Dodger Owner Didn’t Spend $ in Offseason to Buy …

By T.J. Simers

How do you know when someone has more money than they know what to do with?

That’s an easy one; they buy a woman’s hockey league.

Mark Walter, the controlling owner of the Dodgers and I suppose the guy wo approved the Dodgers save their money this past offseason rather than improve, is reportedly the driving force behind the new waste of time.

She’s been partnered with Billie Jean King so we will all think this is a good thing. But as much as I like King, I would remind you King wasted her time for years trying to drum up interest in World Team Tennis.

Too early to tell who will get the best women’s hockey player yet because nobody knows, or cares, save the Times’ Helene Elliott and she didn’t mention anyone in Saturday morning’s newspaper.

The Times is very excited about the new women’s hockey league because Elliott will be busy covering it, thereby saving the rest of us from her writing about the Dodgers or Lakers.

As for Walter, the man who allowed former Dodger owner Frank McCourt to maintain control of the Dodgers’ parking lots as part of the deal to buy the team, he’s bringing along Dodger team president Stan Kasten as president of the board overseeing hockey because he’s an experienced blowhard.

I’d tell you the nonsense Kasten told Elliott but I couldn’t get that far in Elliott’s column.

I know it’s nonsense because I’ve heard Kasten talk.

As for the women’s hockey league, the Times has already announced as of July 10 it will no longer provide coverage of the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Kings and anyone else playing after 3 p.m. each day.

Look for a lot of morning faceoffs for the new hockey league.

You couldn’t pay me enough.

Times lays off copy editors so writer can go to London

By T.J.Simers

The LA Times is now playing owner Patrick Soon-Shiong for a clueless dope.

Bad enough that sports writer Kevin Baxter flies everywhere, including Uganda, to write about soccer, but then he writes about soccer.

Now we get our favorite writer in the Times, Culture Critic Tyler R. Tynes going to London to write Thierry Henry.

Who? All the way to London and the newspaper won’t cover Ohtani and Trout in Oakland.

Garbage. No use pretending anymore. It’s just plain garbage, our Culture Critic writing paragraphs that are longer than Baxter’s mush.

Our Culture Critic proclaims that he got to see Henry naked, which explains why Soon-Shiong paid to have him fly to London.

You would think someone who gets an invite to see him naked would get an insight into who he is interviewing. But in the five stories now that Tyler R. Tynes has written for the Times in the past eight months there hasn’t been a whiff of insight.

I’m still shocked. The Times laid off 74 employees last week while the sports culture critic was probably munching on biscuits and having a pint while trying to organize his Henry notes into a cogent story. Not everything always works out in a pub.

How do you justify 74 exits with a flight to London to write about a guy begging for a job as manager?

Patrick, Patrick, you aren’t paying attention to your product. Who spends millions and millions and then doesn’t care how it impacts his reputation: Patrick Soon-Shiong!

You might be doing wonderful work in the lab, but you suck so far as newspaper owner.

You sent a guy who can’t write all the way to London to demonstrate he can’t write. This is a guy, who was recommended by your editor Kevin Merida, which makes his journalism judgment suspect.

We’re told in Tynes overwritten piece, that Thierry Henry was the American equivalent to Kobe Bryant. Everyone in the world knew Kobe. Come to Yorba Linda, no one has heard of Henry or they will soon be asked to move.

From what I could tell in treading through all the big words and hyped copy, Henry hasn’t played in 10 years. And that’s what you paid for, Patrick, a guy who has been retired. He’s a broadcaster.

No one reads your newspaper in Orange County but there would be more interest in Angels’ broadcaster Mark Gubicza.

Did I mention how bad the writing is? Tynes, our Culture Critic, tells us: “He was as fly as a Frenchman could be, faster than any man in the world who dared to share the pitch with him; perhaps more marvelous than any Black man with the ball I have ever seen.”

Perhaps, but I don’t know about being as fly as any Frenchmen.

Did you know Henry was born in Les Ulis? Yeah, I didn’t care either.

He was born to Antoine and Maryse, in “les quartiers difficiles,” Tynes writes. I finally understand why he’s our Culture writer.

The story goes on and on because if you’re going to play Soon-Shiong for a sap who is paying all the bills you have to give him something, like lots and lots of words.

If you use that many words you probably need help from a copy editor. I wonder if the Times has any left.

Why isn’t Plaschke calling for U.S. Open boycott here?

By T.J. Simers

Gee whiz golly gee, golf went where the money is.

Who cares? All this hand-wringing about who gives Jordan Speith millions is unbelievable. People must really be starved looking for a controversy to comment on.

Most of us don’t give a care about golf beyond the Masters, the U.S. Open and maybe the Ryder Cup. I know I can’t take much more of Jim Nantz.

Our resident knee-jerk reactionary, Bill Plaschke from the Los Angeles Times, stepped right up to the tee; “The next time you spend a Sunday curled up on the couch watching the dramatic end of a PGA Tour event…”

As Wednesday morning laughs go, that would be the first time. Come on, can you picture Plaschke curled up on the couch living and dying with a Sunday golf finish?

That would explain why he doesn’t cover the Dodgers and Angels more, but come on, that’s like the sound of gunshots he hears when covering an inner city football practice.

Plaschke’s point is the finish to these golf tournaments will “have been bought by a country with no free speech, no religious freedom and a history of discriminating against women.”

I’m sorry, but there are so many injustices in the world, I can’t keep track any more. There are starving children in this country probably not far from the local country club. Who made sports writers today’s crusders?

Plaschke says this is happening to a sport that we “knew and loved.”

Huh? It’s OK, but I would rather watch a football game on Sunday.

I’ve been to lots of golf tournaments, interviewed the very best and the name Jamal Khashoggi never came up. That would be my fault, of course, but am I supposed to apologize for wearing blinders when I watch sports?

They are an escape, and out of my hands, the only men’s golf we’ll be watching from now on will be the combined efforts of the PGA and LIV. If you believe anything Plaschke has written, every golf tournament from this date on should be boycotted.

Let’s see Plaschke call for a boycott of the U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club beginning Monday. In the name of Khashoggi, Plaschke, show some courage.

Does he cover the tournament? Does he write about Khashoggi, asking golfers if they are upset about taking tainted money? Of course he does.

But does he eventually write about the winner, making himself look more like a hypocrite?

There is so much talk here about hypocrisy from sports writers. They are out of their league. In this case the word is being used to explain a complex world in simplistic terms. Didn’t we just finish up a World Cup in Qatar, a country allegedly violating human rights?

The Times sent a reporter to Qatar who wrote a million words like soccer is important.

Golfers are mercenaries, always have been and apparently will be. Their job is to chase the money or they don’t make any, the sponsorships coming after they have won.

Some of them were being paid with tainted money; now they all will be and within a matter of weeks none of them will care where any of it came from. Mercenaries don’t sweat the details; tournament organizers do and it seems hard for sports writers to grasp the concept.

“This merger,” continues Plaschke like someone who really does need his blankie, “feels like a missed two-foot putt.”

My friends don’t make me make two-foot putts.

I think I understand now why he’s so upset.

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.

Soon-Shiong Throwing Away His Money

By T.J. Simers

Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,

You seem so clueless, but I can’t believe someone who is trying to cure cancer would be like that.

You own the LA Times and aren’t you embarrassed? Has it really been a life-long goal to own a dull product that interests so few?

And now this. Are you aware how foolishly your people at the newspaper are spending your money?

Your soccer writer was in Uganda this week writing about an anti-homosexual law that had nothing to do with soccer. Therefore, it might have a chance to be read..

“Uganda may impose some of the world’s strictest anti-gay measures: ‘You’re fearing for your life,’ “”said a small headline atop the story that I saw.

He’s also going to write about a catcher who throws bricks, and blocks tires with hopes to make it in the Major Leagues. I know this because the Peninsula Press wrote a long profile about your soccer writer, Kevin Baxter, and informed everyone what he had planned for his LA Times’ audience in the coming days.

“He is seeking out the riveting story of a promising baseball talent who has been sharing his skills on YouTube,” wrote Alex Dakers for the Peninsula publication.

Riveting? We’ll see, Patrick, won’t we for all that you are spending.

I don’t have any sources inside your newspaper anymore, I know, hard to believe, but someone did say you were also paying to send a photographer, Wally Skalij, to Uganda. I know Wally. One of my lawyers demonstrated how he didn’t tell the truth during my trial to sue the Times. Remember, I wasn’t suing you.

But I would check his expenses when he turns them in.

. You’ve got a sports editor at the Times, Iliano Romero, spending like she’s on a shopping spree, which is funny because she won’t send a writer on the road with the Angels. The team has two of the biggest stars in the game in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Can’t wait to read the AP wire story on Ohtani when he pitches a perfect game.

PATRICK, people will hold the Times in higher regard if you give them something no one else can deliver. That might mean hiring more seasoned professionals to write,; just don’t let anyone go to Uganda and you will be rich again.

Your sports editor also had someone covering the NCAA Gymnastics Championships in Ft. Worth. Meals, hotel room, airline tickets. In the business this is known as throwing money away.

The newspaper covers horse racing now with a guy living in Florida.

I don’t think she was sending a writer on the road with the Kings and Ducks, but I don’t read those stories enough to know if that’s true.

Why gymnastics? You might want to ask your sports editor. The Times now measures the number of hits or readers who look at the stories they publish. USC, and the Lakers top the list, and shockingly gymnastics is high up, too.

Hard to explain unless gymnastics does well with the perv crowd who like to watch young girls perform in leotards. That might explain why the newspaper ran four pictures with the gymnastics coverage.

Or, maybe it’s a circulation push, the perv market wide open for the most part Kudos then to your sports editor.

PATRICK, this is happening on your watch. We talked last week, well I talked, about the sports columnist you have been paying the last six months who has written once so far. You sure are generous.

But I think you need to start paying some more attention to your newspaper and the folks who still read it. Don’t go down in history as a guy who had no clue.

With regard, tj

Help wanted: LA Times in need of female columnist …who can write

By T.J. Simers

One person’s garbage is another’s treasure, someone said in trying to explain why Helene Elliott is allowed to write a sports column in the LA Times.

OK, I get that. We used to say that the really crummy columnists would appear in the back of the newspaper with the tire ads. But now newspapers don’t attract that many ads, but still have crummy columnists. And the Times’ sports section is so small the back is almost the front.

When I wrote I was put on Page 2, no one ever dreaming it could be worthy of Page 1.

Now it’s bad enough Elliott is crummy, but she’s a hoarder as well. She was writing Wednesday in the Times about the only woman ever to play for an NHL team, keeping it in her column writing memory bank for almost 30 years.

It was a forgettable story 30 years ago, Canadian Manon Rheaume playing the second period in goal for the Tampa Lightning in an exhibition game. By LA relevancy and NHL standards, she never existed, just like all the NFL guys who play in exhibition games and are cut before making the team.

But we get Elliott writing about her 30 years later as if it matters, and on the front page of the LA Times sports section.

Now I know the LA Times has a female sports editor and there has been a push to display more women’s sports in the newspaper, and I know Helene Elliott is a columnist usually writing about things readers don’t care about, but when these two get together, yuck.

What’s the importance of this story, well, Elliott tells us in a paragraph: ”It’s not that teams and leagues are becoming ‘woke.’ They’ve belatedly realized admitting women into their stale, restricted old boys’ club adds knowledge, perspective and experiences that can invigorate the sport.”

Hogwash. Stale restricted old boys club? I know Elliott’s columns read like that, but 30 later after Manon Rheaume’s brief appearance in exhibition play, nothing has changed. Women still don’t play in the NHL.

And there’s no clamor for more women in hockey. Nothing wrong with it, but how ridiculous to make more out of it than a team just hiring a qualified candidate to fill a vacancy.

Elliott is supposed to be knowledgeable. She’s in the hockey hall of fame, I presume because of her writing but then that goes to show you the quality of writers covering the NHL.

She’s a boring columnist, who was trying to prove a point in Wednesday’s newspaper. I have no idea what that point was beyond referring to the NHL as a stale restricted old boys club, but if she’s trying to make the case the NHL needs more women, double hogwash.

If it was just a training camp feature, it was lame and the sports editor should have buried it inside.

We can agree, disagree or not care, I for one falling in the latter category. Go ahead and load up the front office with women. The Times ran a big picture of Rheaume taken in February on the front of sports Wednesday because she’s nice to look at. Maybe hockey needs cheerleaders.

Maybe hockey is just trying to impress its fan base, or the media that keeps tabs of such things.

I suspect most people only care what’s going on the ice, and like the NFL, there are no females playing the game.

We all like circus stories, a newspaper a great place to tell them, but Elliott’s hockey player performed almost 30 years ago and by most accounts it wasn’t that memorable.

She’s now in the player development department, and I’m sure she has a lot of riveting player development department stories to tell. Didn’t get any in this Elliott column, but maybe Part 2 is coming tomorrow.

I hear it all the time how reporters have agendas, and I always say the same thing: Most writers are just trying to meet a deadline and are making no attempt to push an agenda.

But this was an agenda column, the female sports editor showcasing it, written by the female sports columnist pandering to female readers by presenting a female hockey player who never played in an NHL game. I’m sure, “Let’s get more women stories in the sports section,” is a newspaper mantra. And one not usually to be argued.

However, this just wasn’t a good, interesting column, ending like it started in going nowhere: “Because she said no to those who doubted her so many years ago, other women have had the opportunity to say yes to significant roles in a game that can’t be for everyone if it doesn’t let everyone have a say in its present and its future.”

WHAT? That’s 47 words of gibberish.

Sometimes one person’s garbage is just garbage.

Plaschke needs to write more, gush more about USC

By T.J. Simers

I have called for an investigation via Twitter, and once the Russian bots, or whatever is insidious about Twitter get ahold of that, look out.

The Los Angeles Times has a problem: Kevin Baxter.

He is the newspaper’s designated soccer writer, which should mean he seldom is allowed to write.

But I’m not sure there is day when he is not featured in the sports pages, today a full page on the Galaxy and yesterday a story on curling from Oakland.

What does Baxter have on the editors?

I know hm, but not well enough or interested enough to say hi.

I sat next to him in the Times’ sports department, but we didn’t talk; he covered soccer. He is not considered one of the sports section’s better writers, and that is troubling because there aren’t many better writers left in the Times’ sports section.

Maybe he’s not considered a good writer because he writes about soccer and no paper would have one of their better writers covering soccer. Or curling.

The same holds true for the Angels, the Times’ believing no one reads about the Angels so why put anyone who can write on the beat, and they haven’t.

Baxter, though, has a grip on the Times’ sports editor. I blame Dwyre for that. He stepped down as one of the nation’s top sports editors to have a love affair with Zenyatta as a columnist. I remember what his wife said at the time: “I don’t care.”

They have gone through a number of sports editors since Dwyre and I don’t know much about the new one except she approved Baxter writing about curling from Oakland. Dwyre approved of hiring J.A. Adande as a columnist, so he didn’t always know what he was doing, but he had far more hits than misses.

Baxter now gets whatever he wants into the newspaper, and I surmised in a tweet that this works to the newspaper’s benefit because the Times wants to get rid of its print section. It’s too costly to produce, a better chance to make money if the newspaper is only on online.

By putting Baxter into the newspaper every day, I’m sure the thinking is the readers won’t be able to stomach it and flee. I did. I cancelled my print subscription recently because the editors were successful on showing to me there wasn’t much there.

I get maybe two Plaschke columns a week for yucks, one Hernandez column a week because he apparently doesn’t like to write and Elliott dribble from the U.S. Open every day.

I lived through Sam Farmer’s yawner on a raven flying over Wimbledon, which only goes to show you the newspaper has a tennis-writing problem.

You put Farmer’s tennis stuff in the newspaper, along with Elliott’s and then mix in Baxter and Los Angeles collectively nods off. I’m beginning to understand why Plaschke has gone so far over the top gushing about USC’s football team.

No one better at being outrageous than Plaschke, which is a much-needed wake up call for the newspaper’s remaining readers. Given all the glory teams of old at USC under Pete Carroll, John Robinson and John McKay, Plaschke has seen enough from wins over Rice and Stanford to know this is a national championship team beyond anything we have seen.

Now I like that. That’s a reason to still buy the Times, Plaschke willing to make a fool of himself and we can follow his journey through the USC season.

He just doesn’t write often enough. I would suggest the editors take away space from Farmer, Elliott and by all means Baxter and throw in Woike, the guy who will be slobbering over the Lakers’ front office, and let’s have Plaschke write a USC daily diary on its march to predicted glory.

We know it will be a positive story until USC plays Utah, the buildup monumental if written by a gushing Plaschke, and should USC stumble, he’ll trash the Trojans.

It’s a win-win, getting Farmer, Elliott, Baxter and Woike out of the newspaper the rest of the football season, or watching Plaschke take out his prediction embarrassment on USC.

Now that’s good newspapering, so I know the Times won’t do it.

Poor, poor parents who have kids playing soccer

By T.J. Simers

The grandkids were in from Arizona because one of them had a soccer match in Irvine. If only I could have had a dental appointment out of town.

Soccer is the worst thing that has happened to parents since Chuck E. Cheese.

Our little darling played three soccer matches and her team had one goal. I think. The field is so big, and I’m told it was scored at the other end.

I couldn’t even tell you for sure which one of the three girls sitting on the bench across the field was our kin. If you are benched in soccer you have to be really crummy as I was telling our granddaughter who was born in the wrong month as her parents were explaining to me.

It’s something about being born in December and you are the youngest, which makes every other girl older and bigger, so they have driven from Arizona to watch their kid sit on the bench and are OK with it. That’s what happens when you don’t plan a pregnancy and just leave it to the whims of the Grocery Store Bagger.

Those whims drove me worried as a father until the Bagger married the daughter and then I was cheering him on not knowing it might lead me one day to watching a soccer game. Had he just waited six months, she wouldn’t be on the bench.

If you are going to play club sports those are the kind of things you need to think about.

As far as being a spectator, it was freezing for one match, blistering hot for another. Parents have to schlepp chairs, tents, and coolers to far away fields while noting the bathrooms are a long walk away and there is the fear of missing something, but it’s soccer so they will miss nothing.

This is club soccer so it’s more arrogant and important than just soccer, hundreds of 12-year-olds running around like it’s going to get them somewhere and gawd it’s boring.

But you have to tell your little darlin, “You were great, kid, running all around the field and I think I saw you kick the ball once and that was great. You’ll tell me, won’t you if you ever score?”

The Times had a story Monday on some kid playing for the Angels, blowing up a quote from the kid’s mother: “I think the whole city of Yorba Linda knows about Ryan (Aguilar) right now.”

I live in Yorba Linda; never heard of him. But I’m happy for his mother who probably went to hundreds and hundreds of Little League games, high school games, club games and it all paid off.

That’s the only good thing about not having a boy. I had two girls, four granddaughters, but I never had to sit through a six- or seven-inning Little League game.

I have two granddaughters playing basketball, time coming off the clock and constant action. I don’t have to man the snack bar, dress for polar conditions or worry about our boy crying because he wants a Freddie Freeman glove and that’s what Freddie would do.

I know our girls aren’t going to dream of being WNBA players one day because like everyone else they have no desire to even go to a game. If they were boys hitting baseballs off a tee, their father would be dreaming of the day they go play for the Dodgers.

One of the basketball players sat there miserable watching her sister play soccer while wondering why her parents had a December baby when her mother told her to take the baby of the family to the bathroom a million miles away.

. She stood up in a huff like teenagers do, said a very bad word and started to storm off before her father lit into her.

Now I understand why they sit away from all the families at one end of the field.

I’m not sure if the baby of the family heard the foul language, but she did witness her older sister getting scolded by her father at a soccer game, and I’m kind of hoping it scars her.

The little one will be making a choice between soccer and basketball very soon.

So, here’s hoping when the teenager stalked off, she told the baby of the family what she had said and made the point of saying this would never happen at a basketball game.

Sorry, Thuc is a Woman

By T.J. Simers

I wrote about the WNBA last week figuring no one reads blogs.

I’m embarrassed to say I had it wrong, receiving a tweet less than five minutes later—from a L.A. Times reporter.

Ben Bolch tweeted to say I slandered LA Times’ reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen.

Now I used to get these crank emails all the time when I was a columnist for the Times. You know, these people live among you. Even Times’ reporters.

Ben was really upset because I called Thuc a male, when he is a she. That’s funny, because all the Thucs I have known in my life have been males.

I was a little surprised he didn’t try to defend her and make the case she wasn’t a terrible reporter, but you have only so many characters when you tweet.

I immediately replied to Ben in a tweet and apologized to Thuc for not knowing who she was; she’s probably never heard of me and could have made the same mistake given the T.J. initials. I appreciate the fact she had Ben reply for her.

The mistake should never have happened. I should have known the Times would take a sexist approach and have Thuc covering the Sparks.

But I thought the point of the blog had more to do with Thuc’s reporting job on the Sparks and how horrible it had been rather than her sex. Let’s face it, Ben should have given her some help if the Times’ editors don’t care about the final newspaper product.

The editors could have saved her; that’s their jobs. We’re still waiting to learn why one of the league’s former MVPs just abruptly quit.

Too many holes in a story are just part of the learning process. This happens to young reporters all the time, and I hope I’m not making another booboo and guessing Thuc is young because if she’s old and has the Sparks for a beat she should quit the business.

I thought that would be the end of it, nobody caring about the WNBA or whatever Thuc wrote about it. But Ben tweeted again, making this the most tweeted story I have ever written to say: “Her name is Thuc Nhi, and I am proud to call her my co-worker.”

That hurt deeply. Nine years ago I was Ben’s co-worker when the two Times’ editors, who were later fired, slandered my work. Never got a call from Ben. Never heard that Ben went after Times’ management. Never heard from Ben to hear how I was doing. Didn’t see him in court wishing me well. Nothing from Ben.

I don’t know if it was a male-female thing. I know Thuc has tweeted praising Ben’s work, and I never found reason to do that. I don’t know if Ben treats females differently than males, but this is all I have to go on.

I guess I will just have to take a closer look at what he does, whatever that might be.

Shabby Sparks Coverage; I Know, Who Cares?

By T.J. Simers

I apologize for writing about women’s basketball.

The Los Angeles Times sports pages have been doing that a lot lately, but I understand why. The Times is motivated to put its sports pages out of business and drive readers online. No better way than to offer silly stories in the newspaper on subjects that readers might ignore

That would explain Sam Farmer’s coverage from Wimbledon and the British Open.

On Wednesday the newspaper tried to make hard news out of a Sparks player leaving abruptly.

I could see a story about the fans leaving the Sparks abruptly but why would a four-time All-Star center do so?

Well, the LA Times could not provide that answer. They offered a lot of guesses, but couldn’t get to the bottom of Liz Cambage’s decision to announce a “contract divorce.”

A what? Does she get half of the Sparks in the split? Contract divorce is a new one to me, but lit I guess.

I actually read the story by Thuc Nhi Nguyen, and it was gibberish, and every reason why the Times has declined as a newspaper of record. Thuc left the Sparks off the hook, failing to report what really happened between the Sparks and Cambage.

I have seen Thuc’s byline atop a number of Sparks’ stories, so he must know the front office, head coach and other players. He wrote the story, though, like he knew no one and the reader suffers because of that.

The reason the newspaper is delivered is to give readers the inside story. If you have noticed, most Times’ stories these days stretch to almost 100 inches. That’s a lot of words to say nothing.

They just sent a reporter to Florida to write about three Chargers’ players who happened to be from Florida. Fascinating. The Times made it a three-part series with a million words. They were clearly trying to turn their readers off, something they have been doing for the last decade.

But I read the women’s basketball story, the pain overwhelming, but desperate to learn why an All-Star just suddenly quit.

The Times put the story on the first sports page below a picture of Peyton Manning and Patrick Mahomes getting pelted by thousands of superballs falling from an overhead plane.

Hey, it was a Sam Farmer story.

Now as I got to the fifth paragraph of Thuc’s story after looking at the picture of Mahomes to make sure he hadn’t been hurt, the head coach of the Sparks was quoted as saying nothing.

“Once a person gives you that verbally what she wants, you have to listen because it could be something else, could be something that’s not related to basketball.”

Where are the editors at the Times? How do they let something like that creep into the sports pages without asking Thuc, “Yeah, “But why did she leave abruptly?”

I would imagine Thuc is a young reporter, and so his editors should be helping him. If he’s old, he should quit if his job is covering the Sparks.

Now as the only reader to stick with the story as it jumped inside the sports section, that’s where we get into the BS.

“We want what’s best for Liz …” said the team’s managing partner in a press release. Come on, every team wants what is best for itself before moving on to the next player like a cat owner moves on to the next pet after their furball gets run over.

Thuc reports that the Sparks head coach later “hinted” what might be wrong with Cambage, and what does that mean? Did he give Thuc three chances to guess what she was hinting?

Thuc reported that the Sparks only made the head coach available to talk to the media, which is a sure sign something funky is going on here. Where’s Thuc? It’s his job to talk to everyone who doesn’t want to talk.

Maybe Cambage struggled mentally to contend with things, which has become a headline recently around sports, and that would be troubling. But I can’t imagine anyone receiving that news being anything but empathetic.

Thuc wrote this wasn’t the first time Cambage “has ditched a team suddenly.” Having used the word, “ditched,” I can’t imagine Thuc doing that with someone he knows to be emotionally troubled. He should know what’s going on but maybe he doesn’t.

Cambage was a former WNBA MVP, and the Sparks are on the edge of the playoffs. I would imagine Sparks fans would be interested in what caused her to abruptly leave.

They couldn’t find it in the Times.