Remembering When There Were Newspapers

By T.J. Simers

Former big-shot sports writer Jeff Pearlman, who wrote, “Winning Time,” which later gave us a look at the Lakers’ budding dynasty on HBO, asked that I participate on his podcast to discuss sports memories.

I can’t remember what fast food my wife bought us for dinner last night.

But I still get together with Dwyre, the good news that I still remember the name of the former sports editor for the Los Angeles Times and we’re able to prod each other for our memories over lunch. Great practice for Pearlman.

Memories are so important. We remember when the Times had a world class sports section, and now we know as of July 10 it is about to disappear. The Times will no longer run baseball box scores, no game stories discussing who won and lost, no TV listings, no daily sports calendar while compelling reporters to submit their copy by 3 p.m. every day.

The Times intends to print the newspaper around 7. Dodger games start at 7, Lakers at 7:30, so get your news elsewhere.

The battle plan is to make the newspaper more favorable to the likes of former magazine writer Tyler R. Tynes, running one of his super long boring stories on the lead sports page with a large photo.

On the days or months where Tynes doesn’t write, the plan is to run as many fluffy features as possible until customers tire of getting nothing in their morning newspaper.

Dwyre and I have discussed all the questions this fiasco raises and we have all the answers but no one from the Times seems interested, so it looks like the end of the printed newspaper is near. We’ll continue to go to lunch, of course.

Let the record show, Times sports was killed off by editor Kevin Merida and sports editor Iliana Romero.

As for sports memories and Pearlman, by coincidence I just met with my former high school varsity baseball coach, Lyle Morrow, in from Wheaton, IL who is 90 now.

I’m sure Pearlman is dying to hear about my high school career. Unfortunately, as good a guy as my high school coach is, his memory is shot. He was struggling to remember details like what was the last thing he was teaching before retirement. He didn’t remember until his wife joined us, and wives are very valuable, because she said, “calculus.”

As a memory exercise I asked if he remembered pulling me from the mound in a high school playoff game against Wheaton Norh, calling on Daryl Hedges who promptly gave up a hit losing the game for us. I’ve never forgotten.

But he didn’t, although he brought along newspaper clippings from 1968, and you won’t be able to do that in the days to come with no newspapers. He couldn’t remember Hedges blowing it, and I began to wonder if I would be able to remember anything to tell Pearlman. I’m old, too, and many of my favorite people like Wooden, Lasorda, Scully and Hearn are gone, no one anymore ever asking about Chick Hearn.

Instead of Hearn or Scully, Pearlman asked me about Dodger Milton Bradley, and that figures. If you’ve watched his Jerry West on HBO, he has West acting as if he’s related to Milton.

I told Pearlman I remembered meeting Bradley and telling him I heard he was a real dick. Bradley never forgot, throwing a beer bottle at Dodger fans and storming of the field while saying he was only willing to talk to me.

Bradley said he appreciated the fact I had been honest in calling him a dick, and here I am supposed to have breakfast today with the grandchildren. Now I have a story to tell them about the value of being honest, although I might change a few of the details.

It might also be a good time, too, to start explaining to the kiddies what a newspaper was, the value of newspaper clips in remembering and what they will be missing now that they are all about to disappear.

That will be a conversation I won’t forget.


Had breakfast with my former varsity high school baseball coach. He’s 90, struggling a little to remember details so I was happy to refresh his memory about the high school playoff game with Wheaton North when he replaced me on the mound with Daryl Hedges, who promptly surrendered a game-losing hit.

Amazing what sticks with you when you get older.

I could have told him the time of day, the weather and what Hedges threw to the batter. It had to be a curveball because that’s all he ever threw.

Leave a Reply