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The news has him tied up in knots as his life goes to dogs

February 17, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

I guess I'll never know if she received it.

When I saw video of Salma Hayek breast-feeding a poor youngster in Sierra Leone, I immediately sent off a telegram: "Wish I was there."

I'm a believer in helping where I can, and after all, the wife was in Arizona, I was a free man, but then this AP thunderbolt: "Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault tied the knot with a small civil ceremony on Valentine's Day in Paris."

Turns out she was just a tease, leading on both Alec Baldwin and Page 2. And this, a woman who once introduced Page 2 to her brother and said, "This could be your future brother-in-law."

As you know, we've kissed, we've hugged, but here I am off writing about dogs, my very own fault, while some French poodle emerges Best in Show. That's what happens, I guess, when you place the newspaper first.

Or, as e-mailer Rich Mouton put it in passing along the news: "Just thought you needed to know your fantasy couldn't wait for you any longer."

As you might imagine, the condolences have been pouring in, Kriss Halpern e-mailing: "I just wanted to add my note of sympathy on what is likely a difficult day."

"Bummer," writes Gene Hirai.

And this from John H. Schafer: "Sorry for your loss. At least you did not have to grow up in Nebraska like I did."

It's a tremendous feeling, of course, to know someone else is worse off, living in Nebraska, or maybe dating a Kings season-ticket holder or wondering what they will do now with the Angels jersey they bought last August with Teixeira's name on the back.

But to be honest, it's hard to bounce back like nothing has happened when you know there's going to be more e-mail arriving, each beginning the same way: "What does this have to do with sports?"

Got them all last week while I was in New York spending time with the dogs and those strange folks on the other end of the leashes. By the way, knowing what they say about dogs and their owners, I wonder if Donald Sterling's dog is white.

Anyway, over the years here on Page 2, I've learned if you take a break from writing what folks already know -- the Lakers are good, the Clippers are not, Ben Howland likes defense and Tim Floyd likes getting thrown out of games -- it's very unsettling.

For some reason sports fans like the obvious to be stated, and then restated. Did you know Kobe and Shaq did not get along while they played here and who knows how many titles they might've won had they played nice?

Write that every day for the next month, and it will get more hits than any other sports story on our website.

A well-read Dodgers story these days begins, "There is nothing new to report about Manny Ramirez."

The Angels have good pitching, the Dodgers don't, and there's all you need to know about the 2009 baseball season. You already know that, but you will be reading it again and undoubtedly with interest.

Last week we had a Times columnist write we should appreciate Kobe because he's really good, the front part of the newspaper labeling this news flash a "Hidden Gem."

I'm sure the column was wonderfully written, but more than that, I'm sure it was widely read.

There was no mention of Colorado, though, because this was an appreciation of Kobe, and apparently there are some things folks never want to read again.

We have two beat reporters on the Lakers, two bloggers, a national NBA columnist and at most home games another columnist. I'm not sure we have as many folks focusing on Washington, D.C., but this is really important.

Where's the sense of adventure, maybe stepping out of the box and sending Plaschke to the Iditarod to write about some down-and-out musher? Why not just station him in Alaska for the next six months? Then let's see if he has any interest in watching Manny play.

OK, so I know how the next batch of e-mail is going to go: "If you don't like writing about the Lakers, or the Lakers, or maybe the Lakers, why not leave?"

The short answer: "I've been typecast."

I thought everything was going to change here when my movie reached No. 1 at the box office.

The residual checks are nice, but after the success of "The Game Plan," co-starring The Rock and directed by Fickman, I expected to launch another career.

I remember Fickman telling me, "There was a lot of Ernest Borgnine in there. Beautiful, man."

But it's become obvious now that no one else around here thinks of me as anything but a crotchety sportswriter.

I've written about my family as much as I can to prove I'm no real sportswriter, but apparently most folks just can't get that incredible scene from "The Game Plan" out of their heads where I challenge The Rock to prove himself in the big game.

I even went to the dog show last week to demonstrate I'm no real sportswriter, finding a subject much like Dwyre that no one would read, but then the paper sends along a videographer.

And what does he do? He makes a crotchety sportswriter out of me, another Academy Awards week about to begin and everyone in Hollywood now thinking that's all I can play.

Who better to play Salma's love interest in her next movie?

I hate to think I have to spend another whole year here proving I'm no old-fashioned sportswriter. I'm telling you, right now the national bowling tournament has a certain appeal.

This is the entertainment capital, and there has to be some director out there with a part available for the next Ernest Borgnine.

At the same time you will doing everyone a favor around here, making room for even more Lakers stories in the paper.

By the way, I will be covering the Lakers game tonight.

--

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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