Worst front-page sports story in history

By T.J. Simers

Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,

Oh boy.

Don’t know if you have stopped reading your own newspaper, but the LA Times finally sent a writer on the road with the Angels. To New York, and have your accounting department calculate the cost of this trip.

Well, anyway we finally get a story on the Angels, and your sports editor Iliana puts the story on the front page of the sports section under the headline: “He really cooks at Yankee Stadium.”

So, I’m thinking Trout or Ohtani really gave it to the Yankees, but I make the mistake of trying to read the story. It’s about a guy from New York who cooks the food in the visiting clubhouse.

This is what you are giving the readers of the LA Times, what you are paying for, and right there on the front page of sports along with another Helene Elliott snoozer.

Sarah Valenzuela is finally set free from only being able to cover Angels’ home games and she goes to New York to tell us: “Every visiting clubhouse has different food offerings for the players who come through.”

That was the inviting lead on her front page of the sports section story.

Yikes, Patrick. This might be, no it is, the worst story to ever appear on the front page of your sports section and I’m counting a lot of nonsensical Plaschke columns in that pronouncement.

. Man, do have any pride?

Sarah quotes an Angels’ infielder I have never heard of because of course she does because she went all the way to New York to get this story.

Luis Rengifo tells Sarah, “They just have a lot.”

Of course, he has a lot more to say, Sarah there with her tape recorder to get it all. “They have Dominican food, like rice and beans…” and all this is on the front page of the Times’ sports section. You own this newspaper, Patrick. No excuse to tell us you are looking for the cure to cancer when your newspaper is just killing us.

Maybe there is someone out there interested in the free food offered to millionaire baseball players. I suspect one—your sports editor Iliana.

“The chef behind the food,” Sarah writes, is “44-year-old Miguel Ramirez.”

No mention if he’s related to Manny, but only wishful thinking. There is nothing to make this story relevant. Worse than that, it is so poorly written, and if this was the first time someone picked up the Times to read the sports section I’m not liking the chances for repeat business.

Were told Ramirez is from “Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and has been a clubhouse chef at Yankee Stadium since 2011.” OK, so it’s not exactly a breaking story; in fact beyond the helpful small headline below the main headline, Sarah doesn’t get to the final score of the game—the game until the 18th paragraph.

I understand. You don’t get to go on the road with the Angels, you finally do, and you are out of practice.

“I learned to cook by watching all the other chefs with more experience, and just worked hard from there,” the cook tells Sarah, and hint: Maybe that’s what the writer from the Times should do in learning how to cover a team.

But Patrick, this is all on you. It’s your paper, and right now it’s second rate.

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