(Courtesy Orange County Register)
Every major city has that one sports columnist who readers love to hate. In Boston it's Dan Shaughnessy, for Chicago it was Jay "The Rat" Mariotti, Denver has Woody Paige, New York's guy is Mike Lupica and for Los Angeles, T.J. Simers can fall into that category.
From 1990-2013, Simers was a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Thoughout the summer, Simers' fate with the Times had been up in the air, especially after a video with him, his daughter and former LA Laker Dwight Howard surfaced. For most of the summer, the Times paid Simers not to write.
He eventually signed with the Orange County Register where he will be one of five columnists who will be featured outside the newspaper's dreaded paywall. Some readers can argue that they would have preferred Simers to remain behind it. And based on Simers' first OC Register column, they could even further that argument.
Simers' first column in the Register is filled with one liners that barely hit their mark including jokes about his secret for being married for 41 years (separate TV's), his two daughters ("one married a slug," "The other daughter still needs a husband"), actress Salma Hayek ("It’s well known Salma Hayek and I have something going"), the aforementioned Dwight Howard video, and the Angels of Anaheim:
"Doctors thought I suffered a stroke in spring training when Mike Scioscia told me Joe Blanton would be in the Angels’ rotation. Turns out it was something called a complex migraine syndrome, or in technical medical terms: Blantonitis."
But the two paragraphs that bear a ring of truth are buried near the bottom of the column. Simers reveals that the Times ownership which was close to former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt ordered writers to lay off criticism of him, and according to Simers, recently ordered him to take it easy on Angels owner Arte Moreno.
"I worked at the Times a few days shy of 23 years – much too long as far as Frank McCourt and the editors were concerned.
"A few years back the Times directed its columnists to tone down criticism of McCourt, the publisher’s pal. They asked me to tone down criticism of Moreno recently; I guess it didn’t look good with all the advertising the Angels were doing on the Times’ website. I have no idea who influences news coverage in the rest of the paper."
Simers told The Big Lead that Times staffers have a sense that "the newspaper is dead ... Just too many empty desks."
Simers writes that he's excited to work at the Register which has been bolstering its staff and made a commitment to its print edition over online coverage.
So Simers will be around for at least a few more years. We'll see how long this go-around lasts.
Simers has a unique style - perhaps his one-liners are a bit cheezy, but I believe he is a good writer. He needs to cool it with his law suit against the Times. It makes him look like all the cry babies he writes about in sports. TJ needs to just accept that the workplace is run by money, no matter where you are or who you are, and that life isn't fair. Best wishes TJ
When my dad died in 2002, T.J. wrote a short article about him. I really appreciated the words he wrote about my dad, Ray Hayes. My dad and I loved L.A. Kings hockey, LA Rams football, LA Dodger baseball, and LA Laker basketball. I am sure that my dad was smiling down from heaven when the LA Kings won their first Stanley Cup.
Good Luck T.J.
TJ says what the fans think. Sometimes the knife goes a bit deep, but that happens in surgery as well. Welcome back TJ, we've missed your....Ronn
I did like Simers when he was going after Rick Neuheisel. When UCLA lost in Seattle the locals were asking who that guy at the post game news conference was.
@awfulannouncing yeah candy crushed
@awfulannouncing Tried to read this article, but kept getting redirected to Candy Crush
@awfulannouncing didn't realize he left LA Times goodluck & bye
@awfulannouncing surprised. Only writer who's worse is Plaschke
@awfulannouncing Are we shocked?
Well the other "go-around" lasted 23 years. Bet Ken Fang will never last anywhere for anything close to that.
Simers is neither funny nor insightful. I sure didn't miss him when he quite writing for the Times. The bit about being happy to leave the Times and be at the Register sounds just like every radio DJ who gets a new gig: "So happy to be here at [station that hired him]. Real radio, not like slaving away at [station that fired him]."
drew sharp would be that man in Detroit...ive always wondered why a sports columnist would take shots at all the teams in the city he/she works for. I understand being objective but in drew sharps case it seems like he just piles on. the pistons, lions, tigers and wings could all win multiple championships during the same frame and he would nitpick it to death.
The SOB of So Cal is back. I couldn't stand his LA Times columns, his fired stint at PTI, his short lived radio show with his own daughter and the great Fred Roggin, now with OC Register. He's a writing lunatic.