By T.J. Simers
I have called for an investigation via Twitter, and once the Russian bots, or whatever is insidious about Twitter get ahold of that, look out.
The Los Angeles Times has a problem: Kevin Baxter.
He is the newspaper’s designated soccer writer, which should mean he seldom is allowed to write.
But I’m not sure there is day when he is not featured in the sports pages, today a full page on the Galaxy and yesterday a story on curling from Oakland.
What does Baxter have on the editors?
I know hm, but not well enough or interested enough to say hi.
I sat next to him in the Times’ sports department, but we didn’t talk; he covered soccer. He is not considered one of the sports section’s better writers, and that is troubling because there aren’t many better writers left in the Times’ sports section.
Maybe he’s not considered a good writer because he writes about soccer and no paper would have one of their better writers covering soccer. Or curling.
The same holds true for the Angels, the Times’ believing no one reads about the Angels so why put anyone who can write on the beat, and they haven’t.
Baxter, though, has a grip on the Times’ sports editor. I blame Dwyre for that. He stepped down as one of the nation’s top sports editors to have a love affair with Zenyatta as a columnist. I remember what his wife said at the time: “I don’t care.”
They have gone through a number of sports editors since Dwyre and I don’t know much about the new one except she approved Baxter writing about curling from Oakland. Dwyre approved of hiring J.A. Adande as a columnist, so he didn’t always know what he was doing, but he had far more hits than misses.
Baxter now gets whatever he wants into the newspaper, and I surmised in a tweet that this works to the newspaper’s benefit because the Times wants to get rid of its print section. It’s too costly to produce, a better chance to make money if the newspaper is only on online.
By putting Baxter into the newspaper every day, I’m sure the thinking is the readers won’t be able to stomach it and flee. I did. I cancelled my print subscription recently because the editors were successful on showing to me there wasn’t much there.
I get maybe two Plaschke columns a week for yucks, one Hernandez column a week because he apparently doesn’t like to write and Elliott dribble from the U.S. Open every day.
I lived through Sam Farmer’s yawner on a raven flying over Wimbledon, which only goes to show you the newspaper has a tennis-writing problem.
You put Farmer’s tennis stuff in the newspaper, along with Elliott’s and then mix in Baxter and Los Angeles collectively nods off. I’m beginning to understand why Plaschke has gone so far over the top gushing about USC’s football team.
No one better at being outrageous than Plaschke, which is a much-needed wake up call for the newspaper’s remaining readers. Given all the glory teams of old at USC under Pete Carroll, John Robinson and John McKay, Plaschke has seen enough from wins over Rice and Stanford to know this is a national championship team beyond anything we have seen.
Now I like that. That’s a reason to still buy the Times, Plaschke willing to make a fool of himself and we can follow his journey through the USC season.
He just doesn’t write often enough. I would suggest the editors take away space from Farmer, Elliott and by all means Baxter and throw in Woike, the guy who will be slobbering over the Lakers’ front office, and let’s have Plaschke write a USC daily diary on its march to predicted glory.
We know it will be a positive story until USC plays Utah, the buildup monumental if written by a gushing Plaschke, and should USC stumble, he’ll trash the Trojans.
It’s a win-win, getting Farmer, Elliott, Baxter and Woike out of the newspaper the rest of the football season, or watching Plaschke take out his prediction embarrassment on USC.
Now that’s good newspapering, so I know the Times won’t do it.