TJ 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.