NOW I know why Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers was spotted a couple of weeks ago at the Brea Mall buying a lanyard from a sports store: he had probably just talked with his new bosses at the Orange County Register.
Although nothing has been officially announced, LA Observed reports it's as good as done, even running excerpts of a letter Simers sent to USA Today explaining his decision: that he wants to go to a newspaper that's growing, that the “Register experiment to beef up the paper reminds me of the thrill I felt when I got into this business” blah blah blah–obviously, Simers not only drank Register owner Aaron Kushner's Kool-Aid, he's swimming in it.
If it happens, it's a stunning coup for the Register. We're fans of Simers (although Clockwork Coker says he was better when all he wrote about was football), especially loving his fusillades against the high-and-mighty of Southern California sports–it was he, after all, who coined the Angry Arte nickname to describe Angels owner Arte Moreno. We just might have to visit bugmenot.com more often to get more codes to break the Reg's paywall. And it's because we're fans that we're warning Simers right now: beware. BEWARE.
Simers has made a career out of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Problem is, that's the type of journalism Kushner loathes, even telling his newsroom as such. The Reg has never had a columnist as antagonistic against the comfortable since the legendary Randy Youngman (whose Page 2 slot Simers will take over) was calling Angels non-slugger Mo Vaughn “Moo” and trashing Los Angeles Rams owner Georgia Frontiere at every chance. Simers writes with a Howitzer, not the lace napkin Kushner wants his reporters to use. It'll be especially interesting to see what's going to happen when Simers starts trashing Angry Arte, given the Angels are huge advertisers with the Reg to the point where subscribers can get cheap seats for free as part of their subscription. And just wait until Simers discovers who Don Bren is…
Over-under on how long until Aaron Smalley tells the Reg's sports editors to tone Simers down?