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T.J. Simers is back from vacation, has some catching up to do

Steve Nash comes to the Lakers, adding to their entertainment value. Magic is still missing from Dodgers games, and the team has let first place slip away.

July 16, 2012|T.J. Simers
  • Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly says "it's been awhile" since he last saw Lakers great and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly says "it's been awhile"… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

I took a two-week vacation figuring you people needed it.

By my calculations I missed five Sparks' games and Stan Kasten's letter to Dodgers fans proclaiming, "Dodger pride is back."

I guess first place is something entirely different. Maybe they get that back, maybe they don't.

As for Magic and when he might be back, a Dodgers' spokesman texted to say he couldn't recall the last time Magic was at Dodger Stadium, but would check to see whether if he will ever return.

Meanwhile, I was in Arizona working on my skin cancer in 115-degree sun while crouching in a pool like a catcher to keep the grandbabies from drowning. I'd like to thank those who jumped into the pool at the end of each day to help me stand up.

While I was there, Steve Nash went to L.A., and the city of Phoenix reacted as if air conditioning was being taken away.

The folks there seem to think a lot of the guy, and when is the last time the Lakers had a likable player?

I expect Lakers fans will like Nash just as Phoenix did, thereby being more than happy to make room at their feet when Nash lies flat on his ailing back when not playing.

But then isn't that the rub with this dramatic move, the best thing that could happen to the Lakers also being maybe the worst.

So much for getting younger and more athletic and placing an emphasis on defense as Coach Mike Brown prefers it.

But who better to hit a timely three, set up Bynum and Gasol and be immune to dirty looks from Kobe Bryant late in a game?

The tiebreaker is easy, as far as I'm concerned: Nash makes the Lakers more entertaining.

While in Arizona, I also missed Matt Kemp's contribution in the All-Star game Home Run Derby. I swear I only closed my eyes for a second.

By the way, I'm at Dodger Stadium now as I write about what I did on my summer vacation, so I asked Manager Don Mattingly when was the last time he saw Magic?

"I don't know," said Mattingly. "It's been awhile."

I thought about asking, "When's the last time you saw a hit from Juan Uribe?" but I figured I'd get the same answer.

With so much time to kill between Dodgers rallies, I took a closer look at Kasten's letter. He writes, "Our players deserve enormous credit for an exciting and successful first half of the 2012 season, but it could not have been done without you."

No offense, but what did you do?

That sounds dangerously like someone blowing smoke. The last guy to say things he thought everyone wanted to hear is now sitting in his Dodger Stadium parking lot listening to Charley Steiner do the game on the radio. Punishment comes hard around here.

Oh well, while I was away I also heard the Clippers lost general manager Neil Olshey to Portland.

That's such a long way for the national media to travel, which makes me concerned Olshey won't have anyone to talk to while there.

He spent so much time promoting himself to so-called NBA insiders here he apparently forgot to visit the Clippers' locker room to congratulate his head coach on beating Memphis to advance in the playoffs.

It's got to be hard to build a team if you're not a team guy. Next to Andre Ethier, no one around here has spent more time so focused on himself than Olshey.

OK, so throw Page 2 in there too, but only because I don't mind being quoted and I never bristle at the questions.

I also missed the 10th annual NFL All Access show put on by the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. Someone told me broadcaster Al Michaels was the big draw, with folks sitting in the rain to hear him speak.

I know how long his stories go, so I should have known the person who told me that was all wet.

Michaels told the football crowd he really wanted to broadcast figure skating when they assigned him hockey in the "Do You Believe in Miracles" Olympics.

Just think how big Michaels would be in Germany now had he used the same line when calling Anett Potzsch's gold medal figure skating performance.

This just in from a Dodgers spokesman: Magic will be back here for the next homestand, which begins July 30. I wonder whether Uribe will still be here.

While gone, I noticed the Times sent a photographer overseas to shoot the whereabouts of the Stanley Cup. Every time I see folks slobbering over the Cup it reminds me of Cecil B. DeMille, Moses and the fit Charlton Heston threw when he saw everyone dancing around a golden calf.

I don't recall anyone calling Moses for high staffing, but replays show he was probably guilty.

I also read The Times' story on Reeves Nelson, the former UCLA malcontent.

He's now playing, so to speak, for the Lakers' Summer League team. But in truth he's just sitting on the bench and hasn't played a second so far.

I don't think the newspaper gets enough credit for writing such positive stories — folks getting everything they deserve.

Back on the job, I notice Tim Leiweke is here and sitting beside the Dodgers' new Guggenheim owner, Mark Walter.

The two men have so much in common, Leiweke representing an owner no one ever sees and Walter a deal no one has seen yet.

On an upbeat note, though, with Magic missing, Leiweke had somewhere to sit.

And I can also bring you a tweet received from Magic that was apparently sent about three hours ago from a far-off land: "Next winning streak starts tonight.''

I sure hope so. I wouldn't want the boys to just wait until Magic comes back.

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