Bauer & McVay: Why are we the last to know?

By T.J. Simers

I have no idea what I am writing about, although I would if I was working the story.

That’s an indictment of the LA Times and its inability to tell us the inside story when it is time to read the inside story.

It’s like the recent Trevor Bauer story, the Dodgers going to the Friday deadline to keep or release Bauer and the Times’ baseball writers apparently clueless to tell us what was happening. Inexcusable, making the LA Times useless.

I remember when Plaschke was a Times’ beat reporter covering the Dodgers, and Dylan Hernandez later followed to do the same job. They were superb, two bulldogs who would never have left Times’ readership uninformed. It has a large part to do with why they were promoted to columnists.

To this day Plaschke and Hernandez are called upon to reach key officials with the teams in town because the beat reporters don’t have the contacts to properly report a story. There might be some truth to the fact that people are more responsive to Plaschke and Hernandez because they are opinion makers, but the truth is Plaschke and Hernandez did a better job of cultivating sources while they were beat men.

The decline in quality leadership within the Times’ sports department has allowed this slippage in beat personnel to cheat Times’ readers from reading a first-rate newspaper.

The list of legendary beat men and women working in the Times’ sports section is, well, legendary. Not anymore.

Now we have the Rams’ head coach John McVay holding football fans hostage with his angst, or whatever reason it is that it’s not a foregone conclusion he’s returning.

The reason, of course, is that Times’ beat reporters have failed to do their jobs, one of their prime responsibilities to get to know the people on their beats better than anyone else in the country. They spend hours and hours with the Dodgers and Rams and yet they appear to know just as much as you and I, which is nothing.

How impersonal, and journalism has always been very very personal. I spent hours talking to Chuck Knox at the end of a day in the media room at Rams Park in Anaheim, talking about his kids, my kids and other reporters couldn’t understand why I thought Knox was such a personable guy.

Rams’ executive John Shaw, who orchestrated the team’s move to St. Louis, would speak to me regularly, often in the Rams offices on Pico in Los Angeles. That’s where I met and talked with owner Georgia Frontiere. The other reporters on the Rams beat openly griped about the favoritism Shaw and Frontiere were apparently showing, yet Frontiere was standing on the practice field less than 100 yards from where the media were seating for photo day and not one of them made a move to go out there and talk to her.

Like any profession, sometimes laziness is far too prevalant.

McVay is 36, seems personable from afar, but why aren’t the Times’ writers telling us what is going on with the guy? It’s not like they are trying to get something out of Belichick.

Why is someone talented enough take his team to the Super Bowl twice, at such a young age, already even considering such a career change? That’s something you come to learn or discuss in October, December or the last time there was noise about him going into a TV booth.

Where’s the insight? Whatever the Times is paying these guys it’s too much because you are not getting your money’s worth.

I really liked Knox, and came to know many of the coaches, GMs, players and owners in the same way. It was part of the job, developing trust with the people we covered, so when a story broke we could make a telephone call and have it answered. I still treasure many of those relationships. I came to even like Mike Garrett and Kevin Malone.

How disappointing to know Times’ reporters are waiting around now for press releases to tell them what they should be telling us with great reporting.

Arrogant Friedman, Puppet Roberts Bad Combo

By T.J. Simers

Never met Andrew Friedman and never heard of Brandon Gomes before reading the Times.

Why would you need a GM (Gomes) if you have a know it all (Friedman).

I went through a lot of cocky Dodger GMs in the Sheriff aka Dodger Boy Kevin Malone era, Dan Evans and Paul DePodesta, but the Friedman arrogance displayed in print Wednesday reached toxic levels.

I understand now why Dave Roberts is returning to manage and why Gomes has a job; they’ve been propped up as potential fall guys for Friedman if the local media or fan base gets wise to him.

Times columnist Dylan Hernandez wrote another fantastic column off of Friedman’s press conference. I wasn’t there, but Hernandez’s column read like Friedman was sitting on a throne.

Who the heck is Friedman to be so haughty, the great collection of talent and money spent in recent years, and they have won one Covid title to show for it all. Why change, says Friedman, he did everything right.

How about this Hernandez paragraph from his column: “Friedman didn’t highlight anything the front office could have done better. If anything, he went out of his way to defend the group.”

How can anyone hold the Dodgers accountable for their postseason belly flop if it doesn’t start at the top?

For example: I’d just like to know more about pulling starting pitcher Tyler Anderson from the fourth game because of the fear expressed by Roberts of what MIGHT happen next if allowed to pitch into the sixth inning.

Understanding the moment has to be bigger than the analytical numbers.

A condescending Friedman said he has said it before, so why bother him again? He told the obliging media Roberts has full autonomy over in-game decisions. And yet I think I read somewhere the team had decided before the game to pull Anderson before facing the Padres’ big hitters a third time.

A manager with complete autonomy in making in-game decisions would have scrapped the pre-game plan and trotted Anderson out for the sixth inning and given him a chance. Either Roberts doesn’t have the in-game instincts to stick with what is working or he’s allowing himself to be bullied by Friedman. I have no idea what Gomes is doing.

Either way, Roberts should be gone. If he’s playing the stooge for Friedman, his players know it and the Dodgers would be better off with a fresh voice. If he lacks the managerial instincts to win a big game, he’s the wrong guy for the Dodgers.

“After every single postseason I’ve answered that question,” said Friedman when asked if Roberts’ postseason blunders have contributed to the Dodgers demise. So, I don’t feel like it’s a narrative … if it ever changes, I’ll let you people know.”

Translated: I know everything, and you people know nothing until I clue you in. That arrogance speaks to his insecurity and why he has Roberts around to take the fall if necessary.

Plaschke should be challenging Dodger management instead of going into hiding. He’s written plenty of stupid things in his career and bounced back to do more. I know USC and the Dodgers went down on the same day and Plaschke might be shell-shocked, but in his role as No. 1 columnist he should be asking Friedman for less arrogance and more insight to what has bedeviled the Dodgers in postseason play.

So far all we have gotten from him is a column following the fourth game proclaiming the Dodgers went from best ro worst, and woe is me.

A soft media corps and fans who just take it allows the Dodgers to get away with incompetence.

Friedman dismissing a reporter’s question about a missed sign: “I’m not gonna spend any time (talking about) that either,” is an insult to every Dodger fan who sat there glued to their TV screen following every pitch.

Spend any time? It was a postseason news conference and Friedman has all the time in the world to take questions and offer some insight into what went wrong.

Hey, give Gomes something to do like getting to the bottom of the missed sign.

Never owned a Choking Dog

By T.J. Simers

Dwyre and I were talking about dogs.

I know what you are thinking: Choking Dogs. But we really weren’t talking about the Dodgers.

We weren’t even discussing Plaschke’s latest meltdown or his juvenile writing style: “The Dodgers blinked first. The Dodgers blinked furiously. The Dodgers blinked recklessly.”

You write like that for a journalism class, and they are telling you to switch majors and try anything where it doesn’t involve writing.

Oh, and Plaschke’s next sentence in his Thursday morning account of the Dodgers’ game: “The Dodgers blinked so rapidly, their season has been rendered red and swollen and beyond painful.”

Eesh gads that writing stinks — one loss and the sky is falling. Please, don’t let this guy write about the Lakers.

We were talking dogs, but nothing about the Times’ sports section going to the dogs, or my favorite Dodger Dog, Clayton Kershaw, standing tall again as poster boy for the post-season blues.

No, we were talking about Oinker and Bummer, the first two dogs my wife and I owned before acquiring Shammer.

There was some concern when we started making babies what they might be named but that’s a blog for another day.

We added No Bargain to our menagerie, a huge Dalmatian who liked to take a running start before leaping onto your lap. You know, a lot like my wife.

We were just married, so the furniture was already the best you could find in an Idaho garage sale. So, no harm.

We lived in Hayden Lake, Idaho, across the street from a logging camp and down the gravel road to where the Aryan Nations headquarters was located, or so we were told after we moved. Never knew the racist skinheads were all around us in our brief stint working for the Coeur d’Alene Press, and that’s the kind of reporter I was — unable to even trip across a story.

We had a horse living in the field behind us, and I built a three-level doghouse right beyond our potato patch. Living in Yorba Linda isn’t so bad.

Dwyre, meanwhile, was born in Wisconsin with a chance to date Laverne or Shirley while waiting for the girl across the street to grow up and become his wife for the next 50-some years.

By the way, I got to know Laverne really well and Squiggy, too, so I never thought it was such a big deal when Dwyre liked to say he might have run off with Laverne. I’m not sure Laverne even knew who he was, not surprised at all that Dwyre named his dog, “Addie,” or “Addy” instead of Laverne.

It’s just the kind of dog you would expect a Notre Dame grad to own, a little fur ball who just lays there. Or lies there, whichever is proper grammar.

I’ve been to Madison Square Garden for the dog show two or three times. But I’ve never seen anything to remind me of our dogs. Gravel had one eye, probably a strike against him at Westminster.

I was on Friday night preps deadline for the Morristown Daily Record in New Jersey, my wife calling to say the cat next store had just taken the eye out of our new dog and what should she do.

Pick up the eye, I told her, and our baby daughter in the other arm, go to doggy emergency and if it costs less than $100, fix the eye. If not, tell the baby doggy is going to doggy heaven.

Cost $99 I was told, the $3,000 years later for the removal of the eye and treatment. And let that be a lesson for you if going to a pet store for gravel for the fish tank and coming out with the cute puppy in the window. It’s a lot like getting married, falling for the cute girl but never considering the expenses ahead.

We had Maui because we went there, a contest to see if Maui would last longer than the time it took to pay off the bill to go there. We had Irish, a contest then to see if we could pay for the Notre Dame daughter’s college experience before losing Irish, and sorry to say Irish lost.

We had Blah, who reminds me of the writing in the Times these days, Scruffy because we don’t believe in grooming, Holly the cat who was better known as Cat because every time we called Holly’s name, Maui came running. We had Ralphie, after the kid who nearly shot his eye out in A Christmas Story and as much time as we put into naming our dogs, I still can’t tell you why we didn’t think of naming Gravel — Ralphie.

A robber came into our Memphis house, by the way, and Gravel sat there and just let him steal our TV. I think he just figured crime was everyday life in Memphis.

We also have Rona as in an annoying little barking creep. Or CorRONA. She’s already had Puppy Strangles, Parva and her jaw fractured by Nixon. Nixon tried to cover it up, of course.

We have Nixon because the daughter has Kennedy.

Obviously, I know something about dogs, the Choking Dogs such an interesting breed. They are lovable creatures, so much to like about them only to let you down. It’s like going out and coming home to find them trashing the house and leaving a mess.

The nice thing, this is Plaschke’s mess to clean up, and as much as he has shoveled, the Times have the very best on it.

Dodgers don’t listen to Plaschke; thank God

By T.J. Simers

The audacity of the Dodgers, wining 111 games when LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke told them to stop winning.

It’s as if the Dodgers never read Plaschke or took anything he had to offer seriously.

They obviously paid no attention to his baseball expertise, a wonder they got to where they are in the standings without listening to Plaschke.

Back on Aug. 25, Plaschke wrote: “It feels weird issuing this plea to a baseball team bullying its way toward historic ground, but, sorry, somebody has to say it.

“Hey, steamrolling Dodgers?


What a stupid notion, a grown-up columnist for a major league city telling the baseball team in town to just chill rather than put on a show.

You can just imagine the chatter in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, players turning to each other to say, “Plaschke wants us to slow down.”


“Plaschke. You know the guy writing for the LA Times.”

“Never read the paper.”

How do we expect the Dodgers to excel if ignoring the No. 1 know-it-all in town?

On Oct. 2, Plaschke had more to write about the Dodgers: “This reporter asked Roberts…” I guess that’s the clever way of writing, “I asked Roberts…”

I asked Roberts, Plaschke wrote, “if he wished he ever longed for more unbridled regular-season joy around Chavez Ravine like in Seattle last week when the Mariners made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.”

Plaschke apparently has something about the Dodgers winning all the time. He’d be good with every 21 years.

“Yeah, I do,” Roberts said to this reporter, and I wouldn’t think much of Roberts if he was repeating this nonsense to others.

“Unfortunately,” Roberts continued while talking to this reporter, “The world has gone very cynical, which is sad. … Are certain fans, not all, jaded? Absolutely. And [they] don’t realize what it takes, what this team, in particular, has had to overcome, to get to this point.”

Well, we know they had to overcome the No. 1 voice in the newspaper telling them to stop their momentum and just stop winning. You can imagine how upset the Dodgers must be, letting down Plaschke like that, winning 111 games..

Roberts went on to tell this reporter, “He wished there was more pure happiness in the moment.

“The sense of gratitude and joy is many times lost in our society, and certainly in sports, it’s at the forefront,” he said, adding, “I wish they certainly would enjoy the ride and know and appreciate what we do, regardless of ultimately if we’re the last team standing.”

So, in August Plaschke tells everyone the Dodgers are winning too much, just sucking the joy out of such success, and then in October he quotes the manager as saying people (like this reporter) should enjoy the moment.

Plaschke continues to make a big deal out of Roberts’ so-called guarantee the Dodgers will win the World Series on some radio show, like it’s a really big deal the manager of the team would say his team will win it all. I would hope he would say that, rather than some wishy-washy “we’ll see.”

For a columnist to act as if that is something outlandish for a manager to say speaks more to how hard the columnist is looking to make much ado about nothing. But then much ado about nothing has always been a staple of a Plaschke column

Plaschke’s got more to say, of course in his Oct. 2 blah-blah-blah: “If the Dodgers win the World Series, they could be arguably anointed as the best team in baseball history.

“If they don’t win the World Series, they could be forever known as one of the biggest disappointments in baseball history.”

Well, how’s that for a preview of what Plaschke is going to write after the World Series.

Good thing none of the Dodgers will pay any attention to it.

Albert the Great

By T.J. Simers

I apologize.

I wrote a nice blog yesterday on Claton Kershaw and Dylan Hernandez, and today I’m not going to take back what I wrote about Hernandez despite the clamor.

Instead, I am going to go off the deep end and write more kind things, this time about Albert Pujols.

When Albert came to the Angels, I was told to tread lightly with him, a green light for me, of course, to really go after him. Above all, I was told, don’t talk to him about his age.

So, first question to Albert: “Just how old are you?”

He didn’t pick up a bat, which I found very encouraging. I never worried about that with most Angels because they would have swung and missed, but this guy was considered a vaunted slugger.

Albert’s answer: “As old as you are.”

Next day I wrote that’s why the Angels stink; they just signed a 61-yearold first baseman.”’

As I liked to do, I said the same thing to Albert to see how it would fly, and he laughed.

The Angels’ PR guy at the time was Tim Mead, and the best PR guy in Los Angeles. Well, strike that. No one considers Anaheim a part of Los Angeles, especially the L.A. Times which tries to avoid all things Anaheim, so that would make former USC PR guy Tim Tessalone the best in L.A., and Mead the best in the greater southern California area.

Anyway, I digress, and you can do that in a blog. Mead warned Albert all about me, the wisecracks and question baiting to come, and so Albert disarmed me.

I take it the Dodgers’ PR guy never warned Kevin Brown.

Albert and I talked that day and any day I thought I could be in Anaheim without the fear of being seen. I came to learn a lot about the so-called malcontent as so many other sports writers had warned me. As usual the horde had it wrong, refusing to find out for themselves what was true and what was not.

He married a woman who already had a special needs child, and I found that interesting. They divorced after 22 years of marriage, and I found that none of my business. It garnered some negative headlines because the divorce became public shortly after she had successful surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Given that, his former wife released a statement at the beginning of this season: “He has been one of the most disciplined athletes of his sport that I have known and how God has used his life on and off the field has always blown my mind! I am really happy he gets one more year to play the game.”

So are a lot of others, the baseball fans in Dodger Stadium screaming out their appreciation Friday night after Albert hit two home runs to reach only the heights of Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron as the only baseball players to reach 700 career home runs.

Wouldn’t you like to see Angry Arte’s face right now, Arte Moreno. the Angels’ owner signing him to a 10-year deal and Albert putting on a show against the Dodgers for the St. Louis Cardinals? Just up the road from Angel Stadium.

I am so happy for Albert, finding the giant of the game to be even bigger off the field.

In 2013 I went to spring training in Arizona and began the trip with the Angels, a clear sign I wasn’t feeling well. I would be hospitalized later in the night, but that morning I was so eager to interview Albert. I had to endure two meetings with Manager Mike Scioscia before I got the chance, the first to tell me he would never tell me what to write and the second so he could tell me what to write.

Then I talked to Albert, enjoying it all before I woke up that night to collapse. It would be the start of the end for me at the L.A. Times, the Times apparently not thrilled with sickly columnists.

A Dodger trainer assistant drove me to the hospital, and while sitting on the edge of my bed in a hospital gown, I wrote a Pujols column.

That was the last time I dealt with Pujols, missing the chance to wish him well, because after all, he was working for Angry Arte.

Looks like he did just fine, having a night in Dodger Stadium and writing his name into baseball history.

I wish him well now in retirement, knowing now how old he is.


Two Superstars: Kershaw & Hernandez

By T.J. Simers

I read the Times’ terrific column Friday by Dylan Hernandez on the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and I was jealous.

First of all, these are two of my favorite people, but enough about Hernandez.

I miss interviewing Kershaw and ducking an occasional verbal jab. I was still a young man when Kershaw came to the Dodgers, and I ordinarily pay no attention to rookies or the children of other people. But Kershaw was different, he was already stupendous and so grownup.

He became one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve gone through a lot of contenders.

When I met him, he was just a kid. He certainly wasn’t married. Hernandez mentioned in his column that Kershaw now has four kids. So, I presume he’s married now. That suggests a serious passage of time, and Kershaw always acted older than he appeared so he must be acting really old these days.

But he told Hernandez he wants to keep pitching, and I wish I had gotten that out of him, but it wasn’t like Hernandez tackled him and forced him to give up his most inner competitive thoughts.

He asked the question. Granted at the right time, and he knew what to do with it, but it takes a certain amount of trust for a superstar to reveal himself.

Right from the beginning Kershaw was respectful but with an edge to his demeanor, and interesting. You might find this hard to believe but there aren’t that many interesting athletes. The really good ones have been really good most of their lives, which means they don’t have the life experiences to spice up their resumes.

Kershaw was 20 when he came to the big leagues with the Dodgers, making him the youngest player in the game, but so much more than that.

Kershaw could talk, and even make sense. I remember when I was writing for the Times, Kershaw was developing an orphanage in Africa. I made some kind of mistake in the story about it and felt absolutely terrible when discussing it with Kershaw, who thank heavens didn’t throw a high hard one back at me in disgust.

I loved his competitiveness, trashing him, of course, like everyone else when he went ten toes up in postseason play. And then later would marvel at his maturity to put it all on himself, no excuses, no what-ifs.

If I had a son, he wouldn’t be as effective a pitcher given his genes, but the way Kershaw conducted himself, he was obviously raised right. His parents were divorced when he was 10, no easy thing for any kid, but somebody knew what they were doing.

I noticed in Hernandez’s column that Manager Dave Roberts had Kershaw say a few words to the team before letting the champagne flow. Smart move, and while I can only take Hernandez’s word that it was Roberts’ idea, Kershaw is one of those rarest of athletes who can stand consistent year after year as a role model should.

Hernandez has always had an affinity for Kershaw, and I’m not surprised. He likes good guys, and while Kershaw likes to play the tough guy on occasion with the media, he would respect Hernandez’s relentless push to get what he thinks is best for Times’ readers.

He’s also not Plaschke; enough said.

I was so happy to hear Kershaw would be starting the All-Star game in Dodger Stadium earlier this season, and I could make a case that Hernandez suggesting that when he did, helped Kershaw’s cause.

The Dodgers need players like Kershaw, and while the high-priced mercenaries have made the Dodgers dominant, there is still something old-fashioned about home-grown talent. A first-round pick and the seventh player taken in the 2006 draft, he went four picks before Arizona took Max Scherzer, and that’s a pretty good one-two lock on proven talent.

Scherzer has a 200-101 record with a 3.11 earned run average, while Kershaw is 194-87 with a 2.49 earned run average. It’s a matching pair, all right, and baseball has been better off with their contributions.

Beyond the stats, though, Kershaw has stood tall for every parent in the L.A. area wanting the very best for their baseball following kids. That makes him the perfect Dodger for baseball fans here, and it sounds like we’re going to get another year from him.

But it’s up to Hernandez to make sure the Dodgers don’t let Kershaw wander off to another team for his closing act.

Get on it, Dylan.

I want to know more about Trout

By T.J. Simers

It’s a war out there.

It is damn near impossible now to get quality time with athletes as a journalist, the enemy banished outside upon the arrival of Covid—never again to be afforded intimate access.

I knew Kobe Bryant, adored him and disliked him and laughed and yelled and all in the same interview. He was human, and I came to understand that. Even Kevin Brown was human, although I could argue the alternative.

I’m not sure I could function today in the sports arena; I’m sure I will find out when the LA Times brings me back.

We don’t know Mike Trout because he’s a quiet guy, and nobody wants to spend the time to really get to know an Angel with all the hurdles to be jumped. I had a rule when I worked that I would not spend much time with a rookie, knowing how I might take advantage of someone inexperienced in dealing with the media.

I told Trout I would get to him the following year, but then the Times took away my press pass and the Angels certainly weren’t going to complain.

And that’s a big mistake on the Angels’ part. They should welcome the media to get to know Trout better and tell fans what kind of guy he is while hitting homer after homer. That kind of familiarity allows an athlete to become almost family-like with a fan base and the Angels need all the fans they can get.

Mike Trout is a superstar secret. Compare him to some other superstars and he’s a mystery. The Angels might think they are doing him a favor by protecting him and limiting his media availability so that he might hit, but he’s gonna hit even if we move in together.

I find it a real shortcoming on my part that I didn’t get to know him better.

And now it’s going to be harder for reporters to do that without being considered a jerk and push boundaries. I used to meet with individual Dodgers at the team’s hotel in San Francisco and spend a couple of hours getting to know them. Did the same with the Clippers like Chris Paul at a team hotel in Philly.

I got to know players better by traveling to cover their games, the crush of L.A. media staying home because even the Times won’t send a reporter on the road with the Angels.

. It’s tough, clubhouses and locker rooms now more removed from the media than ever before, athletes more conditioned to avoid the media after Covid and reporters given only minutes here and there to report superficially on a city’s main sports characters.

And that shortchanges the fans who want more and more from their heroes.

Covid did athletes a huge favor, driving reporters out of their clubhouses or locker rooms. I never said athletes were smart, so much money to be made off the field but most of it going to who we know best.

It’s not always war. As contentious as I might have been, someone asked me yesterday how many sports figures really hated my guts. I don’t know, but the list begins with Brown, Frank McCourt, Lisa Leslie (because I said “jinx” to her when she had hit 50 free throws in a row prompting her to miss her next attempt), Helene Elliott and Arte Moreno.

A strong dislike is another category, and the numbers might be astronomical, but as much as the Angels’ Garret Anderson tried to avoid me, he testified on my behalf at Trial No. 1.

There were skirmishes, of course, with Jeff Kent, Mike Garrett, Phil Jackson and Chris Pronger. Pronger was a hockey player and I visited him during a Stanley Cup Finals match or game or whatever they call it, and told him I was bored and just bring the Cup to the children’s hospital at UCLA when he was done.

He did, placed it in the beds of sick kids and I even said I might go to another hockey game. You get to know people, even hockey players and people, even columnists, aren’t so bad.

The important thing is to get to know people. As soon as Phil Jakcson and I exchanged pictures of our grandkids and he realized mine were just cuter, we could spar good naturally.

Mike Garrett hugged me after hiring Lane Kiffin, and I guess he knew he was going to need all the friends he could get.

McCourt refused to sit down and chat, his shirts so starched maybe they wouldn’t allow him to sit down. His wife, the Screaming Meanie as I called her, wrote my name on her coffee cup sitting across from her husband in the courtroom while they were in the process of getting divorced.

I loved Kent. He was tough, a bully and far too smart to be such a crumb-bum at times, but one of the most interesting people I have ever met. We talked or argued almost daily for four years while he was in uniform, and I’m not sure that could happen today.

There are too many restrictive guidelines now, so many more people willing to throw up walls around sports figures to protect them from being challenged.

LSU Coach Brian Kelly, the former Notre Dame coach, lost his first game. At his weekly press conference following the game, he teased/criticized reporters for arriving late.

Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Leah Vann spoke up and told Kelly, “Maybe if you win I’ll be on time.”

Someone emailed the reporter to say, “If you worked for me you would be fired. Could you be more unprofessional?”

The reporter later apologized, getting it all wrong. That’s a chance for readers to get to know Kelly, and for that matter the reporter. She was being chastised for having a doctor’s appointment and showing up late to hear a football coach probably say nothing all that revealing or memorable.

We have lost all sense of who is important and what is important, a football coach now being paid oodles of money to leave Notre Dame and become gawd-like at LSU. We’ve always had sacred cows in sports, but every one of them is just a human being being confronted by another.

We need reporters to stand toe-to-toe with guys who can score 50 points a game, and challenge them if they say stupid, or unbelievable or arrogant things at times.

To Kelly’s credit he joked with the Baton Rouge reporter and a week later showed up late for his news conference and fined himself $10. That was more revealing than anything he could have said at the podium, and kudos to the reporter who was more than just a stenographer.

I will grant you that reporters are no longer as important as they might have been, a long list of former athletes now working on TV and in radio to pass along their expertise

. But if I want to know more about Mike Trout and his wonderful baseball talent, I’m going to have to wait for one of those ESPN retrospectives. Or return to work and go on the road with the Angels solely to determine what makes Trout so incredible.

Nine years later — just here to help

By T.J. Simers

Patrick Soon-Shiong refused comment to the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper he owns, and I just love that.

It’s been reported that Soon-Shiong is exploring the opportunity to buy the Los Angeles Angels, the baseball team his newspaper doesn’t cover with any consistency, and I just love that.

If I can figure out something else to write, I can be annoyingly repetitive like Bill Plaschke, and I just love that.

The Angels are expected to be sold for more than $2 billion, and I’m happy to report that the Times’ Bill Shaikin says Soon-Shiong has about $6.9 billion, which should be plenty for the Angeles and me.

That’s right, if Charles can take on the duties of the king at age 73, and both Biden and Trump are older than I am, why shouldn’t I return as Page 2 columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

The Times’ rep has already paid more than $1.2 million into an escrow account for my lawyers and myself, and as soon as they hand over the remaining $3 million or so they owe us, I can return to work.

I’m not sure who I should call to find out what days I will be writing or what games I will be attending, but as boring as the sports section has become, I’d like to try and spice it up.

I recognize one problem, there is no Page 2 anymore. When the space is offered as part of its enewspaper, sometimes it is page 27 or so. When the printed newspaper is delivered home, it’s the last page of the California section, like B10. There are also days when it begins its own section, D1.

When it runs online, sometimes the column runs there, but they wait a day before putting it in the newspaper.

It’s really a ramshackle operation, certainly not designed to help Times’ readers, and you might be wondering why I would like to return at age 72. Well, that’s what bothers me. I’m still going strong without blood pressure medication and there is a void on the second page of the sports section. I think I can offer the experience needed to get more out of the Lakers. I think I can offer more than Westbrook, and are you going to argue with me?

Dave Roberts is going to need help as the Series approaches, and it’s a good bet USC or UCLA are going to need a good spanking down the road.

The readers of the Times deserve a muckraker, troll or whatever you want to call it, but as wretched as the Times tried to portray me in court, the newspaper never fired me. In fact, as court testimony shows the newspaper tried to give me my Page 2 column back, but I just didn’t trust the editors.

The Times later agreed, firing both of those editors, but rather than wait for one of Patrick’s lieutenants to call me, I thought I’d let the newspaper know I’ll be asking for my old job back.

I wonder if Soon-Shiong will offer comment on that.

I’m serious. As soon as Alden Capital, the hedge fund paying the Times’ legal obligations pays me, I’ll be willing to return to the Times. My problem was never with the newspaper, just the editors and I recognize that Soon-Shiong saved the newspaper and now wants to do the same with the Angels.

I can suck up if that’s what is required to return. At least for awhile.

It’s been more than nine years since I wrote for the newspaper, and I noticed they hired a guy to fill Page 2 or whatever they called it a few years back, but it didn’t work out. He just couldn’t write.

Minor detail given some of the newspaper’s other hirings, but that’s why I love Shaikin’s report. He’s one of the very best, and on occasion the Times still employs the very best.

The Times’ sports section, though, has put a lot of effort in going soft the past few years, a Lakers’ beat reporter dedicated to flattering the Lakers’ front office so they will take his calls. I hate to see stuff like that, knowing people pay money to get the straight scoop from the newspaper.

But I also know Soon-Shiong is a minority owner of the Lakers, and I hope I don’t find out he’s behind the house organ the Times now has covering the Lakers.

I guess I could keep my lawyers on retainer.

That’s something we’ll probably have to discuss before I formally return.

Plaschke wants Dodgers to stop winning

By T.J. Simers

Would you want LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke to manage your baseball team?

The Dodgers have won 86 games all by themselves, are in no danger of missing the playoffs and Plaschke wants them to stop winning because he knows better.

“Bench the starters,” he writes.

In journalism terms we call these kinds of columns, hogwash.

You win too much, Plaschke writes, and that will ultimately make you a loser. I don’t think it was a humor column, but I laughed.

Now I’m used to seeing inane Bill Plaschke columns. This is what happens when Plaschke can’t find a punter who is missing a leg to write a tearjerker.

I know he’s an award-winning ambulance chaser, ah, I mean columnist. No one hits the keys on their laptop harder than Plaschke when he gets the chance to wax poetic.

When everyone else heard about the Paradise fire they expressed their dismay and empathy from afar for those impacted. Plaschke turned it into columns, a book and a movie. Kudos for his work ethic and enterprise.

Someone told Bill Dwyre, the former sports editor of the LA Times, recently that Plaschke will probably write Dwyre’s obit someday, and I thought for a minute there I was going to have to call Paschke and tell him to start writing.

There’s no question Plaschke is a talented writer, the best the Times has, but going over the top is also his specialty. And if you know Dwyre, the kid from Sheboygan who married the girl across the street 50-some years ago, there’s no over-the-top for him dead or alive.

And yet Dwyre hired Plaschke as columnist. Dwyre loved Jim Murray, well, adored Jim Murray. And he saw something in Plaschke, and the Times has been better for it. As bad as the Times’ sports section is most days, I’d have Plaschke writing every day.

Plaschke will usually begin his columns by rewriting the same thought three times: “It was deafening. It was discordant. It was perfect,'” he wrote to begin a recent Dodgers’ column. It works for him, making him the Murray of his era.

But I often wondered if Plaschke thought LA Times’ readers were slow, repeating things as often as he does in his writings. I’m sure it’s just a technique, but as good as he is at doing it, he’s never learned how to lay off what he doesn’t know.

Plaschke telling the Dodgers at this point of the season how they should go about winning or losing games is idiotic. He begins his online LA Times’ column by telling the Dodgers to “chill.”

He writes that it “feels weird issuing this plea to a baseball team bullying its way toward historic ground, but, sorry, somebody has to say it.”

Why? Because he needed a Thursday morning column online, which probably means it will run in the Friday newspaper? What a treat for subscribers.

“Hey, dominant Dodgers playing well enough to approach records for both franchise and major league wins? Don’t push it,” he continues, and I can just see Mookie Betts telling Chris Taylor to stop swinging so hard.

Maybe Clayton Kershaw should start throwing with his right arm to save the left for the playoffs.

Plaschke might be an award winner, but this is dribble.

He weighs in on who should be the team’s closer suggesting the Dodgers might want to cross their fingers. I’m pretty sure that’s how the Yankees used to win.

He also mentioned a mass tryout for a closer, unaware apparently a closer’s effectiveness is judged by how consistent he is rather than how he might do in a tryout.

Then he gets to the rotation, clearly running out of things to write because how many times can you tell the Dodgers to just stop winning so many games?

Please stop.

I feel I can say that to an award-winning columnist as much as Plaschke can tell the Dodgers what to do the rest of the season.

Just chill.

Dodgers Humiliate Bow-Wow Padres

By T.J. Simers

There was a time when I routinely referred to the Dodgers as the Choking Dogs, and to their faces.

Those were the days of Jeff Kent and I couldn’t even get him to bite in dispute. I miss Manny and I’m not talking Machado.

It wasn’t like the Dogs could argue, every season something going wrong down the stretch and the Choking Dogs would be eliminated. On a much smaller scale, tiny scale really, the same can now be said about the bow-wow Padres after this past weekend.

I lived and worked down there for several years and understand the city’s small-town mentality and it’s adoring small-town media. Lincoln, Nebraska comes to mind.

It’s too bad the Angels don’t hail from San Diego; they’d fit right in. Arte Moreno is the perfect small-town loser.

Times’ columnist Dylan Hernandez referred to the Padres Monday as the “visitors from Port Loser.” T-shirts to go on sale soon.

Don’t you feel sorry for those poor people, NBA, NFL and NHL fans having nothing but someone else’s favorite sons to cheer on. I covered the Chargers for seven seasons, the highlight Jim McMahon blowing his nose and Dan Henning going 7-27 in games decided by seven or fewer points.

I moved to L.A. to write about the pros, the Trojans not disappointing.

As excited as beleaguered Padres’ fans were about the acquisition of better mercenaries, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts said he could sense “as much optimism as they’ve had in their organization’s history.”

Roberts lives in San Diego during the offseason, presumably to get away from professional sports, so he understood how this past weekend was such a big deal for sports fans down there who really have nothing but the weather to crow about.

Now they can make plans to see a Gulls’ game. Oh boy.

The Spanos Goofs had left those folks down south beaten and ripped off, leaving only the Padres to bring them some relief and hope. Maybe next season, but I doubt it.

The Choking Dogs, meanwhile, appear dominant and off the leash. They will be facing some formidable foe in the playoffs, but were the Padres considered formidable?

I’d like to say all it took was a hedge fund to own the team for the turnaround, but a hedge fund has been the absolute curse of newspapers around the country, so let’s just say the Dodgers are no longer owned by Frank McCourt.

Dodgers’ ownership has spent the buck to be the very best, and what more could a fan want? Who needs Trevor Bauer? I guess that’s my way of giving the Dodgers credit for being perennial contenders, although I remain slow in embracing the stockpile of talent. Are they really this good?

I wouldn’t ask the Padres right now.