I first saw mention of this Marcus Thames piece on River Ave. Blues and didn’t think much of it. Just kind of scrolled through to see how camp was going, how the rotation candidates were doing, the usual. Then I saw a tweet from Curtis Granderson, 3 of them actually, coming to the defense of Thames. Anyone who knows anything about Granderson knows that he’s pretty much the stereotypical all-American good guy, so seeing him being even the slightest bit confrontational caught my attention. Still though, I’ve read negative articles before – ones that could be considered character assassinations on guys like Barry Bonds. No big deal. I have to say though, as I read it my jaw dropped to the floor. It’s unlike any article I’ve ever read, and certainly not in a good way. I’ve never heard of TJ Simers before but a quick Google search revealed that this is kind of his M.O. He pretty much acts like a complete douche bag in order to stir up controversy and get juicy quotes. Kind of like, no, exactly like the paparazzi. He disguises this technique by calling it “provocative” in his LA Times bio. A few snippets:
According to Dodgers’ propaganda, this no-name thumper hits a home run every 15.58 at-bats — ranking him 27th in baseball history. Yowza!
Now you would think anyone ranked 27th in baseball history in anything would be a household name, but in his own clubhouse no one seems quite sure how to pronounce his name.
First of all, I thought anyone who is even slightly more than a casual baseball fan knew who Marcus Thames was. No? Secondly, who cares how you say his name? How is that relevant to anything at all? How do you pronounce Simers? Does it rhyme with timers or trimmers? It doesn’t matter, I don’t care. Pretty condescending stuff in there, but it gets better:
Ordinarily I don’t like to start off a week talking to stiffs, but that leaves so few Dodgers to interview these days.
And besides, the Dodgers have assured me this stiff is different from all the others they have lined up to play left field.
Typical of print guys to talk all tough while hiding behind their keyboards. Imagine if he was that much of a dick to his face though? Oh, wait:
“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?
Tims/Tems just smiled.
I asked again, because I remember my dealings with Lofton, who would never answer the first question. Eventually he would, while also complaining, “You never write down what I say.”
I always told him the same thing. “You’re boring, but I come back hoping one day you might say something of interest.”
That’s how you introduce yourself? You kidding me? You realize that’s a human being you’re talking to right? This character assassination attempt probably backfires a little on Simers (like timers)/Simers (like trimmers) because a lesser man would have clocked TJ right there. Thames took the high road by smiling and walking away and really solidifies the impression that most people have of him being a pretty stand up and decent person. Simers, however, sees it differently:
All he would have had to say was, “It’s now a Dodgers tradition to play left fielders who can’t play defense,” and everyone would have gotten one last laugh at Manny’s expense.
Or, he could have said it’s all part of GM Ned Colletti’s master plan to get the team ready for the World Series when the Dodgers will require a DH. Or, he could have said, “Plaschke wanted Bynum traded, but I was with Page 2 all the way.”
Instead he curled up into a ball, and I didn’t even ask him about his anemic .248 lifetime batting average.
This is probably my favorite part. Thames is a standoffish guy because he refused to answer the honest question of a poor little journalist just trying to do his job and get the story so his editor doesn’t berate him when he gets back to the office with nothing to print. It has everything to do with a spoiled, privileged professional athlete and nothing to do with a crusty old hack asking an already insulting question in the most condescending manner imaginable. All he would have had to say, TJ? Seriously? All you had to do was ask the question with a little more tact and you would have gotten that answer you were looking for. Only that’s not the answer you were looking for, was it? You know it, I know it. What you were looking for is exactly what you got, exactly what you set out to do. A totally unnecessary attempt at a character assassination and a clubhouse controversy brewed out of thin air.
Simers calls himself provocative, but when I think “provocative”, I think controversial but thought provoking. Asking tough questions but getting necessary answers. This is none of that. This entire piece is uncomfortable to read and doesn’t contain a single redeeming quality. I learned nothing from this article. I questioned nothing other than the LA Times. This is not provocative. It’s a cheap trick to stir up controversy and drive readers to the LA Times site (or to buy the hardcopy if people still actually do that). The LA Times doesn’t care if you’re reading it because you enjoy it, or because you’re pissed off. They only care that there are eyeballs on their pages, catching glimpses of their ads. It’s tabloid “journalism” and, sadly, it works.