By T.J. Simers
Would you want LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke to manage your baseball team?
The Dodgers have won 86 games all by themselves, are in no danger of missing the playoffs and Plaschke wants them to stop winning because he knows better.
“Bench the starters,” he writes.
In journalism terms we call these kinds of columns, hogwash.
You win too much, Plaschke writes, and that will ultimately make you a loser. I don’t think it was a humor column, but I laughed.
Now I’m used to seeing inane Bill Plaschke columns. This is what happens when Plaschke can’t find a punter who is missing a leg to write a tearjerker.
I know he’s an award-winning ambulance chaser, ah, I mean columnist. No one hits the keys on their laptop harder than Plaschke when he gets the chance to wax poetic.
When everyone else heard about the Paradise fire they expressed their dismay and empathy from afar for those impacted. Plaschke turned it into columns, a book and a movie. Kudos for his work ethic and enterprise.
Someone told Bill Dwyre, the former sports editor of the LA Times, recently that Plaschke will probably write Dwyre’s obit someday, and I thought for a minute there I was going to have to call Paschke and tell him to start writing.
There’s no question Plaschke is a talented writer, the best the Times has, but going over the top is also his specialty. And if you know Dwyre, the kid from Sheboygan who married the girl across the street 50-some years ago, there’s no over-the-top for him dead or alive.
And yet Dwyre hired Plaschke as columnist. Dwyre loved Jim Murray, well, adored Jim Murray. And he saw something in Plaschke, and the Times has been better for it. As bad as the Times’ sports section is most days, I’d have Plaschke writing every day.
Plaschke will usually begin his columns by rewriting the same thought three times: “It was deafening. It was discordant. It was perfect,'” he wrote to begin a recent Dodgers’ column. It works for him, making him the Murray of his era.
But I often wondered if Plaschke thought LA Times’ readers were slow, repeating things as often as he does in his writings. I’m sure it’s just a technique, but as good as he is at doing it, he’s never learned how to lay off what he doesn’t know.
Plaschke telling the Dodgers at this point of the season how they should go about winning or losing games is idiotic. He begins his online LA Times’ column by telling the Dodgers to “chill.”
He writes that it “feels weird issuing this plea to a baseball team bullying its way toward historic ground, but, sorry, somebody has to say it.”
Why? Because he needed a Thursday morning column online, which probably means it will run in the Friday newspaper? What a treat for subscribers.
“Hey, dominant Dodgers playing well enough to approach records for both franchise and major league wins? Don’t push it,” he continues, and I can just see Mookie Betts telling Chris Taylor to stop swinging so hard.
Maybe Clayton Kershaw should start throwing with his right arm to save the left for the playoffs.
Plaschke might be an award winner, but this is dribble.
He weighs in on who should be the team’s closer suggesting the Dodgers might want to cross their fingers. I’m pretty sure that’s how the Yankees used to win.
He also mentioned a mass tryout for a closer, unaware apparently a closer’s effectiveness is judged by how consistent he is rather than how he might do in a tryout.
Then he gets to the rotation, clearly running out of things to write because how many times can you tell the Dodgers to just stop winning so many games?
I feel I can say that to an award-winning columnist as much as Plaschke can tell the Dodgers what to do the rest of the season.