Mar 24

What does a press pass get you? The chance to be MEAN.

I’m not the first to criticize T.J. Simers for his unbelievably mean-spirited piece on Marcus Thames of the Dodgers, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Ty Duffy was all over it this morning, and did a pretty good job of pointing out a) the mean things that Simers said, and b) the very sad off-the-field story that could (should?) have been written instead.

Those are great angles, and worthy of consideration. It’s hard to pick a pull-quote from the column, because the whole thing is so hateful. And Thames has a sympathetic real-life story that all too many people can relate to and might like to hear. But there is a part c) to this: T.J. Simers is a credentialed writer, so the reading public is supposed to think of him as superior to bloggers. I’ve been writing without credentials for a very long time, and I don’t think I’ve ever delivered such an acidic personal attack on a player. (You’re welcome to search my archives, but I’m fairly sure you’d come up empty…)

This has been said here before, but it bears repeating: Athletes are people. If a player is not super-awesome at baseball, criticize that. But don’t project his lack of performance into some kind of terrible personal defect. T.J. Simers proudly wrote that instead of introducing himself to Marcus Thames, he accosted him about his terrible defense.

“Are you that horrible on defense that teams don’t think it’s worth playing such a home run threat?” I asked by way of introduction.

Maybe somebody else wastes time schmoozing with Tims/Tems, but he’s a one-year rental who has some explaining to do. How bad are you on defense that teams don’t dare risk playing you?

What has Thames ever done to Simers to justify such a thing? The tone of the column suggests Simers had barely even heard of the guy. Congratulations to T.J. Simers for using his precious press access – access which, according to his peers, makes him practically a god – to do THAT. Here’s your California Sportswriter of the Year Award.

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  1. Mark LaFlamme

    I’ve never heard of Simers. From this article, he strikes me as a man with serious bat envy.

  2. Mark LaFlamme

    A lot of ballplayers, athletes in general, don’t like to talk to the press. When you come cross a self-important tool like this guy, it’s plain to see why that is.

  3. Chris

    I haven’t read Simers previously, but some of the things I read about him yesterday suggested that this is his style and he does it to everybody he interviews. So he wasn’t singling Thames out. The question is why the LA Times wants somebody like that around.

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