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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

This One May Have Him Roasted Over Rotisserie

August 31, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

Just between you and me, and I'll deny it if it's repeated, I'm feeling the pressure from the boss.

Yeah, I know it has been there from day one--you think my kid wanted to go to Notre Dame? I can only thank the good heavens that Sports Editor Bill Dwyre didn't go to UCLA.

It's kind of understood there are only two ways to get a job around here: Swear allegiance to the Irish or talk tennis. At the time my daughter was getting ready to go to college, Anna Kournikova had not arrived on the tennis scene, or my daughter would have gone to Saddleback College and I'd be at the U.S. Open today.

You don't want to make the mistake of getting caught in small talk with the boss, who will blabber about old Notre Dame quarterbacks or the lunch he had four years ago with Pete Sampras, and all you can do is nod a lot, and hope he gets a call before you really nod off.

Just between you and me, it must be hell to be his wife--probably a Notre Dame grad, who is hard of hearing but reads his tennis stories.

You do what you have to do, and you've probably noticed that making fun of USC's academic reputation while praising Notre Dame's can also get you a column around here.

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BUT HERE IT is, fantasy football week--the very best time of the year. The Angels are even wearing their fantasy football league T-shirts, and to heck with baseball in Seattle, who are the Seahawks starting at running back?

Dwyre fantasizes too--I think I will leave it at that. But he doesn't like fantasy football, won't have it in his newspaper, doesn't acknowledge that it exists.

Do you know anybody who does not have a fantasy football team? You add up all your voting Republicans and Democrats, and it's a sure bet more people are worried about finding the right running back in the later rounds than worrying about who will back up the next president.

Pro football is the No. 1 spectator sport, yet why would anyone watch Baltimore take on Pittsburgh unless they had Raven wide receiver Travis Taylor on their fantasy team? Why would anyone order DirecTV to watch 13 football games on Sunday if they didn't own a fantasy team?

Fantasy football is a good thing for the sports section too, because it's going to make a positive writer out of me. I'm looking for nothing but good things from Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson the next 17 weeks, and if he throws a touchdown pass to Peerless Price, that's 20 points for the columnist's team.

The sports editor frowns on such talk, which is why we're short on positive writing in the newspaper. He insists no one can make mention of fantasy football in the newspaper, and he's the boss, so who am I to defy him?

But you know he has to say things like that, because he's the sports editor of The Times, and that's a stuffy position. He's not really so hoity-toity. Just between you and me, you know what he really wants--and that's the pressure I'm feeling.

But if I make him silent partner in my fantasy football team, how do I tell him that Rick Mirer is probably not the best pick we could make in the first round of the draft?

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IMAGINE FOR A shivering moment you lived in Green Bay, Wis.

The Packers say they need a renovated Lambeau Field in order to make more money and compete with the 16 NFL teams that have moved into new facilities since 1992 and the five more that soon will. The team's president, Bob Harlan, says if the team doesn't get a new stadium, it will "die."

On Sept. 12, citizens in the Green Bay area will be asked to vote to increase the sales tax a half-percent to raise $160 million toward the $295-million renovation project. Recent polls suggest it will be a close vote.

Those supporting the Packers say it is a quality-of-life issue, because without the Packers playing games 10 days a year in town, you might as well find the nearest dairy farm and just let the cattle run you over.

It's a compelling argument.

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GOOD INFORMATION IS hard to find. RotoNewsDirect, a provider of fantasy sports information, has announced its $5.99 magazine can be bought online.

I'd urge everyone with a fantasy question to call DwyreDirect.

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THE GOVERNOR OF California is now in position to take away the Coliseum Commission's power, in effect, making his representative, Bill Chadwick, lead negotiator for L.A. in trying to bring an NFL team here.

Based on Chadwick's previous NFL work, I would order DirecTV.

I might even lead the move to bring back the Coliseum Commission, which is one step shy of rolling the red carpet out for Al Davis.

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THE LAWSUIT, OF course, will have to be heard, but after watching Shane Mosley take care of Oscar De La Hoya, you'd have to make Bob Arum the 3-1 choice to win by a decision.

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TERRY O'NEIL, former senior vice president of the New Orleans Saints, has launched RealNFL.com, an Internet site dedicated to providing commentary from former NFL coaches, such as Dick Vermeil.

O'Neil is a Notre Dame grad--so you know where this is coming from.

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TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail addressed to the sports editor from Howard Cole:

"I'm a starving writer doing cartwheels trying to make a splash with my modest little Web site, which is called [name deleted].

"For a review in The Hot Corner I'd sell my soul to Ray Walston. Shoot, I'll say something nice about T.J. Simers for a blurb in the Morning Briefing."

You blew it. You get no mention about (name deleted) because I called up your site and you said something that was not very nice about T.J. Simers.

Let that be a lesson to the rest of you interested in making a splash.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address: t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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