New LAT baseball writer *

Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts posted last week that Tim Brown will take over from Ross Newhan as the national baseball beat writer at the L.A. Times. He says to expect a farewell column from Newhan soon.

* Oops: Newhan's column is in the paper today:

Contrary to the belief of many colleagues who enjoy needling me about my longevity on the baseball beat, I was not covering in 1920 when the Boston Red Sox sold the Bambino to the New York Yankees, bringing down the curse that they mercifully exorcised Wednesday night....

My byline will appear periodically in The Times next year, but not as the senior baseball columnist. I am handing the reins to Tim Brown, who is eminently qualified, having most recently spent several seasons chronicling the soap opera known as the Lakers....

I don't mind lobbing questions at Milton Bradley while preparing to duck. I could tolerate the angry phone rants by Tom Lasorda and the libel threats from Kevin Malone. I thought it amusing while spending a couple of seasons covering the tormented Alex Johnson of the Angels that he kept insisting my first name was "Four Eyed" and my last name was a hyphenated obscenity. I never thought Gene Mauch was really serious when he often accused me of "fomenting" trouble, and I was only slightly nervous on that Sunday afternoon in Anaheim when Brian Downing stuck a bat within an inch of my nose and threatened to deviate my septum merely because I had written that all of his weightlifting had left him muscle-bound between the ears.

All of that is part of the job, the fallout of doing it right. But writing those often dull and deflating labor stories while wanting to write only about the wonders of the game and the men who play it has been a mind-numbing challenge.

He closes with a warning that the steroid scandal in baseball is worse than many believe, and urges that World Series games be started at an earlier hour.

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