By T.J. Simers
No one chases awards harder than LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke, so it’s very inspiring when he’s selected the country’s top columnist as he was earlier this year.
I don’t think folks understand how hard it is to find a dead kid, a catastrophic fire or Olympic amputee every year, but Plaschke does and they somehow pull themselves together to say just the right things to him.
In other columns, he speaks on behalf of the people of Los Angeles, ordering the Lakers to trade LeBron James, telling Angels’ owner Arte Moreno he must, and that’s must trade Ohtani to the Dodgers and insists the Dodgers’ front office trade for a starting pitcher.
No one is safer at the LA Times than Plaschke the award winner. When it comes to layoffs, and there will be more of them, Plaschke need not fret. There is always someone getting hurt out there who wants to tell their woe-is-me story.
Plaschke is No. 1, which tells me the Sports Editor probably will be looking for a job soon, after making him the Page 7 sports columnist. She ripped his heart out, sapped his motivation and it’s obvious watching Around the Horn he’s lost his spark.
She moved him to page 3 in a five-page sports section on Tuesday, but he belongs on Page 1 of the sports section if he’s the best they got.
With greatness, though, comes responsibility. Why isn’t he telling the Times it must abandon the changes made in the sports pages of the newspaper.
If he can tell LeBron to not let the door hit him in the rump, or Angry Arte to ship Ohtani up Highway 5 or try to bully the Dodgers into making a trade, how tough can it be to tell his own newspaper it must change its ways?
He speaks for the people of L.A., doesn’t he?
If I were writing a column on Page 2, like I did, I’d be calling out Times’ management. Of course, I was also in court for the past decade trying to defend my way of doing journalism.
I never had Plaschke’s kind of power or ability to write. So, why isn’t he marching into Editor Kevin Merida’s office to say he’s not going to write anymore if he’s buried inside the newspaper?
Why doesn’t he talk common sense with Merida? Tell him he’s out in the field and hearing nothing but complaints. Make Merida feel what the people working in sports feel about the newspaper they once loved.
Winning all those awards as he has, gives Plaschke a booming voice to lead the sports section into the editor’s office and explain how it is all going to crap.
I know he likes to go insecure at times and tell people he could be next in layoffs, but it sounds just as self-serving ridiculous as when ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said it.
At this stage of his career, Plaschke should be all about the influence he’s accumulated or what good is it? He should never again appear on Page 7 or Page 3. Sports editor Iliana Romero owes him and everyone else still trying to read the newspaper an apology.
Four out of the five pages in the sports section Tuesday included soccer stories. Three of the five were exclusively soccer. Plaschke’s ridiculous bullying attempt with Moreno was at least entertaining.
This new look with super mega-long stories from writers who can’t write and blown-up photos is not working. It’s time to admit the gaffe before the late-night Dodger games really mean something to readers and USC and UCLA play night games.
Right now Plaschke is playing second fiddle to homeless soccer and blind soccer. To give him the fighting chance once again to be columnist of the year it’s time to make the LA Times a newspaper once again.