By T.J. Simers
Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,
Got an idea for you.
Went to lunch with former LA Times sports editor Bill Dwyre, and once I got his bib on and his walker off to the side, Dwyre spoke. And I listened because he’s still the best sports editor on this side of the country.
He wanted to know why your newspaper doesn’t have an Internet/TV column in the sports section given how much TV rules the sports world. His way of saying, “where is Larry Stewart when you need him?”
That’s when I cleaned the drool off his face, worried that he had really misspoke, or meant to say where is “Jon Stewart when you need him.”
He’s so right, the Times lacks an important ingredient which could be easily remedied, just moving one of the many staffers who doesn’t work all that much and putting them on the Internet/TV beat. Or taking some of your top hands and making them a columnist.
Many of the so-called experts in sports have never been closer to LeBron than the crush of 20 reporters standing around him. In so many more cases you have people employed, like Lake writer Dan Woike, who are totally enamored with the people they are covering, negating serious coverage.
You need more folks capable holding athletes accountable.
While you are working all day to discover the cure for cancer, the talking heads have taken over sports, every one of them convinced they have insight in what drives your favorite team, the Lakers.
The talking heads are sports scholars like Pablo Torres, Monica McNutt, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Courtney Cronin, anyone talking about the NFL Draft, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. They each have an opinion on everything in sports with no accountability.
Stephen A. likes to address athletes as his brother; wouldn’t you like to know if that’s his way of reminding athletes he’s black like them and unlike the others who aren’t? Does that give him an edge, or has he earned his standing in sports.
How good is CBS’s Jim Hill? How do you explain his staying power? Who replaced Roggin and is he or she any good? Explain Jim Nantz’s stature in sports. Who is now the voice of the Dodgers? Did the Angels ever have anyone? I can’t stay up late enough to catch Rob Fukuzaki’s act; is he still there?
How did Tony Reali become a household name, and what does that say about you if that’s true?
“There were big home runs hit over the weekend and we’re going to dive into that next,” said Harold Reynolds Monday, and right now you are asking yourself how you ever got though the weekend not knowing that.
There is so much unchecked on TV every day, and Patrick, that’s where a newspaper was so important. A newspaper had ears and would not allow a lot of the hype delivered on air today.
There are so many .com sites to be monitored, and I’m told your daughter has had a positive impact on the paper, so she would know the value of doing a better job on social media while merging it with the newspaper.
Right now you have one columnist who never writes (Tyler R. Tynes), one who can’t remember what position he took yesterday (Bill Plaschke), one who is better than all the others (Dylan Hernandez) and one who is Helene Elliott and who nobody reads.
Your sports section needs an upgrade—what better than introducing an Internet/TV columnist who works the social platforms?
Bill Shaikin wrote a first-rate story on the Boston Parking Lot Attendant Monday. For one good day the newspaper looks good, alive and professional. Shaikin might not be interested but I would start there and see if he would like to sink his pugnacious attention into social media.
Or how about Lance Pugmire, and what does this say about your sports section? The former Times’ sports writer won on Monday the Fleisher Award, the top journalism award in boxing. And right now he’s a real estate salesman.
I’d offer more, but Dwyre is nodding off.