YKI’s Sunday morning tradition (prior to Dogs games) is to wake up, walk the dog and relax in the backyard with fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh-brewed coffee. . .and the L.A. Times – print edition.
Always enjoyable – and the last bastion of real sportswriting out here on the West Coast – the Times’ top columnists are featured; the incisive, biting & oft-misunderstood T.J. Simers, all-world futbol journalist Grahame L. Jones, the cloyingly sentimental (and award-winning) Bill Plaschke as well as Hall of Famer Mark Heisler & veteran, workmanlike baseball writer Bill Shaikin.
Today’s paper was particularly enjoyable as:
a) Heisler, as usual, untangles the cluttered English language long enough to artfully lay out concise prose with an objective loyalist’s insight, writing about his own missteps in predicting the Celtics’ demise, and my personal favorite, labeling Bill Simmons “an essayist as opposed to a journalist,” a tag that YKI can accept, as opposed to those that label Simmons a ‘sportswriter,’ which he clearly is not.
b) Shaikin reporting on the Dodgers possible pursuit of Roy Oswalt, culminating (in his opinion) in a World Series appearance. Will it happen? The proverbial ‘jury is still out,’ as the McCourt divorce, Manny’s deferred salary, and the $104-million payroll projections for 2012, none of which would appear to allow for absorption of Oswalt’s jumbo salary.
c) Grahame L. Jones continuing his spectacular lead-in to the World Cup, this time listing the top ten coaches in World Cup history, but more importantly exposing the Netherlands’ string of failures on the big stage. Whether or not Americas really become converts to the World’s game is one thing, but Times readers have no choice but to become converts to Jones’s work as each column exploits his mastery of words.
d) Plaschke being Plaschke, though not in his weekly tear-jerking sense; this time writing about the enjoyment (and relevance?) of the Kiss Cam. That said, kudos today specifically for taking a jab at Simers, as it is often a one-sided in-house rivalry at the Times between the two sportwriting behemoths: “Real fans, real moments and real, heartfelt, tearful, forever gratitude to the Lakers for never focusing the Kiss Cam on my spot on the third row of the end-zone press table. I sit next to T.J. Simers.”
e) Simers out-Plaschke-ing Plaschke, proving again what an evocative journalist can really do, shedding light on Bill Walton’s recent health crises, his health failing to the point of suicide contemplation, and heroically optimistic path back to the land of Bill-mania.
*This has been a YKI Public Service Announcement for the Preservation of Newspapers, so log off, grab a copy of the Times and enjoy your Sunday.*