• Who cares what LeBron says to LA media wimps

    By T.J. Simers

    Saw a clip of LeBron James chastising the Los Angeles media for not asking him about the Jerry Jones’ picture.

    Then I saw Stephen A Screamer on TV supporting James and blasting the LA Media.

    First of all, why doesn’t James pick on someone his own size. The LA Media is small, uninspired and totally overwhelmed while lacking confidence. There is no one who can stand up and represent the LA Media as a giant in the business.

    Plaschke is home listening for ambulances and Hernandez is just home.

    Can you name another writer in the LA market? You want to raise your hand and say, “Helene Elliott,” and have everyone laugh at you?

    If you haven’t heard about the Jerry Jones’ photo, you really aren’t missing much. The Washington Post unearthed a picture of Jones taken when he was a sophomore in high school standing in the back of a group of White kids blocking the entrance to several Black students.

    You probably weren’t born yet when the photo was taken. I was seven. I didn’t care then that he was photographed and I don’t care now. Had I been in the Lakers’ media room Wednesday night I would have responded to LeBron: “I don’t care what you have to say about a photo taken 65 years ago.”

    LeBron’s point, though, was he is always asked about controversial things when they involve a Black person not faring well, singling out Kyrie Irving as a prime example.

    Kyrie Irving was criticized for apparent anti-Semite sentiments. And he’s an NBA player.

    Jerry Jones’ picture was only current while taken 65 years ago because the Post was doing a story on Jones’ legacy. And he’s an NFL owner.

    Listening to the TV guys paid to argue, they said Jones hasn’t hired a Black head coach, didn’t react to Colin Kaepernick’s banishment from football, and he comments on everything else. He should denounce racism, the critics of Jones concluded.

    Dak Prescott is biracial and is Jones’ quarterback, but I don’t know if that counts as having a Black quarterback for the guys on TV paid to argue. Assistant head coach Rob Davis is Black but is obviously not the head coach. The running backs, wide receivers and tight end coaches are all Black, but they are not the team’s head coach. Five of the team’s nine defensive coaches are Black.

    Hasn’t Jones already denounced racism? I know, I’m White, and of course I would write that and I just did.

    Kaepernick wasn’t that good of a quarterback, and everyone who wanted him to be signed and keep playing has no idea what they are talking about. The fact that Jones did not come to his immediate defense is a bogus argument. Jones knelt with his players, although one guy paid to argue on TV said he did so after some delay.

    Jones commented on the Post picture, but it wasn’t to the satisfaction of the TV critics. Jones said he was a high school student moved by curiosity and caught gawking in the wrong place and time. I find that believable, but then I am White, and I would.

    I see no reason why Jones has to denounce racism. If he does so, those asking for such a proclamation won’t believe him. The search for a reason to be outraged or remain outraqed is pretty strong.

    Jones might be guilty of being an “old boy,” but not necessarily an old racist.

    Maybe he was when he was 14 because he was from the south and we all know the stereotype. He talks like a Southerner, who might be living on a plantation. We have one still photo to make the case, and the mention of Kaepernick and not hiring a Black head coach as grounds for outrage today. I know, I couldn’t understand. And I don’t.

    I don’t call White athletes “my brothers,” as Stephen A. Screamer does Black athletes, but it works for him.

    As for the LA Media, it is already a collection of lightweights and picking on them is unfair. And especially after a night game when deadlines limit the number of reporters who have the time to listen to James wax poetic.

    The LA Times ran a story from the Associated Press online about James’ challenging the media, although the Times had a reporter there covering the game. Who knows if the newspaper had someone at the post-game press conference especially knowing how streamlined the LA Times operation has become to save money.

    The Associated Press has the task now of covering up the Times’ omissions, mistakes or attempts to save money.

    Now I don’t know these days about reporters’ accessibility to someone like James at practice or before a game, but from my previous experience, I know big-name players like LeBron spend much of their time hiding from the media until after they have taken a shower following a game. That’s too late for someone working on deadline.

    Had someone challenged LeBron or told him no one really cared what he had to say about Jones’ picture 65 years ago, the reporter might’ve gotten in trouble. Some of that sits with the audience, most sports fans very upset if a reporter challenges, and God forbid, irritates a sports star.

    The athlete has the microphone and the podium, making it very difficult for reporters to muster the courage to challenge a superstar and maybe generate a rebuke by way of response. Had that happened Wednesday night it would have been shown everywhere on TV.

    So, most reporters avoid potential contentious meetings today with athletes or lightweight reporters, preferring to stay home and sound tough on their computers. Like I am doing right now.


  • Volunteering to work for free

    By T.J. Simers

    I think we have pretty well established the fact the LA Times sports section stinks.

    Plaschke writes everything in threes, a trite trick used by kids writing for their high school newspaper. Elliott can’t write and Hernandez seldom writes. The Angels coverage was nonexistent, and folks wonder why Ohtani got so little consideration for MVP.

    In the last few months, the newspaper has dedicated a ton of space and financial resources to feature the mediocre writing of soccer writer Kevin Baxter, who is living it up in Qatar and writing about a team that has almost no chance to advance. And the tournament has just begun.

    It’s frustrating because the LA Times once had a great sports section under the leadership of Bill Dwyre with writers like Murray, Ostler, Reilly, Heisler, Dufresne, Harvey, Florence, Hoffer, Glick, Newhan and Penner.

    Even if you included the hacks now, you couldn’t find a lineup worthy of the $1 it costs to buy a six-month subscription to the digital product.

    Take the Lakers’ coverage..

    Can someone explain to me what Lakers’ beat reporter Dan Woike was trying to say in the first paragraph of Monday’s story: “Eventually, it’ll be harder for the Lakers to follow this path, the one that everyone seems to agree is the one with the best chance of leading the team to a successful season.”

    Huh? What? Best path that everyone agrees on? Is he talking about getting rid of Westbrook again?

    This is atrocious writing and I think we can all agree on that.

    It gets worse: “But for now, with LeBron James on the bench recovering from a strained adductor muscle, there’s no doubt about what the team needs from Anthony Davis.”

    Huh? What? First of all, what is a strained adductor? And is this the same Anthony Davis that had Plaschke writing: “Winless, helpless Lakers should consider trading Anthony Davis?” Who are we supposed to believe, Plaschke or Woike?

    It gets even worse: “Him being great,” writes Woike, and hard to tell is he’s writing about James or Davis, “playing at a most-valuable-player caliber once again, is the clearest pathway to Western Conference relevance.”

    So, I guess Woike has given up on Western Conference dominance and now is shooting for relevance. How the Lakers have fallen, their only hope the guy that Plaschke wants traded.

    And that could be James or Davis, because Plaschke has called for each of them to be traded.

    Meanwhile, Woike goes on to quote Davis, who explained the victory over San Antonio. Instead of Davis saying, “We beat one of the worst teams in the NBA,” Woike dutifully writes down Davis saying, “We just locked in.”

    Gives me chills.

    I remember a Rams’ cornerback, back in the day when they were real losers like they are again today, saying after Steve Young set a NFL record for passing yards against the Rams’ secondary, “We did some good things out there.”

    I threw my notebook to the ground and started yelling in the Rams’ locker room. “Oh, my Lord, what a joke. I’m not going to write this crapola down.”

    Pretty easy to understand why I don’t write for the LA Times any longer, although I sent an email to owner Patrick Soon-Shiong a month or so ago agreeing to write again for the Times so long as any paycheck I might earn was given to Dr. Noah Federman at Mattel Children’s Hospital for his study on mitigating damage to kids undergoing treatment for bone cancer.

    I told Patrick I would work for nothing but wanted $200,000 a year donated to cancer treatment at Mattel’s.

    I never got a response from Patrick, figuring most of his money was going to Qatar to pay for Baxter’s soccer expenses or they already had too many good writers.

  • Like the Lakers — the Times stinks

    By T.J. Simers

    Haven’t written in a while. Too depressed reading the LA Times sports section.

    Thursday morning, they had their Lakers’ beat reporter writing that the Lakers had watched film of themselves provoking the players to talk amongst themselves. Who knew the Lakers talk to each other?

    I wonder if any of them spoke up about the Lakers’ mismanagement under Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka.

    The hard-hitting news story, written by the Times’ shameless Lakers beat reporter, concluded the Lakers will be a lot better now because they criticized each other.

    As the Times’ headline read: “Tell-the-truth film session may just have been spark Lakers needed.” Then again it may not. That will be another silly story for another day.

    I just want to know who thought it would be a good idea to have the Lakers watch themselves? Nothing like driving home the point what losers they are.

    The Times reported, “the biggest gains the Lakers can hope to make are in terms of chemistry.”

    They pay this guy who writes gibberish for the Times about the Lakers. How about winning, which seems like the biggest gain the Lakers could make. Maybe move up in the standings.

    Maybe he models himself after Plaschke. Plaschke seldom interviews anyone, a cheap way to write a column and never leave his house. This week he predicted UCLA will beat USC.

    Now imagine that; he’s been writing USC is the best team in the land and now he’s got them losing to the other team in L.A. How do you predict a team is so great and then advise everyone they really aren’t?

    Plaschke has made a career of being wishy-washy and making ridiculous sports predictions and has taken delight in doing so. If USC loses, he will be correct. If USC wins, Plaschke will make the case they are national championship bound as he predicted.

    There is no great insight into his prediction; he’s just guessing. You have seen him on Around the Horn and so you know he doesn’t have a sense of humor, so he’s not being funny.

    I know a little something about predictions. I predicted UCLA and Karl Dorrell would beat USC in 2006, calling it a trap game and telling Uncle Pete Carroll in a radio interview two days before the game he was going to lose.

    UCLA won 13-9, and an outraged Plaschke wrote it was the fault of the Trojans’ quarterback John David Booty, and one thing almost no writer does with any experience is single out a college kid to be shamed.

    But Plaschke wrote: “This should have been Booty’s moment. He was equipped with quick drops and great wide receivers and an emerging running back. Yet the rush rattled him, the pressure rocked him and, in the end, the game was bigger than he was.”

    Ouch. I wonder how long Booty carried that with him.

    It’s not a surprise the Times is in free fall. In the last few weeks a UCLA running back wasn’t playing and without explanation. We have never been given a reason by the people who are paid to report on things like this.

    The UCLA defensive coordinator missed last week’s game, the Bruins lost and unless I missed it, there has been no explanation what happened to the defensive boss who is still not available.

    It’s just shoddy coverage and depressing how much readers are being deprived in the morning newspaper.

    I’m sure there are many more examples of where the Times has come up short, but that means I would have to read it more often. No thanks.

  • USC Majors in Lost Perspective

    By T.J. Simers

    I’m constantly reminded how dumb USC fans are.

    So now we know LenDale White received a duffel bag with $150,000 when he moved into an apartment while he was playing football for USC. He had a fancy car and who knows who was paying for the apartment.

    I presume this was after Pete Carroll convinced the team White had jumped off a nearby building. I would think that stunt would be worth $150,000, paying White to be the stooge and motivate the troops.

    Maybe it was Carroll who gave him the money, which would explain why he had them hand the ball off to White against Texas on fourth and two while keeping Reggie Bush off the field. Or was it offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin?

    Bush’s parents supposedly got a house for him going to USC but that wouldn’t mean anything to the kid if there was $150,000 to be gained in cold cash and he was probably pouting.

    At least that would make sense. Apparently, there was a lot of money to be made at USC on the hush-hush and for all we know the offensive linemen were getting none of it and they wouldn’t block for White on fourth and two.

    Right now, it’s just an interesting tidbit kind of confirming what we already knew—USC was cheating. Holy Astros.

    It also tells me USC has always had dumb supporters.

    We’re led to believe that everyone now is making out at USC under something called NIL. It’s all NCAA legal-like; pay a quarterback whatever it takes to have him go to USC instead of Notre Dame and everybody’s fine with that. That would explain why USC has a quarterback and Notre Dame does not, Notre Dame alumni spending their money on the good of mankind rather than a Heisman candidate.

    But what I want to know is why would anyone hand over cash to a college football player?

    What does someone get out of it? Better players, simple as that?

    Are 10 wins better than 8 and worth $150,000 or whatever it takes these days? Is football success that important in life? I know some people have tons of money, but how can you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself donating oodles of money to a fullback rather than a kid battling cancer?

    I’ve seen the parents of sick kids just arriving at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and they are already wiped out, maybe years of heartbreak ahead, life as most should know it impossible to live as they have to quit jobs so that they can make arrangements to be at their child’s side.

    I witnessed a mother check in with her son, cancer found in his leg which would later be amputated, and she never left that hospital in the year it took to treat him.

    And you are going to tell me money spent on Caleb Williams is well-spent because he deserves to be paid for bringing acclaim to a university and helping USC make more money. The players should get their fair share is how the argument goes, beyond a free ride at USC, of course.

    It is sickening. Maybe the answer is it has always been done, LenDale White and Reggie Bush getting rewarded but under the table while now everyone makes out. What was Matt Leinart getting? Carson Palmer?

    I just don’t get why football victories are worth that much? Look what it all did to Carroll and his players beyond Bush getting a Wendy’s commercial out if it where he plays the fool for yucks.

    Call it the LenDale White Legacy, Williams coming to USC knowing it would ultimately pay dividends.

    By now everyone should know USC has the kind of alumni who have lost all perspective, which makes the LenDale White story just what you would expect to surface when talking about the glory days.

    Some unknown joker just dropping $150,000 into LenDale White’s lap and tell me anyone is surprised.

    It’s such a sleazy place, but they do have a pretty good football team, if pretty good football teams are enough for you.

  • Arrogant Friedman, Puppet Roberts Bad Combo

    By T.J. Simers

    Never met Andrew Friedman and never heard of Brandon Gomes before reading the Times.

    Why would you need a GM (Gomes) if you have a know it all (Friedman).

    I went through a lot of cocky Dodger GMs in the Sheriff aka Dodger Boy Kevin Malone era, Dan Evans and Paul DePodesta, but the Friedman arrogance displayed in print Wednesday reached toxic levels.

    I understand now why Dave Roberts is returning to manage and why Gomes has a job; they’ve been propped up as potential fall guys for Friedman if the local media or fan base gets wise to him.

    Times columnist Dylan Hernandez wrote another fantastic column off of Friedman’s press conference. I wasn’t there, but Hernandez’s column read like Friedman was sitting on a throne.

    Who the heck is Friedman to be so haughty, the great collection of talent and money spent in recent years, and they have won one Covid title to show for it all. Why change, says Friedman, he did everything right.

    How about this Hernandez paragraph from his column: “Friedman didn’t highlight anything the front office could have done better. If anything, he went out of his way to defend the group.”

    How can anyone hold the Dodgers accountable for their postseason belly flop if it doesn’t start at the top?

    For example: I’d just like to know more about pulling starting pitcher Tyler Anderson from the fourth game because of the fear expressed by Roberts of what MIGHT happen next if allowed to pitch into the sixth inning.

    Understanding the moment has to be bigger than the analytical numbers.

    A condescending Friedman said he has said it before, so why bother him again? He told the obliging media Roberts has full autonomy over in-game decisions. And yet I think I read somewhere the team had decided before the game to pull Anderson before facing the Padres’ big hitters a third time.

    A manager with complete autonomy in making in-game decisions would have scrapped the pre-game plan and trotted Anderson out for the sixth inning and given him a chance. Either Roberts doesn’t have the in-game instincts to stick with what is working or he’s allowing himself to be bullied by Friedman. I have no idea what Gomes is doing.

    Either way, Roberts should be gone. If he’s playing the stooge for Friedman, his players know it and the Dodgers would be better off with a fresh voice. If he lacks the managerial instincts to win a big game, he’s the wrong guy for the Dodgers.

    “After every single postseason I’ve answered that question,” said Friedman when asked if Roberts’ postseason blunders have contributed to the Dodgers demise. So, I don’t feel like it’s a narrative … if it ever changes, I’ll let you people know.”

    Translated: I know everything, and you people know nothing until I clue you in. That arrogance speaks to his insecurity and why he has Roberts around to take the fall if necessary.

    Plaschke should be challenging Dodger management instead of going into hiding. He’s written plenty of stupid things in his career and bounced back to do more. I know USC and the Dodgers went down on the same day and Plaschke might be shell-shocked, but in his role as No. 1 columnist he should be asking Friedman for less arrogance and more insight to what has bedeviled the Dodgers in postseason play.

    So far all we have gotten from him is a column following the fourth game proclaiming the Dodgers went from best ro worst, and woe is me.

    A soft media corps and fans who just take it allows the Dodgers to get away with incompetence.

    Friedman dismissing a reporter’s question about a missed sign: “I’m not gonna spend any time (talking about) that either,” is an insult to every Dodger fan who sat there glued to their TV screen following every pitch.

    Spend any time? It was a postseason news conference and Friedman has all the time in the world to take questions and offer some insight into what went wrong.

    Hey, give Gomes something to do like getting to the bottom of the missed sign.

  • Never owned a Choking Dog

    By T.J. Simers

    Dwyre and I were talking about dogs.

    I know what you are thinking: Choking Dogs. But we really weren’t talking about the Dodgers.

    We weren’t even discussing Plaschke’s latest meltdown or his juvenile writing style: “The Dodgers blinked first. The Dodgers blinked furiously. The Dodgers blinked recklessly.”

    You write like that for a journalism class, and they are telling you to switch majors and try anything where it doesn’t involve writing.

    Oh, and Plaschke’s next sentence in his Thursday morning account of the Dodgers’ game: “The Dodgers blinked so rapidly, their season has been rendered red and swollen and beyond painful.”

    Eesh gads that writing stinks — one loss and the sky is falling. Please, don’t let this guy write about the Lakers.

    We were talking dogs, but nothing about the Times’ sports section going to the dogs, or my favorite Dodger Dog, Clayton Kershaw, standing tall again as poster boy for the post-season blues.

    No, we were talking about Oinker and Bummer, the first two dogs my wife and I owned before acquiring Shammer.

    There was some concern when we started making babies what they might be named but that’s a blog for another day.

    We added No Bargain to our menagerie, a huge Dalmatian who liked to take a running start before leaping onto your lap. You know, a lot like my wife.

    We were just married, so the furniture was already the best you could find in an Idaho garage sale. So, no harm.

    We lived in Hayden Lake, Idaho, across the street from a logging camp and down the gravel road to where the Aryan Nations headquarters was located, or so we were told after we moved. Never knew the racist skinheads were all around us in our brief stint working for the Coeur d’Alene Press, and that’s the kind of reporter I was — unable to even trip across a story.

    We had a horse living in the field behind us, and I built a three-level doghouse right beyond our potato patch. Living in Yorba Linda isn’t so bad.

    Dwyre, meanwhile, was born in Wisconsin with a chance to date Laverne or Shirley while waiting for the girl across the street to grow up and become his wife for the next 50-some years.

    By the way, I got to know Laverne really well and Squiggy, too, so I never thought it was such a big deal when Dwyre liked to say he might have run off with Laverne. I’m not sure Laverne even knew who he was, not surprised at all that Dwyre named his dog, “Addie,” or “Addy” instead of Laverne.

    It’s just the kind of dog you would expect a Notre Dame grad to own, a little fur ball who just lays there. Or lies there, whichever is proper grammar.

    I’ve been to Madison Square Garden for the dog show two or three times. But I’ve never seen anything to remind me of our dogs. Gravel had one eye, probably a strike against him at Westminster.

    I was on Friday night preps deadline for the Morristown Daily Record in New Jersey, my wife calling to say the cat next store had just taken the eye out of our new dog and what should she do.

    Pick up the eye, I told her, and our baby daughter in the other arm, go to doggy emergency and if it costs less than $100, fix the eye. If not, tell the baby doggy is going to doggy heaven.

    Cost $99 I was told, the $3,000 years later for the removal of the eye and treatment. And let that be a lesson for you if going to a pet store for gravel for the fish tank and coming out with the cute puppy in the window. It’s a lot like getting married, falling for the cute girl but never considering the expenses ahead.

    We had Maui because we went there, a contest to see if Maui would last longer than the time it took to pay off the bill to go there. We had Irish, a contest then to see if we could pay for the Notre Dame daughter’s college experience before losing Irish, and sorry to say Irish lost.

    We had Blah, who reminds me of the writing in the Times these days, Scruffy because we don’t believe in grooming, Holly the cat who was better known as Cat because every time we called Holly’s name, Maui came running. We had Ralphie, after the kid who nearly shot his eye out in A Christmas Story and as much time as we put into naming our dogs, I still can’t tell you why we didn’t think of naming Gravel — Ralphie.

    A robber came into our Memphis house, by the way, and Gravel sat there and just let him steal our TV. I think he just figured crime was everyday life in Memphis.

    We also have Rona as in an annoying little barking creep. Or CorRONA. She’s already had Puppy Strangles, Parva and her jaw fractured by Nixon. Nixon tried to cover it up, of course.

    We have Nixon because the daughter has Kennedy.

    Obviously, I know something about dogs, the Choking Dogs such an interesting breed. They are lovable creatures, so much to like about them only to let you down. It’s like going out and coming home to find them trashing the house and leaving a mess.

    The nice thing, this is Plaschke’s mess to clean up, and as much as he has shoveled, the Times have the very best on it.

  • Life tossed aside by Eric Kay

    By T.J. Simers

    I’m not sure what to write here, and even if I figure it out, I could very well be wrong.

    Eric Kay, the Angels’ PR guy, is going to prison for the next 22 years.

    I knew Eric Kay, worked with him, and no, I was never really close with the guy. But he’s a father of three boys, a husband and stupid, making the kind of mistake where there is no satisfactory retreat.

    He gave drugs to Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs and Skaggs died. Throw away the key.

    For some, it’s that simple.

    I’ve heard what Kay said on tape about Skaggs, and it’s as tough as it can be said about someone who is dead. It might also be expected coming from someone who is tortured by what he’s about to lose and how he allowed himself to go that far off the path.

    He was sitting in a prison cell and didn’t become politically correct or self-aware overnight no matter what the judge expected. Just goes to show you what an unsophisticated criminal Kay really is, now going to pay for that with two years of additional prison time.

    Kay didn’t force Skaggs to take any drugs, but he made them available, and Skaggs died. Everyone here or who was here, are guilty. Skaggs paid for it with his life, and while Kay remains alive, he’s dead to his family, friends and so are any dreams he might have had for the rest of his life.

    It’s a horrible story about throwing away life, Skaggs a Major League pitcher and something so wrong with him he put his life in jeopardy. Kay had a dream job in Anaheim, a chance to be a real role model for his three sons and it wasn’t enough.

    For so many there is no sympathy, no mitigation or a second side to the story. And as angry as Kay sounded apparently on prison tapes, that’s all she wrote.

    But imagine sitting in prison Tuesday night and looking ahead to the next 22 years.

    And I know what some are saying, what about Skaggs?

    I don’t have the answers, whether the drugs were laced with fentanyl, whether Kay could have done something to save Skaggs, whether 20 years was too much prison punishment and then added time for venting in prison about how upset he was with Skaggs, or just how much to blame him for being so bitter.

    There’s nothing simple about a life thrown away, no idea what must be going on in Key’s head, or why it should never have crossed his mind when he started trafficking drugs.

    But I did know Darryl Henley, a Rams’ starting cornerback on the verge of making more than $1 million year, who went away to prison for 41 years without any chance of parole.

    I didn’t get along with Henley, as writer and football player, but I came to know him as accused drug trafficker and later as the guy ordering a hit on a judge and Rams cheerleader.

    Henley got in trouble initially because he allowed family and friends to take advantage of his stardom and money. He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong, and given his awesome ability to communicate, it was clear in his head he could talk his way out of anything.

    But he was wrong, and he began to dig a deeper hole, angry like Kay because he didn’t think he was as guilty as everyone made him out to be. He couldn’t take responsibility for his misjudgment.

    I was with Henley in his home the night before the jury pronounced him guilty and he never saw it coming. The Feds set him up in prison and he took the bait and ordered the hit on the judge and cheerleader. Once again, no sympathy for such a lack of judgment.

    It’s jarring, though, to watch someone toss away their life. He’s been in prison something like 27 years and can’t get out before 2036 when he will be 61.

    I wish I could I write something insightful or meaningful about Kay or how life unexpectedly changed for the Skaggs family. And why did it happen? I am at such a loss how to explain it or how I really feel.

    For a writer, that is so defeating. So frustrating.

  • Dodgers don’t listen to Plaschke; thank God

    By T.J. Simers

    The audacity of the Dodgers, wining 111 games when LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke told them to stop winning.

    It’s as if the Dodgers never read Plaschke or took anything he had to offer seriously.

    They obviously paid no attention to his baseball expertise, a wonder they got to where they are in the standings without listening to Plaschke.

    Back on Aug. 25, Plaschke wrote: “It feels weird issuing this plea to a baseball team bullying its way toward historic ground, but, sorry, somebody has to say it.

    “Hey, steamrolling Dodgers?


    What a stupid notion, a grown-up columnist for a major league city telling the baseball team in town to just chill rather than put on a show.

    You can just imagine the chatter in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, players turning to each other to say, “Plaschke wants us to slow down.”


    “Plaschke. You know the guy writing for the LA Times.”

    “Never read the paper.”

    How do we expect the Dodgers to excel if ignoring the No. 1 know-it-all in town?

    On Oct. 2, Plaschke had more to write about the Dodgers: “This reporter asked Roberts…” I guess that’s the clever way of writing, “I asked Roberts…”

    I asked Roberts, Plaschke wrote, “if he wished he ever longed for more unbridled regular-season joy around Chavez Ravine like in Seattle last week when the Mariners made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.”

    Plaschke apparently has something about the Dodgers winning all the time. He’d be good with every 21 years.

    “Yeah, I do,” Roberts said to this reporter, and I wouldn’t think much of Roberts if he was repeating this nonsense to others.

    “Unfortunately,” Roberts continued while talking to this reporter, “The world has gone very cynical, which is sad. … Are certain fans, not all, jaded? Absolutely. And [they] don’t realize what it takes, what this team, in particular, has had to overcome, to get to this point.”

    Well, we know they had to overcome the No. 1 voice in the newspaper telling them to stop their momentum and just stop winning. You can imagine how upset the Dodgers must be, letting down Plaschke like that, winning 111 games..

    Roberts went on to tell this reporter, “He wished there was more pure happiness in the moment.

    “The sense of gratitude and joy is many times lost in our society, and certainly in sports, it’s at the forefront,” he said, adding, “I wish they certainly would enjoy the ride and know and appreciate what we do, regardless of ultimately if we’re the last team standing.”

    So, in August Plaschke tells everyone the Dodgers are winning too much, just sucking the joy out of such success, and then in October he quotes the manager as saying people (like this reporter) should enjoy the moment.

    Plaschke continues to make a big deal out of Roberts’ so-called guarantee the Dodgers will win the World Series on some radio show, like it’s a really big deal the manager of the team would say his team will win it all. I would hope he would say that, rather than some wishy-washy “we’ll see.”

    For a columnist to act as if that is something outlandish for a manager to say speaks more to how hard the columnist is looking to make much ado about nothing. But then much ado about nothing has always been a staple of a Plaschke column

    Plaschke’s got more to say, of course in his Oct. 2 blah-blah-blah: “If the Dodgers win the World Series, they could be arguably anointed as the best team in baseball history.

    “If they don’t win the World Series, they could be forever known as one of the biggest disappointments in baseball history.”

    Well, how’s that for a preview of what Plaschke is going to write after the World Series.

    Good thing none of the Dodgers will pay any attention to it.

  • Help wanted: LA Times in need of female columnist …who can write

    By T.J. Simers

    One person’s garbage is another’s treasure, someone said in trying to explain why Helene Elliott is allowed to write a sports column in the LA Times.

    OK, I get that. We used to say that the really crummy columnists would appear in the back of the newspaper with the tire ads. But now newspapers don’t attract that many ads, but still have crummy columnists. And the Times’ sports section is so small the back is almost the front.

    When I wrote I was put on Page 2, no one ever dreaming it could be worthy of Page 1.

    Now it’s bad enough Elliott is crummy, but she’s a hoarder as well. She was writing Wednesday in the Times about the only woman ever to play for an NHL team, keeping it in her column writing memory bank for almost 30 years.

    It was a forgettable story 30 years ago, Canadian Manon Rheaume playing the second period in goal for the Tampa Lightning in an exhibition game. By LA relevancy and NHL standards, she never existed, just like all the NFL guys who play in exhibition games and are cut before making the team.

    But we get Elliott writing about her 30 years later as if it matters, and on the front page of the LA Times sports section.

    Now I know the LA Times has a female sports editor and there has been a push to display more women’s sports in the newspaper, and I know Helene Elliott is a columnist usually writing about things readers don’t care about, but when these two get together, yuck.

    What’s the importance of this story, well, Elliott tells us in a paragraph: ”It’s not that teams and leagues are becoming ‘woke.’ They’ve belatedly realized admitting women into their stale, restricted old boys’ club adds knowledge, perspective and experiences that can invigorate the sport.”

    Hogwash. Stale restricted old boys club? I know Elliott’s columns read like that, but 30 later after Manon Rheaume’s brief appearance in exhibition play, nothing has changed. Women still don’t play in the NHL.

    And there’s no clamor for more women in hockey. Nothing wrong with it, but how ridiculous to make more out of it than a team just hiring a qualified candidate to fill a vacancy.

    Elliott is supposed to be knowledgeable. She’s in the hockey hall of fame, I presume because of her writing but then that goes to show you the quality of writers covering the NHL.

    She’s a boring columnist, who was trying to prove a point in Wednesday’s newspaper. I have no idea what that point was beyond referring to the NHL as a stale restricted old boys club, but if she’s trying to make the case the NHL needs more women, double hogwash.

    If it was just a training camp feature, it was lame and the sports editor should have buried it inside.

    We can agree, disagree or not care, I for one falling in the latter category. Go ahead and load up the front office with women. The Times ran a big picture of Rheaume taken in February on the front of sports Wednesday because she’s nice to look at. Maybe hockey needs cheerleaders.

    Maybe hockey is just trying to impress its fan base, or the media that keeps tabs of such things.

    I suspect most people only care what’s going on the ice, and like the NFL, there are no females playing the game.

    We all like circus stories, a newspaper a great place to tell them, but Elliott’s hockey player performed almost 30 years ago and by most accounts it wasn’t that memorable.

    She’s now in the player development department, and I’m sure she has a lot of riveting player development department stories to tell. Didn’t get any in this Elliott column, but maybe Part 2 is coming tomorrow.

    I hear it all the time how reporters have agendas, and I always say the same thing: Most writers are just trying to meet a deadline and are making no attempt to push an agenda.

    But this was an agenda column, the female sports editor showcasing it, written by the female sports columnist pandering to female readers by presenting a female hockey player who never played in an NHL game. I’m sure, “Let’s get more women stories in the sports section,” is a newspaper mantra. And one not usually to be argued.

    However, this just wasn’t a good, interesting column, ending like it started in going nowhere: “Because she said no to those who doubted her so many years ago, other women have had the opportunity to say yes to significant roles in a game that can’t be for everyone if it doesn’t let everyone have a say in its present and its future.”

    WHAT? That’s 47 words of gibberish.

    Sometimes one person’s garbage is just garbage.

  • Knocking the sense out of the NFL

    By T.J. Simers

    If you are tough, you are admired, and especially in the NFL.

    But you can be tough, and stupid as well.

    The TV announcers piled it on when Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert injured his rib cartilage and hung in there tough two weeks ago. They gushed.

    Then he came back to play for the Chargers in the next game knowing he could tough it out. He wouldn’t say if he took a pain-killing injection because tough guys don’t admit such things. The Chargers were so inspired, they got pummeled.

    And it looked to me like Chargers’ head coach Brandon Staley was a wimp, unable to tell his quarterback to take a seat. More than that, he continued to play Herbert after the Chargers went down by 28 points and the game could no longer be won.

    It’s obvious Herbert is calling the Chargers’ shots, and in a macho game, the macho quarterback is going to stay out there and prove his toughness no matter how stupid he might be.

    Head coaches are supposed to make such tough decisions.

    Now I wonder about Miami coach Mike McDaniel and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Two weeks ago, Tua took a hit, came to his feet and stumbled badly, too dizzy to leave the field on his own.

    There was a time when we applauded that, knocking the stuffings out of player, and look at that!

    In the days before CTE and head trauma, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Tua return to the field after halftime. But we know now via deaths to really cool people like Junior Seau that blows to the head are devastating.

    How many times had we cheered for Seau after watching him trying to behead a ball-carrier by leading with his own helmet? The more explosive, the more we cheered.

    But now we know better, or supposedly we do. We demand that our athletes who take a big lick be cleared by a doctor before returning to the field. We penalize the guys who deliver the big helmet hits, instant replay determining if it was “targeting,” in college football such a conviction resulting in ejection.

    There is no way I expected to see the return of Tua two weeks ago after halftime, taking for granted we are more informed about the head these days.

    But I know how much chicanery goes on behind the NFL scenes. I covered the NFL on a daily basis for more than a decade. It used to be steroids driving the game on the hush-hush, and probably still is.

    But knowing Seau shot himself in the chest so he could preserve his head for medical study, I have become so much more sensitive to head injuries and the pressure not to play.

    Team doctors have always worked as if taking orders from coaches and owners, and of course they are. Someone doesn’t remain a team doctor for any length of time if they aren’t getting the players back on the field at warp speed.

    I think Tua set a modern-day record in this age of CTE, and just as importantly, his team won.

    I remember doing stories on great players like Al Toon, who got knocked silly so often he had to spend his later years working with horses because people were too much for him. I also learned at the time that a player getting a concussion was going to be more susceptible to getting another.

    So, was Miami surprised to find Tua lying on the ground, his fingers twitching as we were told, because he injured his head again? If you have a son, is there any doubt whether he will play football?

    The NFL is immensely popular, but head injuries have the potential to sabotage the sport. The NFL took to selling clothes and appealing to mothers several years ago to keep mom’s input as positive as possible when it came to the family decision for a kid playing the sport or not.

    But as Tua and the Dolphins showed moms everywhere, winning at all costs is what is really important in the NFL. And as almost anyone in the NFL would tell you, tough times never last, but tough people do.