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.