of the big dummy?
After Game 1, he pummeled LeBron James.
After Game 2, he annihilated Anthony Davis.
After Game 3, he gave up on the Lakers and turned to his favorite subject, USC.
After Game 4, he suggested everyone hold hands and sing the praises of the Lakers after they had had been swept.
“No shame in this sweep,” shouted the headline above his column and shouldn’t every professional team that has been swept be ashamed of itself?
Plaschke wrote that it was a sweep, but it wasn’t ugly. He wrote it was sweep but it wasn’t embarrassing. It was a sweep, he wrote, but there should be no shame.
It was a shame then that Plaschke wrote it was a sweep three times in a row to make the point it wasn’t ugly, embarrassing and there should be no shame.
I’m confused. He writes now what a great year it was for the Lakers, and yeah, this is just the beginning of great things ahead with no mention whether LeBron James will retire as James hinted.
What a load of crap. Was this written to put a nice bow on the Lakers’ season to make amends for all the criticism he threw the Lakers’ way? He’s been trying to run LeBron out of town and now he tells us this “is the postseason where James officially became a Laker.”
Does he still get credit for winning a championship when the Lakers won in the bubble?
So, he only gets credit for being a full-fledge Laker when the team gets swept out of the playoffs?
Come on, he’s got to be pulling our legs
By T.J. Simers
Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,
I am a day late with this, but then the Lakers didn’t even show up, so why quibble.
I know you’re probably down, what with being part owner of the disappointing Lakers and the disappointing LA Times.
I’m sure you’re still interested in the Lakers but obviously not so much the Times or you would say something.
How did you not say something about that inane three-point Lakers’ celebration story in your newspaper? I read it because I thought the organization was planning a mega-party when LeBron finally hit a three.
From what I gather the story was about the four-year-old kid of one of the Lakers like I care about the four-year-old kid of any Laker unless he can perform in the fourth quarter better than his dad.
He was doing “the Freeze,” which is some kind of poise the losing fathers do when they hit a three, maybe the problem why they are so cold the stupid nickname of their celebration.
I started the playoffs with the Nuggets reading Plaschke who said LeBron had cost the Lakers with lousy play in the fourth quarter. Sometimes with Plaschke you can’t be sure if he’s saying LeBron was bad in the fourth quarter or his whole life, but not really his whole life but that’s how he wants it to sound so somebody will read it.
After Game 2 LeBron played just as awful in fourth quarter as Game 1, almost mirroring the game-costing mistakes but reading Plaschke it was now Anthony Davis’ fault. Barely a mention of LeBron.
So, I was really curious to see who your sports columnist was going to blame after Game 3.
He didn’t even write about the game, giving up on the Lakers as they came home to win a game they had to win. The first identified Laker quitter.
He wrote about USC.
How does the top sports columnist at your newspaper, Patrick, ignore the Lakers in their biggest time of need? There was nothing to advance in the USC story on this particular Sunday other than Plaschke beating his chest to say he was really mad because the USC athletic director quit before the Times could nail him.
So, I guess we’ll never know which Laker escaped a brutal Plaschke beating for blowing Game 3.
I hope I can get over it.
By T.J. Simers
When Barbaro went down and was cremated, horse racing buried his ashes at the main entrance to Churchill Downs. How appropriate a dead horse reminding everyone what a dying sport it had become.
The latest news is the last straw of hay, though, news coming that Forte tested positive from drugs last year after winning a big race. Forte was the favorite in this year”s Kentucky Derby until he was scratched the morning of the Derby.
I love horse racing, but something stinks here.
The suspicion here is that Forte was scratched after trainer Todd Fletcher learned of a pending New York Times story naming Forte as a cheater. How would it have looked if Forte won the Derby and then had to explain the cheating charges?
The LA Times is paying some guy living in Florida to cover horse racing for the Times. He didn’t have a word, or hint, Forte was up to no good and the Times for his airfare to Louisville, hotel and meals. It would have been a whole lot cheaper to hire the Associated Press or refer every one to the NY Times.
What I’d like to know is how they kept it out of the public eye for more than a year. Bob Baffert, I’m sure, would like to know the same thing, getting the boot and prohibited from competing in the Derby. Otherwise, it’s just another racing coverup, and it’s like my wife says every time I bemoan the fact that I had the worst luck betting the horses. “It’s fixed,” she screams.
A number of years ago I bet a Pick 6 in my dead dad’s honor. I lost learning later, one of the horses had a surgical procedure to allow it to breathe, the trainer, Vladimir Cerin, telling me it wasn’t the public’s right to know the horse could not breath.
At the same time I challenged trainer Jeff Mullins, who had been accused of milk shaking horses —sticking a hose down its throat and loading up a horse’s stomach with baking soda which allows a horse to run further without fatigue becoming a factor.
When I quizzed Mullins, he said the problem with racing “are all the addicts and idiots crying because they lost a $2 bet.”
I noticed on the Internet Mullins was suspended this past January for cheating.
Horse racing just doesn’t care about the people who still find the sport fascinating.
What if we covered the backside like we do the Dodgers or Lakers? There are stories everywhere and they can’t be covered from Florida. As long as there is money involved, people are going to cheat. And with Baffert and Pletcher involved, that’s two of the very best in sport, so what are the guys who are trying to catch Baffert and Pletcher doing?
I know this, none of them are going to get my money anymore.
By T.J. Simers
Patrick, Patrick, Patrick!
Your newspaper hasn’t told all reporters yet, but it plans to commit suicide.
The editors were informed Thursday that the newspapers’ deadline to submit stories for publication will be 6 p.m. in the future when they have to shift to new presses. They got rid of their own.
When I wrote for the Times, my deadline was 10:45, Plaschke could take that to 11 for a playoff game or USC contest.
The editors were also told to condition readers to the change, thereby removing Major League box scores from the newspaper beginning around this season’s All-Star break.
They attempted to do that once before more than a decade ago but an outcry from readers forced them to reconsider.
On the bright side, Patrick, I don’t think that will happen because there just aren’t that many subscribers.
Back in the days when the newspaper had more heft in size and community impact the circulations on Sundays exceeded 1.5 million and the rest of the week it would often be close to one million.
Tough to get to 200,000 now and watch those numbers dip when the deadline is 6 p.m. and the quality of news slips reporting because there just won’t be any way to get stuff in the newspaper.
That means last night’s Lakers playoff game wouldn’t make the newspaper in any form until two days later.
Why buy it? Exactly.
The Times sports department will also transfer David Warton, Steve Henson and one of the copyeditors out of sports to a new breaking news desk. I presume breaking news no longer has anything to do with the newspaper after 6 p.m.
If the newspaper is successful in getting rid of the box scores, there isn’t anything that will be considered untouchable.
As it is now, the sports columnists have been writing for a newspaper that comes out 24 hours after the day’s next report on the Lakers and Kings.
In the final analysis it’s tough to say whether readers who don’t care about columns running so late have allowed the 6 p.m. deadlines or the newspaper is just hellbent in getting rid of the printed product.
This will be the end of the Times’ sports section, as Los Angeles had come to know it over a lifetime.
By T.J. Simers
Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,
Whew, we averted disaster this week. So far.
I’ve been telling you about Tyler R. Tynes, the sports columnist you hired. You’ve been paying him since October, 180 days or so and he’s written once. He wrote about the Philadelphia fans and the Super Bowl, logical because he is Philadelphia born, but I hope he didn’t rip you off for a free ticket to the Super Bowl, airfare, hotel room and meals because that would make you a fool.
That story appeared in your newspaper a week after the Super Bowl; I can tell you he didn’t take the extra time to make it read like Hemingway. How long does it take to write about a bunch of morons who booed Santa Claus.
I got word last week he had written a second column, be still my beating heart, and it was about a boxer from Victorville who lost his fight more than a week ago. The story was late, of course, appearing online a few days after the bout was over.
It was almost 95 inches; we all love Plaschke but he’s never chased an ambulance with 95 inches of a worthwhile sob story to tell. I read this one, Patrick, and they did you a favor keeping this away from your newspaper readers.
I thought they would try to get the boxer column in last Sunday’s paper, making it a week late as he had done with his Philadelphia story. But here it is Tuesday, 10 days later, and I’m not sure they know how to cram that into the newspaper.
We know this, he’s identified by his byline as “Sports Culture Critic,” and that sounds very important although he has yet to pick a topic that most anyone cares about for the Los Angeles Times. In his culture, it must be OK to blow off deadlines and just check in whenever.
How come he’s not writing about the culture of the Lakers and what another parade might mean to the city of Los Angeles. Maybe he’s waiting to see if Philly gets the parade and he can tell us about how big that might be.
I heard your sports editor hired Mr. AWOL because the executive editor of the newspaper, Kevin Merida, dropped his name on her. And as insecure as she reportedly is, there is no doubt Tyler R. Tynes was going to be hired, if that’s what the big editorial boss wanted.
We just need Merida to mention to the sports editor it might be interesting to see the guy work a little more often.
We’re still waiting to get the results of another con game being pulled on you, Patrick, your soccer writer going to Uganda with a Times’ photographer to tell us about a catcher who throws bricks to get warmed up. I don’t know why your newspaper uses so much space on the Lakers when you got a Ugandan catcher waiting for his day in the L.A. sunshine.
And sending a photographer to Uganda because he saw the catcher throwing bricks on YouTube almost seems like plagiarism. I guess he also does something with huge tires, and I imagine your interest is growing. If you can’t contain it, just check out YouTube.
Now I know you are rich, Patrick, but these people need you as owner of the Los Angeles Times, and some of them are abusing you. I’m just pointing out the obvious; just think what I haven’t mentioned so far.
As always, my best.