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Context and sports commentary

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    OK. T.J. Simers is taking a lot of heat for for his column about Marcus Thames.

    We could debate this column all day, but I'd rather ask this:

    Simers is taking some heat because Thames is apparently a nice guy, and because his mother was paralyzed from the neck down in 1982 and raised her children in spite of it. One woman asked if Simers was the biggest bully in baseball. Rob Neyer ripped him on SB Nation. The Big Lead. An MSNBC guy is all worked up.

    So basically, some are asking: He's a great guy who has overcome a lot, so why pick on him?

    To those people, I just want to ask: The next time you rip a guy for batting .195 in May, or dropping a potential touchdown pass in a big game, or going 2 for 15 and missing the tying 3 in the NBA Final, is your commentary going to take into consideration his personal history? What if the .195 guy lost his father in a car accident when he was 4; or the touchdown dropper saw his best friend murdered when he was 14? Hey, what if the NBA 3-misser's wife left him that day and took the kids?

    You can disagree with Simers all you want, but in what we do, how much do we have to consider what has or is going on in an athlete's personal life and then pull our punches because of it?

    I'm more interested in that discussion if anybody's game. Everybody in sports is a human being, but even the best columnists rip performance, basically saying, "Hey, you get paid millions to play a game, it comes with the territory."

    Well, does it or doesn't it?
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    If that's what gets a columnist ripped as unfair nowadays, this business has changed beyond all recognition. Everything Simers discusses is precisely related to on-field performance. It isn't even a comment on Thames as much as it is on the stupidity of the Dodgers' front office for expecting solid production out of him.

    Neyer in particular sounds like he's trying to remind people that he still exists.
  3. rmanfredi

    rmanfredi Active Member

    First, a point of fact: Rob Neyer writes a column for SB Nation, not Bleacher Report. Let's not besmirch Neyer like that, even if you don't like his writing. I suspect he at least gets paid for it.

    Also, this is Simers' schtick - hammer a guy at the start and see how he reacts. If he takes it and handles it well, he'll get a free pass. If he doesn't, he turns into one of Simers' walking punchlines. I would think the Dodgers (particularly) would counsel new players on what to do if Simers comes around your locker.

    If you accept Simers' act - and I read it every day - then you have to accept that he does it to good guys and jerks alike.
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    1000 apologies for this terrible slip, and although Bleacher Report is paying people now, too, at least a bit more, it's still a terrible slip. It's fixed in the original post as well. Very sorry.
  5. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I like Simers. He gets under the skin of the right people, asks tough questions, doesn't coddle pro athletes and writes the most interesting sports column in LA.
    That said, picking on Thames is part of a bigger Dodger story. The Dodgers have gone cheap. No baseball writer or journalist in LA will say it or write it. Simers is the only who's come close. Thames is a great example what the Dodgers are trying to sell as a major league team in LA.
    There once was a time when the Dodgers owned LA. It's not the case anymore, not even close. The Lakers are No. 1, followed by USC football, the Angels and probably the Clippers right now with Blake Griffin. The Kings moving to Anaheim is getting more attention than the Dodgers and their patchwork roster.
    Simers' column on Thames can be looked at as a hit job. But in a grander scope, it's about how far the Dodgers have fallen. They are trying to sell a player who's a hack in the outfield and has been touted as a good bat off the bench, but hits under .200 in May.
    The Dodgers are going to stink this year and Simers is the first to say so. Thames is going to be one of the Dodgers who stinks the most. It's going to be a long baseball season for Dodger fans.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    No one in the NYC market ignored Thames' defensive shortcomings last year. How could they? I am a Yankees fan and loved watching him hit last year because you never knew. I would not have been pissed if the Yankees had brought him back. However, I was astonished that an NL team signed him, absolutely jaw-dropping astounded by the sheer stupidity of it.

    I don't think Simers was out of bounds enough to be criticized, although really he should be making the Dodgers look like complete morons for signing Thames to play the outfield rather than Thames for not wanting to talk about how much he sucks. Simers was the best sports beat reporter I have ever seen up close, but I do not care for his columns in the same way I do not care for look-at-me DJs on the radio. I don't find this kind of column entertaining, nor is he telling me anything I don't know. He wants to rip Marcus Thames. BFD. There are some writers who I don't especially like as people, yet I still read their stuff, but I do not read Simers anymore unless someone points me to it -- and LAT is on my work computer favorites for a nightly look-see. He's not wrong here, he's just boring.
  7. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    It's T.J. He's been doing this for 30 years. No problem with it, even with the full disclosure that I hate the Dodgers. I've been a huge Simers fan for years. Never miss his column and I enjoy it.

    YGBFKM Guest

    If Jim Murray were still around, you'd have chambers of commerce blogging and tweeting their displeasure daily. LTFU, people.
  9. Dan Feldman

    Dan Feldman Member

    Not really. This is part of Simers' column:

    I think Simers crosses the line here. He acts like a jerk to, by all other accounts, a good guy and then criticizes Thames for not talking to him.

    Maybe Thames is a big jerk, and everyone else has read him wrong. But how can you determine that after introducing yourself to him like that?
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I still wonder, though, about this "hey, don't be mean to him, he's a nice guy and had some hard times" mentality by some of the critics of this column.

    But maybe it's simply not really an issue. That was my initial question....
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I think you're on to something, but it's mostly about Simers-hate out there in the blogosphere. I have never met him and am not wedded to his writing, but people do seem to get riled up about his style, and it's usually people who have no familiarity whatsoever. For instance, Dan Feldman's post responding to mine, that paragraph is basically the way T.J. Simers has greeted every Dodgers free agent for the past 15 years, so some might be shocked about it but I myself was underwhelmed. I suspect the regular readers of the Times and/or Simers took no pause either.
  12. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I think those criticisms indicate that Simers violated even his own exhausted 'shtik' with this column. If you have a real problem with a player's hiring, take it up with the GM. Don't come at the player like it's his own fault he's still in the league.
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