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T.J. Simers

Someone's Out of It, but It's Not the Dodgers

August 08, 2006|T.J. Simers

I'm with you folks on this one. We live here, we work in the community, and you would think we'd all be pulling for each other.

But yet you look at the newspaper some mornings, and the only thing we're getting is bad news, some writers making a career out of pouncing on good folk just because they're a little down on their luck.

I'm sure you've noticed too that some people just seem to dwell on the negative.

Last week, for example, I picked up the Los Angeles Daily News because it had a huge picture of one of our Dodgers on the front page of the whole paper.

Looking closer, I noticed our fine shortstop, Rafael Furcal, standing there with his head bowed -- next to a headline reading: "Dodger dogs."

I took a closer look because I was curious to see what Furcal might have to say about Dodger dogs, knowing that he came from Atlanta and hadn't eaten them before. I remember thinking if they're going to illustrate such a thing, why not use Mark Hendrickson, a former NBA player and the tallest Dodger in the picture?

I can't believe what I saw next. Right below the Daily News banner -- making it the part of the newspaper that everyone would see walking by a news rack, was the following headline: That's right, we're calling it: The Dodgers' season is over; it's only July, but they're out of it.

I just wanted to throw the newspaper against the wall. What does the Daily News have against the Dodgers? Is the paper overrun with Bruins fans and eager to get the Dodgers out of the paper so more space can be dedicated to UCLA?

Below the picture of our dejected shortstop there was another headline, They're done; stick a fork in playoff hopes.

Didn't they just say that in the headline above? Talk about piling on.

Right below that was a picture of a bald man, and the byline: "steve DILBECK," which suggested he's mighty proud of his last name, but obviously not thrilled to have the same first name as our former great Dodgers playing first and second.

Then I noticed steve's picture in the paper, and he was smiling. He obviously gets a real kick out of someone else's misfortune. I checked smiley's previous work, and every single time he made fun of our local teams, he was smiling in his picture.

Now I probably should've just thrown the paper away, but I couldn't resist seeing what smiley steve wrote about our guys. So I read everything he had to say.

"Over two months of baseball remain and we can already kiss the Dodgers goodbye," smiley steve wrote, and wait until I tell Jeff Kent this guy wants to kiss him.

"Dead team walking," he called them, and why does everyone continue to pick on J.D. Drew?

Smiley continued to scribble. "Sixty games to go and they're done. A team left in the sun too long. General Manager Ned Colletti's one-season patch job a failed experiment."

The way he was going after everybody, I wouldn't have been surprised to read smiley ripping his own family next.

"Forget about some white knight arriving with the trading deadline, this team is beyond any simple repair," smiley wrote, and I have no idea why he ruled out the possibility of a black knight or Dominican knight arriving to save the day.

When I came to the end of his story, I noticed he repeated his point like some kind of kindergarten teacher. I had to remind myself he was writing for a Daily News audience.

"Kent can come back, Garciaparra can return to form," smiley wrote, "but these Dodgers are not going to overcome four other teams to win the division.

"It's July, and it's over."

Kent returned, all right, and with a home run. And the Dodgers have overcome only three teams in the division to date, so it's not like anyone can say yet smiley doesn't know his baseball. I just don't understand why he has to be so hard on our guys.

I checked dailynews.comto see if smiley's blistering attack had been pulled now that our guys are winning again, only to find a "Put a fork in 'em?" logo and the website noting in big, bold print the consecutive wins since smiley buried the Dodgers.

Here I'm wondering how such a negative writer got his column, and the newspaper is giving him prominent play. I'm beginning to wonder if Dwyre is somehow behind all this.

*

I SHOWED the newspaper to Grady Little and Colletti because I figured they've never seen a Daily News.

The Times emphasizes the negative too, but it seems to favor gory war pictures on the front page over forlorn looks from athletes. We probably also have lots of negative writers, or so Pete Carroll tells me, but the only thing the rest of us can do, is to be really positive about what we write about.

Colletti is a former sportswriter, who knows what that's like, "although I never took off in a Winnebago for a couple of weeks during the middle of the season," he said, which is odd, because he was covering hockey and I can't imagine anyone would've noticed he was missing.

Anyway, before we won again, I asked Colletti if he knew how much the rest of the L.A. media had been behind the team when it went into the dumper -- never doubting for a second it would climb back into the race. He didn't say anything, and I couldn't tell if he was all choked up, or just struggling to find the right words.

I suggested "some things don't even need to be said."

And he agreed.

T.J. Simers can be reached at

t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

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