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One of the more insulting columns you’ll read this season

Mar 22, 2011, 11:29 AM EST

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Getty Images

T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times has a shtick. He’s used it over and over again.  It’s this: insult, bait and pester a given Dodgers or Angels player and hope against hope that they’ll spout off in anger so that he can print a juicy quote and follow it up with his “man, what’s his problem?” rebop.  Even better, they say nothing, so he can call the guy standoffish or aloof or whatever.  I think Simers has his charms at times, but this bit is tired and offensive and has been for years.

But at least most of the time he uses it against a big star like Manny Ramirez or Torii Hunter who, while it’s no more fair to them, is at least something their time in the spotlight has conditioned them to handle. What gives with today’s broadside against Marcus Thames, though? Simers starts off by calling him a no-name and a head case. He makes fun of his surname. He calls him a stiff. And that was before he had even spoken with him. This was how Simers introduced himself, referring to Thames’ limited playing time over the years:

“Are you that horrible on defense that teams don’t think it’s worth playing such a home run threat?” I asked by way of introduction.

And it just goes on and on like that, with Simers ripping Thames — who wisely smiled politely but did not respond to the bait — and then ripping Don Mattingly who tried to explain to Simers that, you know, Thames is on the team for his bat and that he’s a platoon player. Simers’ response:

So now we understand the Dodgers have a guy in left who can’t catch, can’t hit right-handed pitchers and can’t answer questions about his obvious shortcomings.

And team P.R. people are worried about allowing bloggers to have press passes because of concerns about decorum? Mercy.

Attention Los Angeles Times sports page: I was concerned that you’d never do anything to bring more embarrassment upon yourself than to feature Bleacher Report boobie slideshows next to the content of your paid writing staff, but at the moment I’m struggling to see how continuing to allow Simers to pull this low-rent garbage is much better.

  1. Dan in Katonah - Mar 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Wow. I read the column and you weren’t kidding. How does this douche-nozzle have a job? Kudos to Thames for not knocking him on his ass. They should pull his credentials.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      Any chance this is a joke? There’s no way someone could write that article and be serious, could they?

      Or as TCM put it on twitter:
      “The LA Times should be ashmaed of the fucking hack that is TJ Simers. Would he get to write more if he wasn’t such an unpleasant dickwad?”

      • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Hey, thanks Church! Although, you did catch me in one of my more uncensored moments. Ahem.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Anytime, and don’t apologize as the language was fully justified.

    • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      There’s no hyphen in “douchenozzle.” Didn’t you ever go to reform school?

  2. PastyRasta - Mar 22, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    What’s ironic is that the Dodgers are one of if not the most blogger friendly organizations in MLB. I am a lifelong Dodger fan and had the audacity to email Simers and ask him what his problem is and he actually responded to my email by just ripping me like he does in his columns. If anything he should be going after Jay Gibbons the admitted former steroid user who has been awful this spring and who has used weird excuses like wrong contact lens prescription and size. Thames has been serviceable and the Dodgers haven’t made any excuses about what they expect from him plus he’s actually hit this spring. I read the times every day and skip Simers articles cause you know they will be the same lame schtick. The Bleacher Report stuff is a joke as well I actually wrote 1 article for them and the editor changed my title and in doing so made a false claim about the team I was writing about losing 7 games in a row. TJ rips into people and in doing so actually has readers laughing at him cause he’s acting just like the people he’s ripping.

  3. jreisinger - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Simers has a complete lack of journalistic integrity.

  4. Dan in Katonah - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I figured out who he reminds me of – Morton Downey, Jr. That guy was also a bully who got off on being confrontational and creating chaos.

    • yankeesgameday - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      OMG a Morton Downey Jr reference in 2011. Someone go find Tawana Brawley and get a quote.

      • Dan in Katonah - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        Watch out or someone will throw a chair at you. Definitely reached into wayback machine for these references.

  5. manute - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Well said, Craig. This stuff is tired and lazy and betrays a lack of understanding of (or disregard for) the game. I know TJ thinks his act is cute, but it’s exactly what drives people who actually enjoy sports and good writing to alternative media.

    That said, let’s keep quiet about the boobie slideshows. Mom’s got a pretty strict filter on the wifi, so that’s about as good as it gets for me down here in the basement.

  6. marshmallowsnake - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    If I knew, in advance, that he would be in the Valley for spring training, I would hunt him down so I could call him a jack-wagon to his face! I have despised this JW for the past few years…ever since Manny went to the Dodgers and he wrote an article trashing Red Sox fans…which was probably warranted, but that is besides the point…

    The guy does this to get a rise out of people…and it works.

  7. BC - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    The Dodgers should revoke his press credentials. I mean, even the New York papers wait for someone to do something wrong, or get overpaid or whatever before they start ripping guys. Thames has done nothing wrong. And by all accounts he’s a good guy.
    T.J. Simers, you are a chipwich.

    • kinggeorge96 - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      BC, You should send him an email telling him he’s a chipwich.. maybe he’ll write a nasty article about you?

      I bet this guy doesn’t have any minions!

  8. dodger88 - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Simers = Putz

    I quite like the LA Times coverage of the Dodgers but Simers delivers zero value. I almost always skip his columns. I actually read the Thames column this morning for some unknown reason. Complete crap.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

      I think JJ Putz would disagree, and be insulted! (just kidding)

      • dodger88 - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM

        I thought of JJ Putz as I posted the comment.

  9. mattraw - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    They stay for a while, sharing the common trait of taking themselves very seriously, before they just disappear.

    Go right down the list of head cases, and I won’t even mention the name of Murray Chass. But how about Buzz Bissinger, Woody Paige, Jay Mariotti, Jon Heyman and now T.J. Simers?

    T.J. who?

    According to the LA Times’ propaganda, this no-name scribbler calls David Eckstein gritty every 2.3 columns — ranking him 27th in baseball writing history. Yowza!

    Now you would think anyone ranked 27th in baseball-writing history in anything would be a household name, but in his own newsroom no one seems quite sure how to pronounce his name.

    The Times, while gushing about his word count, instructed everyone in their propaganda to call him “Symers,” while Symers tells everyone else his name is pronounced “Simmers.”

    So I thought I might talk to Symers/Simmers on Monday. Ordinarily I don’t like to start off a week talking to stiffs, but that leaves so few writers to interview these days.

    As great a writer as the Times’ propaganda suggests, it’s odd, though, that he’s bounced around between the The San Diego Union, the Rocky Mountain News, the Morristown (N.J.) Daily Record, the Beloit (Wis.) Daily News and the Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) Press.

    Maybe it’s because he’s averaged only 2 genuine insights per column, prompting an obvious question.

    “Are you that horrible a human being that papers don’t think it’s worth paying you to insult perfectly nice bench hitters?” I asked by way of introduction.

    Maybe somebody else wastes time schmoozing with Symers/Simmers, but he’s a terrible columnist who has some explaining to do. How poorly written are your columns that fans with a brain wouldn’t dare read you?

    Symers/Simmers just smiled.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

      Bravo

    • phantomspaceman - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      There aren’t enough “thumbs up” available to express how great this is.

  10. Jonny 5 - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    LA, Where Phillies sports reporters that happen to be female get to be felt up on national television by the fans….. And Philly has the bad rap….

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      I might’ve missed that one. Who was that?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Well done

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

        Sonofa, this was supposed to be for mattraw’s comment above

  11. Brian Murphy - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Jim Murray is rolling over in his grave.

  12. PierzynskiAteMyKitten - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Thames is a class act, and it’s painful to see him attacked like this. While with the Tigers, he was always mentioned in the same sentence as Granderson as one of the truly good guys in baseball.

    Here’s my little Thames anecdote: while he was rehabbing with the Toledo Mud Hens, I saw him play my local Durham Bulls. It was a drizzly day, and I was one of the few fans in the stands, and one of even fewer to be dressed in full Tigers regalia near the Mud Hens dugout. There was another family of Tigers fans near me, including several young kids, also in full Tigers gear. Before the game, Thames came over and chatted with us for a while, and then gave the kids a boatload of gear, including a bat, balls, and batting gloves. It was by far the coolest interaction I’ve ever had with a pro baseball player.

    • nixonotis - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. For the short time he was with the Yankees, I saw nothing to suggest that he was a “head case,” and I, like you, had one very kind interaction with Marcus before a game at the stadium. I have, on numerous occasions e-mailed Simers to try and get some idea of what he was trying to accomplish with a particular column and have been berated once and ignored the rest of the time. Thank god for guys like Posnanski.

    • philriverslovespenis - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:14 PM

      Whoever ranked that thumbs down is a disgrace to humanity.

  13. dodger88 - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    My preference would be for Gwynn to play well enough to get the most at bats, but that being said I think Thames can bring value be it as part of a platoon or off the bench. I have more confidence in Thames than I do Gibbons. Here’s hoping Thames does well in whatever role he plays.

  14. yankeesgameday - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Simers must be a member of the Baseball Writers Association, no? That means this guy has a Hall of Fame vote….

    • Panda Claus - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      I was just wondering the same thing. As if the HOF needs less credibility than having clowns, err, chipwiches like this representing the sport. And like it or not, baseball writers represent the sport as much as the players do.

    • Bob Timmermann - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      LA Times writers are not allowed to vote for awards, halls of fame, or college football/basketball polls.

  15. heyblueyoustink - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    What a gutless creep…….I know reporters can be snarly and cynical, but this kind of nastiness towards a platoon player? Maybe when he finally gets bounced from this ridiculousness he’ll be reduced to having to try and make Little League pitchers cry due to their lousy velocity.

  16. cur68 - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Does El Bravo’s have him as a designated douchenozzle? IIf not, may I vote him for number 1? If yes; color me unsurpised.

  17. kinggeorge96 - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    I sent Simers an email, just to let him know he was a prick.. and he wrote me right back!

    It seems he thinks that common decency = sucking up to an athlete…

    Sorry, but I don’t think Chipwich quite describes this schmuck BC

  18. thesexyburger - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    I sent Simers an email too and all he could respond was “How was that an insulting question?”

    What a moron. I have also been emailing with Murray Chass lately about some of his horrible columns. I don’t know why I waste my time with those people.

  19. luckywi - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    And team P.R. people are worried about allowing bloggers to have press passes because of concerns about decorum? Mercy.

    Ahh, the motive comes out.

  20. genericcommenter - Mar 22, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    So, Simers’ logic is this: If Simers starts an “interview” by personally attacking a player and the player reacts in a dignified way, he is a “head case”?

    Based on his column, I’m also going to assume Kenny Lofton is a lot nicer guy than he has been portrayed.

    Over the years there have been many ballplayers who earned reputations as “not being friendly” to the media ( as if they have any obligation). Based on reading about the way a lot of baseball writers attack players, I wonder how many reputations were deserved. It’s more likely some writer had it out for them and/or was offended when a player didn’t want to be their best friend. It seems like in baseball writing more than anywhere else, the writers really want to inject themselves into the story and have some insecure need to have their lives validated by their subjects.

  21. stankfinger - Mar 22, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Simers is a piece of garbage who shouldn’t have a job. With the newspaper business the way it is hey may not have one for very long.

  22. phantomspaceman - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    While reading the article all I kept thinking was “Ok, the pronunciation of his name is not consistent…WE GET IT.”

  23. 4d3fect - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    That Simers has a job–and unbroken extremities– is, sadly, a symptom of the impending collapse of the LAT and print in general.

    Actually, that’s a good thing, I’m assuming Craig would agree.

  24. 4d3fect - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    Thames probably wisely recalled the crack (forget the source atm) that you shouldn’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the gallon.

  25. macjacmccoy - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Its all about paper sales and page views. That’s why they let it continue. They probably hate him as much as everyone else.

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