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TJ Simers says LA Times told him to take it easy on Frank McCourt, Arte Moreno

TJ SimersTJ Simers wrote his first column for the Orange County Register, and it was everything you would expect from him. The former LA Times columnist introduced himself to new readers (though most people probably are already familiar with his style), cracking jokes and cracking on his family, like usual. He admitted he likes Lane Kiffin and Jim Buss, and he got in his typical line about Salma Hayek. It was just what his readers are used to. And, of course, Simers touched on his exit from The Times.

Simers confirmed rumors that The Times’ editors told him to take it easy on his favorite punching bag, former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (the parking lot attendant), and more recently, Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno. From Simers’ column:

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.

What a crappy situation. Can you imagine the biggest newspaper in the No. 2 media market censoring its most powerful columnist when it comes to the town’s second-most popular team? McCourt was a crap owner. The worst. And The Times writers were instructed to go easy on him because the editor was buddies with the owner. What garbage. And then Simers had to take it easy on Moreno because the Angels advertised with the paper. I guess you can call that nice hush money. Moreno, by the way, has been responsible for some of the Angels’ recent bad contracts, like the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton signings. He probably deserves criticism.

Simers’ column will appear in the OC Register on Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays, and many other days. This column is free. A subscription will be required to read most of his future work.

TJ Simers reportedly hired by OC Register

TJ SimersT.J. Simers has been hired by the Orange County Register after a nasty split with the Los Angels Times, according to multiple reports.

A number of journalists and reporters tweeted that the controversial sports columnist is headed to the OC paper. Oregonian columnist John Canzano says “the ink is dry” on the deal between the two sides. NBC LA sports reporter Fred Roggin, who used to co-host a local radio show with Simers, says his colleague is headed to the Register and calls it a “devastating loss” for The Times.

We noted in July that Simers was conspicuously missing from The Times’ sports page for a six-week span. He hadn’t even written about the Los Angeles Dodgers’ hot stretch, which would have caused him to lose his mind over the “choking dogs.”

We said that Simers’ tension with The Times, where he had worked since 1990, brewed over his association with Mandalay Sports Media, which The Times considered a conflict of interest. In reality, The Times was likely using that as an excuse to get out of paying Simers the big money he was making.

We don’t know exactly what Simers’ role will be at the Register, but we imagine he’ll continue doing what he does best — writing columns and being the pot-stirring, sarcastic, humorous critic he’s always been. Also, knowing Simers’ style, expect some fireworks from his first column; we have no doubt he’ll rip The Times a new one and explain what happened, so long as he’s not taking legal action against the paper and unable to comment.

H/T Jay Christensen

TJ Simers conspicuously missing from LA Times sports section

TJ SimersLos Angeles Times sports section readers likely have noticed the lack of writing from T.J. Simers in recent weeks. Simers is the most notable writer on The Times’ sports staff, and his last column appeared on June 13. That’s over six weeks ago. To give you additional context, the column was about the Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks massive brawl, which seems like ages ago. Simers did have a shared byline with Mike Bresnahan on a July 5 story about Dwight Howard agreeing to a deal with the Rockets, but that’s it.

So what is going on with Simers and why haven’t his columns appeared in the paper for over a month? Word on the street is that The Times has taken issue with Simers’ involvement with Mandalay Sports Media.

Simers, you may recall, appeared in a viral video uploaded by Mandalay to YouTube on June 1. In the video, Simers moderated a free throw competition between his daughter and former Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.

On June 10, John Ourand of Sports Business Daily wrote that Mandalay Sports Media was developing a TV show loosely based on Simers’ life. Ourand said the company was preparing to pitch the show to broadcasting networks.

Perhaps The Times views Simers’ work with Mandalay as a conflict of interest.

A look at the timeline of events shows something is definitely up.

    June 1: Viral video for Mandalay hits YouTube
    June 10: Report says Mandalay is shopping a TV show based on Simers
    June 13: Simers’ last column appears in The Times

Simers has been working for The Times since 1990 and is one of the most prominent figures in LA sports media. The veteran writer suffered a mini-stroke in March.

TJ Simers had a mini-stroke and the Dodgers helped save him

TJ SimersLos Angeles Times columnist TJ Simers recently suffered what he called a “mini-stroke” while in Arizona to cover spring training, and he apparently can thank the Los Angeles Dodgers for helping to save him.

Simers, who is known for his humor, negativity, and confrontational style, revealed the news in a column that featured his usual amounts of sarcasm.

As best as I could tell while deciphering fact from sarcasm, Simers fell multiple times getting out of bed. He says he then fell off the toilet, but later managed to climb back to bed. He called his LA Times colleague Dylan Hernandez to inform him he wouldn’t be able to cover spring training that day. Hernandez called the Dodgers, who sent over a trainer who took the writer to the emergency room.

Simers must have recovered well from his mini-stroke because he was able to write his usual witty column with only one day between published items; his previous column was on Mar. 16. Simers says Dodgers GM Ned Colletti even came to visit him while he was in the hospital.

I’d say that Simers might take it easy on the Dodgers this season considering they helped save him, but that just doesn’t fit his style.

Photo: Twitter/TJ Simers

Mike D’Antoni snaps at columnist T.J. Simers after loss (Video)

The mounting frustration over the Lakers’ poor start to the season culminated with new head coach Mike D’Antoni snapping at a media member following the team’s 100-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, who has been an irritant to most LA sports figures for the past two decades, was grilling D’Antoni over the team’s lack of defense when he got a rise out of the coach.

Apparently Simers was questioning whether the Lakers had practiced defense on Tuesday before their game.

Mike D'Antoni frustrated Lakers“You’re criticized for (unintelligible) defense. You come here, you go to shootaround this morning, you do a film session, and a little old shooting on everyone’s own …” Simers was saying before D’Antoni interrupted him.

“I didn’t see you at the film session,” D’Antoni interjected.

“So that’s not true then?” Simers asked.

“No, that’s not true,” D’Antoni answered.

“So you worked on defense then?” Simers pressed.

“Hell yeah. We worked for a half-hour. You’re starting to piss me off. You’re starting to piss me off,” he repeated. “Because you said something that’s not factually correct.”

D’Antoni apparently went on to defend how much the team works on defense before Time Warner Cable’s feed of the postgame news conference cut away.

[Read more...]

Phil Jackson Tweaked by T.J. Simers, Drops F-Bomb in Post Game Conference

Ahh, the perils of live television! ESPN and ESPNEWS got burned Sunday when they chose to run Phil Jackson’s post game news conference live following Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals series between the Lakers and Rockets.

Bothered by the notoriously fearless and often times disrespectful T.J. Simers, who asked if the Lakers were embarrassed by their loss to the Yao Ming-less Rockets, Jackson offered up this:

“Are we embarrassed?” Phil asked rhetorically. “No, we’re not embarrassed. No, Houston played a great game. Give them some f—ing credit. For real. This kid (Aaron) Brooks played great tonight. They played well.”

I agree with Phil here — sometimes a team losing isn’t because of what they did wrong but because of what the other team did right. That’s what happened with Houston. They were fired up, hot early in the game, and they held the lead. Aaron freakin Brooks had a career game with 34 points! Sometimes you can’t just criticize a team for losing but you need to credit the opposition for doing things well — that was the case on Sunday.

The nutter butters and harvey bars at Tirico Suave have the uncensored Phil Jackson cussing video if you’re interested.