By now you’re probably well aware of the deplorable column put forth by T.J. Simers of the LA Times regarding former Tigers (and current Dodger) Marcus Thames. I have no desire to give slime the likes of Simers any additional pageviews, so I won’t link to the piece. It’s not difficult to find if you want to read it.
The long story short is that Simers approached Thames, who he had never met, and proceeded to bombard the outfielder with criticisms veiled as questions. Thames didn’t take the bait and instead walked away from the columnist. It was a truly disgusting piece that showed the dignity of Thames as much as it showed the obnoxiousness of Simers.
Yesterday, on twitter, former Tigers teammate Curtis Granderson came to Thames’ defense, and echoed what many have said about the slugger.
"I don’t like to criticize media. They have a job to do & sometimes have to be the bad guy. But T.J. Simers should be ashamed of himself … Marcus Thames is one of the best teammates/ friends I’ve ever had. He brings 100% to every team he is with. I love him like a brother."
The premise of Simers’ “interview” with Thames was centered on the perception of Thames as a poor defender. It certainly wasn’t phrased as nicely as I just did, however. Showing once again how genuinely good a man Thames is, he approached Simers about the topic yesterday.
From Simers (the snark is his, not mine):
"“So go ahead and ask me the question you wanted to ask,” says Thames, as friendly as his teammates had described him before walking off in a snit a day earlier.“Are you that horrible on defense that teams don’t think it’s worth playing such a home run threat?”“No, I’m not that bad of a defensive player,” he says, and that wasn’t so tough, now was it?"
I admit that I don’t read Simers very often. In fact, the two pieces I have read of this this week may well have been the first two I have read.
They’ll also be the last.
Simers showed himself to be nothing more than a shock-jock journalist who’s sole purpose is to stir the pot and attack the athletes he covers. Simers wants to be the story, and he usually is. But that certainly shouldn’t ever be the goal of a journalist, not a serious one, anyway.
In the early days of blogging, we were labeled as having no “journalistic integrity” and being careless and unaccountable for our words. But Simers (and a small handful of other MSMers) are doing their best to show that bloggers are the ones taking care to not become the story. As Craig Calcaterra noted in his response yesterday, there was a great column in front of Simers when he approached Thames the other day in Arizona. But Simers didn’t choose to conduct himself in a professional manner, much less a human one. He didn’t know Thames’ history because he didn’t bother to find out about a man that Simers had decided wasn’t worth the effort needed to even offer an introduction, let alone to run a Google search on.
There are columnists whose honesty is refreshing, and there are guys who write and say things merely to draw the greatest reaction. Clearly Simers is in the game to get people talking, which is what he should do. But he should be striving for them to be talking about the topics he covers, not the man doing the writing. There’s no journalistic integrity in that.
You know who needs to be read on tis topic? Rogo. He responded in a way that I would loved to have, but in a way that only he can.