Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers took questions from the blog The Big Lead.com, which calls him "funny and fearless." Unrandom excerpts:
Q: Give us your favorite Kobe Bryant story never told.
When he was having problems in Colorado, I got a call from his agent who wanted me to know Kobe was going to rent out a bowling alley for some kid with cancer, and wanted to know if I wanted to write the story. Yeah, right.
Q: You’ve had your share of run-ins with athletes. Plaschke famously clashed with Raul Mondesi. Which athlete has been the biggest prick to you, and is there one particular incident that sticks out?
That’s a tie between Jim McMahon and Kevin Brown. McMahon blew his nose on me. It began months earlier when I parked a golf cart against the back door of the Charger locker room so he couldn’t run from us out the back door. I went to him each day and he would swear at me and I would ask him to slow down so I could write it all down. Later I asked him a question, he blew his nose on me and said there’s your answer.
As for Brown, after my first column he picked up a metal box and tossed it against the wall. Two years later I went back to him to mark the anniversary of his last great pitch.
Q: By all accounts, you are a journalist who knows when to mix in a salad. What’s the secret to not over-eating in the press box?
Take a look at Bill Dwyre. I have that image in my mind every time I go through the chow line.
Q: Will there be a football team in Los Angeles, and frankly, do you even want one?
Football team will be here for the 2011 season at the latest—as early as 2007 or 2008. I believe there’s a good chance Chargers set up shop in Angel Stadium parking lot in new stadium, and the Saints in the Coliseum—playing in Rose Bowl while Coliseum is rebuilt. Roger Goodell, the new commish, worked harder on the LA problem than anyone and will make it happen. That means I’ll have to go to work on Sundays, but what the heck, more fresh meat.
The website, which I know nothing about, recently lambasted editor-turned columnist Bill Dwyre for being over 60 and for running the Times' sports section into the ground. I think what's been going on at LAT Sports is too complex to pin on Dwyre. It has more to do with larger priorities at the paper, which inexplicably do not seem to count sports as highly as they should. When I interviewed Times editor Dean Baquet last fall and again at the April LAT book festival at UCLA, he copped to cutting Sports too much in recent years and pledged to restore some resources. Instead, the newshole has been tightened considerably and other trims made. Some of the cuts attributed by the blog to Dwyre, however, actually were ordered by his successor, Randy Harvey. There have also been some go-ups, notably the addition of investigative editor Bill Rempel.