Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer in the City

Back in the day when newspapers were the chief source of information and entertainment for sports fans, columnists usually planned their vacations sometime between the end of basketball season and the opening of NFL training camps, a gap that was filled in by baseball's midseason and the summer thoroughbred horse racing meet at Del Mar.
It was a relaxing chance to take the family to a beachhouse in  Capistrano for two weeks or even a longer trip to Hawaii or Yellowstone Park.
But in the new millennium, with cable TV and social media at the forefront of the sports information, the summer is filled with off-season NBA and NHL trades, intriguing interleague matchups in baseball, countdowns to the NFL and college football seasons, and the ongoing off-the-field adventures of athletes with the law.
In Los Angeles,  this summer has seen the rise of the Dodgers from last to first place, the departure of Dwight Howard from the Lakers, the continuing speculation of the construction of a new football stadium  downtown, the disappointment of the Angels in the American League West, and the signings of new players to the Lakers, Clippers and Kings.
A lot of material for a columnist to write about yet it has been over six weeks since T.J. Simers' byline has appeared on the sports section's Page 2 of the L.A. Times. His fans and detractors alike wonder where he is, judging from the number of daily e-mails and telephone calls to  the department  The official word from the paper is that he is "taking time off." He is missing and is missed.

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