Westwood Ho!

By T.J. Simers

I love my dog dearly until she starts slobbering and it’s so disgusting.

That brings me to Plaschke. I love him dearly.

But then the LA Times sports columnist starts slobbering, as he did Sunday morning all over the USC Trojans—again.

He predicted they will go 12-0, suddenly throwing on the prognostication brakes when it came to declaring them National Champions “because no one would dare predict the playoffs.” Who says he doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Before he writes his playoff column predicting a Trojans’ National Championship later this year, the slobber just dripping off the newspaper pages, I have a suggestion. The LA Times wants to get rid of the newspaper, so how about promoting the online product—-Read Plaschke on our web site. No Spittle.

There was a time when our beloved LA Times windsock was writing: Westwood, Ho!

He wrote: “When it comes to college football, Los Angeles clearly belongs to the Bruins. Not USC, not anymore, not even close, and not only just this year. This is a Bruin football town…”

In time he would be leaping into Pete Carroll’s arms, and now he’s gone giddy over USC coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams.

It took much less time for him to jump on the Dodgers’ bandwagon, writing for Aug. 1: Trade Deadline Debacle, and how Dodgers’ GM Andrew Friedman “got shelled,”’ while lamenting “the Dodgers failed. And that failure will haunt.”

Ten days later he wrote Clayton Kershaw is back and “so are the LA Dodgers World Series title hopes.”

They come and they go, so many Plaschke predictions and demands: Trade LeBron, no wait, don’t.

Oh well, the Trojan honks will love it, and maybe Plaschke will generate a ton of conversions, the happy-chirpy column generating a bunch of new online subscribers to make the LA Times’ editors thrilled.

Now we just sit back and watch the Trojans go 6-0 against teams even UCLA could beat, reading Plaschke’s Sunday columns on Monday because USC can go 12-0 but can’t win in time to beat the LA Times’ 3 p.m. deadline.

Then it’s Notre Dame, and Utah, a team that Plaschke tells us can’t beat USC because it already has done so two-straight times. Plaschke logic.

Then it’s just a matter of doing away with Cal, Washington, Oregon and UCLA before he can write a column about how it is going to win a National Championship.

A year from now after Riley and Williams have left town, we’ll be told it’s always been a Bruins’ town, Westwood Ho just on hold for 22 years.

Attention book publishers and book buyers

By T.J. Simers

I wrote a book, beginning with one of my lawyers who made poisoned hamburgers to silence a watch dog so her husband could take some guy out to the desert, cut his manhood off and pour bleach on him.

It was pretty funny when one of the Times’ lawyers tried to bully her.

One of my other lawyers was like the best attorney on the planet, and I know that because that’s what he said about himself in his bio. He had 11 kids, so there were some who believed whatever he said

One of my appeals judges was identified by Erika Jayne from Real Housewives as her husband, Tom Girardi’s mistress. Erika Jayne said Girardi gave my judge $300,000 in misused funds for a beach condo. And my appels judge voted to give me nothing.

The reason I mention all this, I was wondering if any of you could suggest a book publisher. Maybe you have a friend, a former college roommate or some kind of contact in that world. I tried one here in the L.A. area and he said he wasn’t interested in the legal stuff in the book. He wanted a book just on the sports folks I got to know on Page 2.

They are all in the book, of course, a book about Kobe, Phil Jackson, Pete Carroll, John Elway, Junior Seau and Plaschke. I even mentioned F.P. Santangelo, although he hardly figures as a sports figure.

I also wrote about my love affair with the Los Aneles Times, telling a judge, jury and lawyers, “I love the LA Times. Still do.” And while it isn’t much now, it’s still the Los Angeles Times.

But I sued the L.A. Times because the Times hired a managing editor and editor who tried to get rid of me. I won in court three times, and I wrote about that as well as testimony from Tom Lasorda, Joe Torre and Garret Anderson. I had Kobe’s name on a list to testify and our judge said he wasn’t interested in hearing from people who were going to just gush about me. Kobe would have laughed at that.

My judge wasn’t the best, and I write about that. He seemed to have no faith in juries, and how is that for a selling point to get people to serve?

A book agent said he detected no interest in the East Coast about a book featuring notables from the West Coast and a newspaper writer they never read. Ouch! I’d like to see them get close enough to Salma Hayek to be kissed.

My East Coast book agent disappeared faster than Gary Matthews Jr.

Some folks have suggested I go the vanity press route, and I got a feeling that’s a commentary on my ego and coming from my children.

I’m told if a book publisher takes on the book, I would get about 10-14% of what the book costs in royalties, while keeping in mind only 1% to 2% of all the manuscripts submitted to publishers result in a book.

If I self-publish, supposedly I could get 70% of what I sell, but then it would be up to me to find folks to buy the book. If only I had the names of alumni who have cheated when it comes to USC sports, I could print them in the book and it would become a best seller.

They say the average book these days sells only 350 copies; I don’t have that many family members. Probably never had that many readers. Maybe I should just blog the book.

I guess I could start a list of who wants to buy a book, assuring someone like Rob Pelinka anonymity, and convince a publisher there is an audience. But I don’t know how much more disappointment I could take. One more day of reading about the Angels might end me over the edge,

If I were Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Times, I would buy 350 copies and then burn them.

Maybe I should rewrite the book. and make it more flashy. I don’t know if I could get anyone to read about the lawyer the Times hired who wore a little bell around her ankle so whenever she had to go to the bathroom we would hear her tinkle.

But it’s a thought.

USC Majors in Lost Perspective

By T.J. Simers

I’m constantly reminded how dumb USC fans are.

So now we know LenDale White received a duffel bag with $150,000 when he moved into an apartment while he was playing football for USC. He had a fancy car and who knows who was paying for the apartment.

I presume this was after Pete Carroll convinced the team White had jumped off a nearby building. I would think that stunt would be worth $150,000, paying White to be the stooge and motivate the troops.

Maybe it was Carroll who gave him the money, which would explain why he had them hand the ball off to White against Texas on fourth and two while keeping Reggie Bush off the field. Or was it offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin?

Bush’s parents supposedly got a house for him going to USC but that wouldn’t mean anything to the kid if there was $150,000 to be gained in cold cash and he was probably pouting.

At least that would make sense. Apparently, there was a lot of money to be made at USC on the hush-hush and for all we know the offensive linemen were getting none of it and they wouldn’t block for White on fourth and two.

Right now, it’s just an interesting tidbit kind of confirming what we already knew—USC was cheating. Holy Astros.

It also tells me USC has always had dumb supporters.

We’re led to believe that everyone now is making out at USC under something called NIL. It’s all NCAA legal-like; pay a quarterback whatever it takes to have him go to USC instead of Notre Dame and everybody’s fine with that. That would explain why USC has a quarterback and Notre Dame does not, Notre Dame alumni spending their money on the good of mankind rather than a Heisman candidate.

But what I want to know is why would anyone hand over cash to a college football player?

What does someone get out of it? Better players, simple as that?

Are 10 wins better than 8 and worth $150,000 or whatever it takes these days? Is football success that important in life? I know some people have tons of money, but how can you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself donating oodles of money to a fullback rather than a kid battling cancer?

I’ve seen the parents of sick kids just arriving at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and they are already wiped out, maybe years of heartbreak ahead, life as most should know it impossible to live as they have to quit jobs so that they can make arrangements to be at their child’s side.

I witnessed a mother check in with her son, cancer found in his leg which would later be amputated, and she never left that hospital in the year it took to treat him.

And you are going to tell me money spent on Caleb Williams is well-spent because he deserves to be paid for bringing acclaim to a university and helping USC make more money. The players should get their fair share is how the argument goes, beyond a free ride at USC, of course.

It is sickening. Maybe the answer is it has always been done, LenDale White and Reggie Bush getting rewarded but under the table while now everyone makes out. What was Matt Leinart getting? Carson Palmer?

I just don’t get why football victories are worth that much? Look what it all did to Carroll and his players beyond Bush getting a Wendy’s commercial out if it where he plays the fool for yucks.

Call it the LenDale White Legacy, Williams coming to USC knowing it would ultimately pay dividends.

By now everyone should know USC has the kind of alumni who have lost all perspective, which makes the LenDale White story just what you would expect to surface when talking about the glory days.

Some unknown joker just dropping $150,000 into LenDale White’s lap and tell me anyone is surprised.

It’s such a sleazy place, but they do have a pretty good football team, if pretty good football teams are enough for you.

USC Dork Alert

I have wondered what it would be like to be a USC fan, so pompous and clueless.

I think I could drive a BMW or Mercedes, wear those colors and look down upon UCLA. But I worry that I wouldn’t be able to wave two fingers in the air like some kind of big dork.

We’re going to learn a lot about USC honks this season. They all seemed to move away when Pete Carroll did the same, but now there is boastful chatter about a genius coach, Heisman Trophy choice to play quarterback and an easy schedule.

The Times has been covering USC recently like it’s trying to make up for the blundering work of its own editors amidst a USC scandal. I haven’t seen such slobbering since the last time I read one of the newspaper’s stories about the Lakers.

One Times’ writer has the Trojans listed as an outside chance to play for the national championship. I would think every team in the nation right now has an outside chance to play for the national title, so wasted newsprint.

The same guy wrote this morning, “When USC is USC, its top players win Heismans. Period.”

No, USC folk don’t like you to argue with them. Period. But nice to know the Times has a USC fan writing about the Trojans.

The new college football rules were designed with USC donors in mind. Now they can buy a team to root on, just like the good old Dodgers way of doing things. Just imagine what Lane Kiffin could do with all this money.

Now there is talk of paying each USC football player $50,000 on top of the$40,000 to $50,000 scholarship they get, and that’s just for every ordinary Trojan. The extraordinary will probably make so much more because the USC honks would rather donate to a a dominating wide receiver than a children’s hospital.

That makes me sound like Plaschke, and you know what, I kinda like pandering to the huddled masses who don’t see the justice in reality.

The heralded coach, Lincoln Riley, with the first name that will be used by pregnant Trojans everywhere, and is that some kind of oxymoron? Well, anyway, this guy is considered magical, taking last year’s Heisman Trophy favorite in Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma, and driving him to play for South Carolina now.

Riley has proven he can make a bust out of the very-best prospect, and now he gets a do-over with Caleb Williams.

Williams’ father has already made it clear he’s at USC to get rich, although he wanted everyone to know in a suck-up LA Times story that he never sought financial gains for his son before his son officially signed with USC. I’ll betcha Uncle Pete got a good NCAA laugh out of that.

I have my doubts about Williams, which makes me alone. Now I really do feel like Plaschke.

He is listed as being 6 feet 1, and there are all kinds of examples of 6-1 successful quarterbacks in the NFL. But thousands more who weren’t, the task to so much taller than what the 6-2 to 6-4 guys have to tackle

Tom Brady is 6-4.

I covered the NFL for more than 20 years with Elway in Denver, Fouts & Bums in San Diego, Everett in Los Angeles and I also watched as teams tried to win with quarterbacks like the Mission Bay Shrimp a.k.a. Doug Flutie. I predicted Drew Brees would lose in San Diego and I was right as he went on to New Orleans to win and set all kinds of records.

Yes, it can be done and in a spectacular way, but percentages suggest Williams is not a lock for Heisman stardom. And in addition to being a passer, he’s considered a great runner, and runners often disappear to get medical attention.

So why all the premature fanfare for a quarterback who has played eight college games?

Well, it’s USC and the Trojans’ faithful has had nothing to get excited about for some time. Imagine what it’s like to be a Bruins’ fan; I know, I can’t either.

I like USC’s home chances against Rice and Fresno State, so I’m not just a naysayer as some honks will suggest. But I know I’d be embarrassed to stand up and poke two fingers in the air and yell fight on against the mighty Owls from Rice.

But I like USC’s chance to win, and I also like the increase in business for dermatologists if USC fans get the same kind of the present-day heat for that Sept. 3 opener at 3 p.m. in the Coliseum.

I don’t rule out a shocking defeat along the way if Williams is more Rattler than we know right now, but I would think the Trojans will start the season 6-0 before lining up for pay raises. I also look for donors to inspire, leaning over the railing while waving dollar bills in the faces of players as they walk up the Coliseum tunnel.

As so many great USC coaches used to say: Whatever it costs.


Thank You, Thomas Cole, Family & Ben

By T.J. Simers

My daughter says I am wasting my time writing a blog about a newspaper, the LA Times. She says newspapers are dead. “No one reads them anymore,” she says.

I hold out hope. Maybe not for a resurrection, but for more reasons to still pick up a paper.

I found one Sunday, wanting to pass it on as much for what it means to every parent but for how a morning newspaper can inspire.

The LA Times’ Ben Bolch, my sparring partner the past week on another front, sat down with UCLA’s Thomas Cole and his parents to discuss suicide and a child in crisis.

God almighty, it was gut-wrenching, a kid swallowing the pills and yet so helpful to every parent who has worried about their child taking their own life. And how many of us have been there, a real concern or not?

The story was rich in information, a boy spending so much time in bed in a darkened room, the invincible football player more vulnerable than anyone knew. But the story never got lost in a writer’s attempt to take advantage of the access and really go for the tears like some other columnists might have done.

It was just the facts, ma’am. but with a parent’s eye for detail.

A great, great job.

It is the single biggest reason I used to love newspapers, never knowing how I might be surprised and what I might learn when buying one. Those days are gone, as evidenced by the two tedious stories the editors felt compelled to showcase adjacent to “His Life Was On The Line.”

Bill Plaschke had a column on “Loaded Trojans Under Heavy Pressure” (like that is some new phenomena) to the left of Ben’s story and to the right was a story on the Dodgers adding a 36-year-old journeyman relief pitcher via trade.

I would have slapped “His Life Was On The Line” across the whole top of the sports section to let everyone know how important Ben Bolch’s work was on this Sunday morning.

Experts will tell you the Internet has killed newspapers. I disagree; newspapers are disappearing because most days there isn’t much more in them than the usual stats, twisted ankles and old news game stories.

Inside the newsroom, editors have made it clear to their reporters that newspapers are dead, and that’s inspiring.

The thrill of newspapers is gone because newspapers remain traditional and boring in coverage. If no one is reading them anymore then why not take wild, crazy chances to do something differently. Why not inspire reporters to go out there in quest of the story that might make a difference, like Ben’s wonderful recount of Thomas Cole’s life.

In part, that’s why Plaschke has remained No. 1 on the sports pages: He looks for the story that might hit someone emotionally between the eyes and win awards. The human plight will almost always be interesting and have the potential to win awards.

In part, that’s why Helene Elliott has been such a disaster as a columnist, her typed words just killing trees . She has no credibility, telling readers Sunday morning the “better the Chargers’ chances of qualifying for the playoffs” if they get a backup running back. She’s certainly no Charger expert, but it was her job to get something from Chargers’ training camp and so the traditional blah-blah story it is.

I’m more interested in why the Times ran a picture of a lot of soccer fans in the Rose Bowl on its first page and there doesn’t appear to be any women in the picture. I always have that question when I watch a golf tournament and catch a glimpse of the gallery which is usually womenless. I guess spending time with Billie Jean King has made me conscious of that.

I’ve always thought the sports pages do not do enough to entertain female readers, and beginning there might be the start to survival or revival. “His Life Was On The Line” would undoubtedly be read by female readers in great numbers if someone told them newspapers weren’t dead and provided Ben’s story as an example.

Hello, Mom, do you know why your child’s bedroom door is closed?

We need more imagination from reporters, and the editors mired in the mundane. I have a friend in Frank Pace, and while he might dispute that, he puts out a podcast with Billy O’Connor, an ex-fireman with 9-11 history.

They don’t get paid anything, but the two old men are driven to be entertaining, calling their podcast: A Mick, a Mook and a Mic. The Mook is my so-called friend.

Each week they present an eclectic guest to deliver the entertaining goods. They are what a newspaper should be, refusing to be traditional but hellbent on making it worth someone’s time to listen.

They’ve had on the show the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who took the dramatic Kent State protest picture, actress Joanna Kerns and the Commander of Apollo 15 as guests. They can be reached at info@amickamookandamic.com, and I would urge you to email and tell them their email address is too long.

I admire talented communicators like this who refuse to surrender. If they were working as the editors of the newspaper, the newspaper might be prospering rather than losing subscribers. The newspaper needs an injection of pep.

Oddly, “Thomas Cole left UCLA football after a suicide attempt…he hopes his story helps others,” did just that.

Ben tweeted to tell me that Cole and his parents deserved the credit for allowing such access, but Ben doesn’t get that kind of access unless he builds a foundation of trust as a reporter. And works the story.

This morning he excelled as a reporter, thereby making the Sunday newspaper such a joy.

USC Better Fit Than UCLA in Big 2

By T.J. Simers

I think we’re all pretty much in agreement that USC, more so than UCLA, will enjoy great success in the Big 2.

The Big 2, because everyone just seems to focus on Michigan and Ohio State, is pretty much all that’s being mentioned here in regards to the new sports reality, whatever that is.

Is that USC versus Rutgers?

Don’t you think it’s odd the Big Ten has 14 schools, but the focus is on only two?

Ordinarily it would be scary interjecting anyone other than Michigan or Ohio State into the Big 2 game of the year, but USC is going to have a heavyweight football program. That’s the word.

Certainly, better than UCLA.

But this isn’t about competition. This move is all about money, and while I don’t give a rip about USC or UCLA getting richer, the LA Times went crazy hyping this money grab.

USC has the new hot shot coach in college football with the cool name, Lincoln, and came to USC with his own quarterback. Now he has two years to enhance his reputation by beating up on the Pac 12 before taking on Northwestern, Illinois and Minnesota.

In three or four years he could have Woody Hayes’ record to put it in Big 2 terms.

Times’ columnist Bill Plaschke wrote this morning, “every football Saturday could feel like a Rose Bowl.” Do you think USC will be favored by 21 in its Rose Bowl with the Fighting Illini?

He goes on to write: “USC visits Michigan one week,” and I don’t think they have a Rose Bowl in Michigan, but it’s all over-written so just go with it.

He continues to write: “Ohio State comes to UCLA the next week, are you kidding me?” Well, I would think if the schedule calls for Ohio State going to UCLA, it will go. No joke.

Yes, the Big 2 will show up every so often in L.A., and play a big game much like Oregon or Stanford did when Peter Carroll offered a challenge.

Plaschke says, “Indiana and Michigan State play UCLA at packed Pauley Pavillion in the middle of February on national television, are you serious.”

Well, not if Duke and North Carolina are scheduled that same February night.

Do you think Minnesota-USC basketball will be packed in mid-February?

The hype is a smoke screen of exaggerated rah-rah hoopla to disguise the fact this is just about more money. The athletes are now being paid above the table rather than below, so I guess this will help recruiting.

But my first thought was we’re going to lose the commentary of Bill Walton, who might stay with Pac 12 basketball.

One of the headlines in the Times read: “A bigger share of revenue is among the reasons why they may benefit from switch.”

Name another reason.

The Pac 12 plays the most entertaining college football in the land most years. The Big 2 gets excited about one big game in Columbus or Ann Arbor every year.

The Times says USC and UCLA will benefit from better competition, although that seems to change every season. USC will do just fine in the Big 2 slugfests but I fear we will never hear of UCLA again in football.

UCLA and USC, we’re told by the Times, will also benefit from media exposure, quite the admission by the L.A. Times that the newspapers in Ann Arbor and Columbus do a better job.

That’s the three reasons cited why this is better for USC and UCLA: More money for the schools, better competition and a better newspaper to document it all.

Plaschke points out: “Face it, USC had long since outgrown a decaying Pac-12 that had deteriorated into the home of late-night TV games, half-empty stadiums and national irrelevance.”

Well, many of those half-empty stadiums were the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum. Do you think Purdue and Indiana are going to travel here every other year like they would for the big granddaddy of them all?

But I give Plaschke credit, noting this is all about USC’s dominance: “And face it,” he wrote, “USC wasn’t going anywhere without UCLA.”

I think it’s sweet USC considers UCLA like its tag-along little brother.

Now on a side note, I guess we know who Plaschke is supporting to be L.A. Mayor.

“In a move apparently generated by forward-thinking USC Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Caruso with new athletic director Mike Bohn—Caruso is also the man running for mayor of Los Angeles—USC and UCLA were extremely smart and excessively nimble.”

That’s not a very nimble paragraph, but it’s good to know the wannabe mayor is always thinking about making more money.

He also praised Caruso for his “unwavering commitment to restore USC’s football program to greatness.”

If I was a Bruins’ supporter, right now I’d be thinking about the greatness of Karen Bass.

No one, of course, has the pulse of Los Angeles like Plaschke because no one at the paper has lasted as long on the job.

But when it comes to gushing and predicting what a fantastic move this is for USC, keep in mind this is coming from an opinion maker who is 6-17 by his own count on predicting how the Super Bowl will go.

Experts at Keeping Readers in the Dark

By T.J. Simers

You have probably seen the placards around town, promising to make you, “The Last To Know.”

Or, the LA Times motto: “All the news fit to print elsewhere and then we’ll copy it here for you.”

We all love surprises, the key to a good TV show now and apparently the morning newspaper, a shocking surprise right out of the blue to leave you wanting more.

I know I read the Times and I always want more.

But kudos to the folks involved at USC and UCLA and all the Times’ reporters assigned to know what’s going on out there.

Never once did we get a hint in the USC or UCLA hometown newspaper the Trojans or Bruins were even considering jumping to the Big Ten.

How do you keep something that big so quiet? Is the newspaper and all of its reporters that out of touch or was the plan to knock everyone’s socks off with a surprise announcement?

How hard that must’ve been, though, all those reporters being paid to get the scoop and not one of them clueing in the Times’ readership with the news until after it been reported elsewhere.

I think that’s why we all go online now to check what the newspaper missed. But then again the Times is really good at knowing nothing, not a word even on twitter and USC and UCLA are the schools they regularly cover.

I would think that’s taking a chance, not informing the Trojans’ faithful and the Bruins’ honks of what’s happening with their favorite schools, but what are people going to do — cancel their subscriptions? Again?

Hey, it was a complete success, the L.A. Times making sure, as its promotional campaign promises, you were the last to know.

The Times reported the first hint that this was going to happen came from the San Jose Mercury News. I think they were the first to report the Mercury News was on the job.

I believe USC and UCLA are essentially located in Los Angeles, so it must have been difficult to ignore all the sources here in town.

What a pleasure to read a story quoting unnamed sources. The Times apparently had none, but at least they didn’t make up any.

Do you think USC’s Lincoln Riley has a better relationship with the newspaper in San Jose than the one in L.A.? You have to believe USC clued in Riley, the Trojans’ great revival hope, telling him he might want to start watching what Jim Harbaugh does.

Maybe the Times chooses not to bother Lincoln.

In my day Pete Carroll or Karl Dullard would have loved that.

I must say, the Times has so much experience now in not getting the news first that they go crazy trying to catch up. They had three bylines, including columnist Bill Plaschke, on their “USC, UCLA to the Big Ten” story trying to rewrite what the newspaper in San Jose reported earlier.

I’ve always thought Plaschke would make a great rewrite man.

None of the three names affixed to the Times’ story had any inkling of the blockbuster USC-UCLA news or else they would have rushed it into print before San Jose and taken a bow.

I wonder if they checked with their sources at USC or UCLA to find out why they were holding out on them. I wonder if they have sources. I wonder if they called USC or UCLA and began by saying, anything else you want us to keep out of the paper?

As for those who want to stay up to date on USC and UCLA, it will be 99 cents for the first three months and $14 a month after that to read The Mercury News online.