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Fingon
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:26 AM
this is truly pathetic. LA Times sends idiots with no knowledge at all to cover the event.

TJ Simmers is a proffessional idiot. LA Times didn't even bother to do a minimum research and of course came with stupid question like why Justine was wearing a watch:rolleyes: , a real showing of intelligence and originality by the reporter.

He was surprised because Elena Dementieva is # 19 and was in the field when he was "told" that the best 16 players play :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

If that kind of assholes are sent to cover the event by LA Times, do you wonder ther isn't a good attendance level? people probably don't know there is a tennis tournaments, I guess LA Times doesn't know either.

This is a transcript of the article.

A Good Place for Those With Time on Hands
T.J. Simers

November 7 2002

I was sitting with Elgin Baylor in Staples Center on Wednesday afternoon, and if you had noticed Elgin Baylor sitting all by himself indoors on a wonderful sunny day watching two women playing tennis, you'd have gone out of your way, too, to make sure the Clippers' general manager was feeling all right.

I had been vaccinated before coming to the women's tournament, and because I know there have been cases of some strange side effects after getting a flu shot, I tried talking to Baylor in the event he had just gotten his and was now delirious and had no idea where he was.

"You know, I'd like to know why she's wearing a watch too," Baylor said after I pointed to the flashy wristwatch one of the tennis players was wearing. "I'll betcha it's because she's superstitious."

When I arrived at Staples Center, I couldn't think of any good reason to actually talk to a tennis player, but now I was on a mission to satisfy Baylor's curiosity. So I went to the Chick Hearn Press Room only to discover the tennis reporters were watching "Days of Our Lives."

That would explain why Sports Editor and tennis groupie Bill Dwyre knows all about Lexie Carver's being thrown in jail on kidnapping charges, and to be honest, I can't blame tennis reporters for watching anything but tennis.

*

JUSTINE HENIN, the wristwatch player, took her place on the podium so the tennis reporters could pay homage, and said, "It's hard to find the great motivation" to play when the arena is almost empty.

The tennis reporters seemed to appreciate that, but I found that odd, asking her, "Isn't the money [$765,000 to the winner] enough motivation" to play tennis for a couple of hours?

She came back with some double talk, so then I let her have it: "I don't watch a lot of tennis," I said. "Why do you wear a watch out there? Are you paid to wear a watch -- you know, an endorsement?"

"No," she said, and you would have thought I had asked her for Anna Kournikova's phone number with the dirty look I got.

When the news conference ended, I went to Henin but was stopped by an official who scolded me for being "too direct."

Then Henin said, "too aggressive," and that's when I noticed Baylor standing in the rear of the room, and I knew he was dying to know if he was right, so I asked her again about the watch and she crumbled. (Imagine what the sight of one of the Williams sisters is going to do to her).

"I have a contract with Rolex to wear a watch when I play," she admitted, and I was about to tell her she had just lied to everyone a few minutes earlier, but, perturbed, she cut off an interview with another Times reporter, made a face and walked out.

A short time later one of the tournament's public relations officials came to me and said, "Don't write that column."

I found that amusing, of course, because if I agreed not to write a column every time a public relations official or Dwyre told me not to write a column, I'd never have a column in the newspaper.

"I had no idea you were one of those columnists," the official said, "and you can quote me on that."

Now I was really confused. First I'm told not to write a column, and then I'm told to quote the official in the newspaper. I asked for a clarification and the official began crying and then scurried from the room.

*

THEY ADVERTISED that the top 16 women in tennis were going to be here, but when the first match started, the announcer introduced Elena Dementieva, "the 19th-ranked player in the world."

I found this odd and asked a tournament official, who directed me to Jeremy, who then sent me to Rob, who said he couldn't talk, but Jim could. By that time I forgot what I wanted to ask.

When the first match started, and then the second, I noticed both of them had something in common: No one was here to watch the women play. So I went to the front of Staples to see if the doors were still locked, and ran into the guy who was selling programs.

"Sold 10," he said, which makes him the best salesman I've ever met because the programs didn't include a schedule of who was playing.

*

MOST OF the concession stands were closed, although they had charged folks as much as $1,250 to attend all 10 sessions of this tournament, but I guess everyone realized no one would bother to show up to watch Henin play.

I counted 87 fans on one side of the arena and 93 on the other side and sat in section 116 so it could be said someone did. That left sections 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 117, 118, 104 and 107 empty. I think I would have noticed the "Justine Henin Fan Club" if it was there.

Take the smallest imaginable Sparks' crowd, subtract several thousand, and that's how many fans showed up for the evening session to watch Lindsay Davenport collapse against Monica Seles. I'd provide a more accurate count, but as of 10 p.m. officials were too embarrassed to announce the attendance, saying the doors were still open and somebody might walk in -- by accident.

The Staples' folks have a seven-year commitment for this tournament, which means if they want to draw a crowd, they better fix it so Kournikova gets an invite the next six years.

"There's a much prettier girl here than Kournikova," one official said. "Daniela Hantuchova will be playing [this afternoon]."

I think I have a dentist appointment -- as soon as I can call and make one.

*

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com

wongqks
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:32 AM
what an idiot, and yah it is not surprising he is a male as well, LOL sometimes I feel they enjoy this kind of thing and take cheap shots and make them look intelligent

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:47 AM
You can tell he was really excited to draw this assignment.

Fingon
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:49 AM
Originally posted by wongqks
what an idiot, and yah it is not surprising he is a male as well, LOL sometimes I feel they enjoy this kind of thing and take cheap shots and make them look intelligent

the way to look intelligent for him would be to keep his mouth shut

Dawn Marie
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:50 AM
Yeah so many dumbasses anymore! What a complete joker!! For all we know this could have been a wedding present from her fiance'.

Gallofa
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:50 AM
Actually, I find his outlook quite amusing. It's probably the idea any non-fanatic (detract all WTAworld posters then) would get from attending the tournament.

We are obssesed, and will happily sit through any match, but we are 1% of the fans (IF!) - those 93 + 87 that guy counted - the WTA has to change something if they want to fill those big stadiums. He went there hoping to find something to critizise and with no interest whatsoever and found plenty to critizise and nothing to interest him. I have only seen the pictures of the stadium, but they do look pathetic.

Of course he gloats about making a few people uncomfortable as if that was something to be proud of, which I have no respect for... but the parts where he just describes what was going on are probably very close to a non-fan perspective.

We always complain about the fact that the experts don't get the game, they are uniformed, don't know their stats, aren't obssesed enough... well, wake up call, it's the non-experts that matter. It's the non-obssesed that will fill stadiums.

wongqks
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:55 AM
Gallofa, I made heavy criticism about what happen in LA, but the way he proud himself of making fun of Justine, and downgrading women tennis as a whole without giving any intelligent reasoning disgust me.

I never mind people criticise women tennis, in the end it is not the players fault that WTA is making a fool of themselves, but when a writer decide to take a cheap shot without haveing a good knowledge, and research, that make him a bad writer

Fingon
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:56 AM
Originally posted by Gallofa
Actually, I find his outlook quite amusing. It's probably the idea any non-fanatic (detract all WTAworld posters then) would get from attending the tournament.

We are obssesed, and will happily sit through any match, but we are 1% of the fans (IF!) - those 93 + 87 that guy counted - the WTA has to change something if they want to fill those big stadiums. He went there hoping to find something to critizise and with no interest whatsoever and found plenty to critizise and nothing to interest him. I have only seen the pictures of the stadium, but they do look pathetic.

Of course he gloats about making a few people uncomfortable as if that was something to be proud of, which I have no respect for... but the parts where he just describes what was going on are probably very close to a non-fan perspective.

We always complain about the fact that the experts don't get the game, they are uniformed, don't know their stats, aren't obssesed enough... well, wake up call, it's the non-experts that matter. It's the non-obssesed that will fill stadiums.

yes Gallofa, but precisely, the non-experts need the media to keep them informed, the reporters have to be knowledgeable and inform the public, not be one of them !!!

If the reporters are that dumb, the "casual fans" will never get into the sport, that idiot is a reporter from the second largest newspaper in the US, and has no clue whatsoever.

Fans pay to watch the event, that idiot is paid to be there.

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:58 AM
Precisely, Fingon. It is part of a sports reporters job to generate fan interest in sports.

Gallofa
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:06 AM
Yes, but the point is that he got in, saw the inside we are all dying to see, got the nice seats, didn't even have to pay for his ticket, probably got free food and drinks, talked to the players (whom we think so highly of) and he is someone who is into sports but he found the whole event shocking. If the WTA can't lure people like him to say something nice about the event how can they hope to lure someone who is deciding between attending a (insert sport) match or that WTA thing on staples centre?

Of course I am asuming he's a professional, I don't know his record, you might be able to tell me otherwise? but if he is, even if he's not interested in tennis, I think we could admit he's being objective and not intentionally malicious, if the even was a raging sucess and he hadn't mentioned it, I would dismiss his opinion, but the event, on the day he went was a failure and he just simply says so (minus all that stuff about Henin and making officials cry of course).

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:08 AM
Well, if its basketball it would have to be the Clippers, because the Lakers play at Staples.

ttaM
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:10 AM
Anyone gonna send him an e-mail?

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:14 AM
Oh, I did.

ttaM
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:16 AM
Here's the jolly good fellow :o

http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/dt/V144/N42/sim.gif

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:40 AM
Here is my message, and his response.


Me: You might want to suggest someone else next time your superiors need an
article on women's tennis. Perhaps someone who either appreciates the sport,
respects the women, or at least has a vague clue what is going on. Clearly
none of these things apply to you.

Him: maybe somebody like you who lacks a sense of humor, nah, don't think that's
going to happen.

Gallofa
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:41 AM
Originally posted by disposablehero
Precisely, Fingon. It is part of a sports reporters job to generate fan interest in sports.

I thought the job was telling the people their opinion on the sporting event? their truthful opinion? not marketing the event (that's supposedly the job of the WTA... ha!)? why would he recommend anyone to pay the abismal amounts those tickets cost for what you get?

If he had made a great review and someone decided to go based on what he's written and found that empty stadium and the concession stands mostly closed and bought the program without the order of play and saw just 2 matches for all that money, wouldn't you agree that someone might feel cheated by the review of the journalist?

wongqks, I agree that he's not right in boasting about making people feel uncomfortable. I just think he brings in a valid point, as in what impression will you get if you are a non-fan? tennis reporters can do all the research and write about those amazing stats, to me there IS value to the opinion of someone who is not a tennis buff. It is unrealistic to expect an impartial party (not a tennis obssesive) to be anything but mildly interested, I love tennis, but I can understand why other people find it overpriced and not all that interesting.

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:49 AM
It's how you present it, Gallofa.

Now if he had said:

"Amazingly, the 2nd biggest Women's event in the Western Hemisphere is drawing sparse crowds. No doubt even the Serena Williams match tonight will go largely unsold." Then the sparse attendance sounds puzzling, and fans see an opportunity to get great seats, or maybe even get over by buying less expensive seats and sneaking closer.

LA has an extremely important event here. It dwarfs the other 4 Women's events in California for importance. A good reporter should be trying to keep important sporting events in his backyard.

DutchieGirl
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:55 AM
yeah B, the WTA has to do something to fill the stadiums... but idiots writing artciles like that isn't going to help them any! :sad:

Berlin_Calling
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:56 AM
LOL, everyone email this guy!

disposablehero
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:57 AM
Hey, he obviously reads them, so it would be good to send him a clear message as to where the tennis community finds fault with him.

kiwifan
Nov 8th, 2002, 01:57 AM
T.J. usually writes a wise-ass column; so sending him anywhere is done with humorous intent.

I guess everyone is okay with JH revealed as a casual liar?

That's my lasting impression of the article, she lied and the WTA officials ineptly attempted to enter into a conspiracy to cover it up.

Pro Athletes should be able to hack a couple of "probing" questions every now and then.

Greenout
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:00 AM
I hate this f788king piece of sh*t article.
It's nasty, ugly, and totally mean spirited.

This is why the American sporting public is
un-interested in women's tennis. It's only
about the big stars, the Sisters, or American
players. Who gives a frick about the others!!
It's pathetic- and makes me angry. Why the
crappy treatment? I promise you, this article
or attitude would never have happened out
of the USA!!!


I live out of the USA nowadays, and I don't
see this sort of garbage. I'm sure this guy
would have said the same thing about the
World Cup- but that's American sports for
you. Isolationistic, and nationalistic in the
worst possible way. Baseball World Series-
give me a freakin break. Where's the other
countries involved in this event? Cuba, Taipei,
etc... The American public thinks that the
sporting world revolves around events in
the USA. Phhyfffffffffffffffffff!

PhoenixStorm
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:03 AM
I dont understand why she lied either. All she had to say was no comment or the truth. Was the truth that bad?

also I agree that the guy does nothing good for womens tennis. Why didn't he blame the high muckamucks for the poor advertising and junior highschool marketing.

Fingon
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by kiwifan
T.J. usually writes a wise-ass column; so sending him anywhere is done with humorous intent.

I guess everyone is okay with JH revealed as a casual liar?

That's my lasting impression of the article, she lied and the WTA officials ineptly attempted to enter into a conspiracy to cover it up.

Pro Athletes should be able to hack a couple of "probing" questions every now and then.

oh so terrible, how she dared!!!, she didn't answer a stupid question asked by an idiot, we should crucify her:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Greenout
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:07 AM
Justine didn't answer correctly the first time about
the watch because she could spot an ARSEHOLE
and his ARSEHOLE questions a mile away. I bet she just
didn't want to deal with this creep.

Pureracket
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:13 AM
It's cool that the fans are emailing this reporter; however, I wonder what the brass at the WTA headquarters are going to do about it.

Chance
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:17 AM
Big deal Justine lied, Venus has lied too. Bloody hell it's not like they are confessing to a priest.

the reporter is a jerk, which is nothing new.

cynicole
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:19 AM
The thing that bothers me is that, rather than write any real criticism about the event, he writes the "easy" story.

*sigh* Is there any way we can e-mail his superiors?

Then that way we might be able to get what we probably ALL want: him not covering women's tennis anymore (with his attitude, I'm sure he wouldn't want to return).

(sheesh, and I thought Jim Rome repeatedly calling Jim Everett "Chris Evert" was bad.)

cynicole
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:21 AM
Originally posted by clocker
It's cool that the fans are emailing this reporter; however, I wonder what the brass at the WTA headquarters are going to do about it.

Hmm...anyone know anyone who can ask?

Maybe they're not gonna give the LA Times any interviews...or something. But, then again, they need all the advertisement they can get thanks to their marketing flub-up with this tournament.

grrr, WTA, grrr

Greenout
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:22 AM
The "Brass" at the WTA. ROTF. From what I've
seen all these years- they are spineless jellyfish.
Lindsay should just take over the whole bleeding
thing- and turn this titanic into a QE2.

cynicole
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:24 AM
Originally posted by Greenout
The "Brass" at the WTA. ROTF. From what I've
seen all these years- they are spineless jellyfish.

Stop! You're insulting jellyfish!

Greenout
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:30 AM
Your right Cyn- I apologize to JellyFish everywhere. :)

Gonzo Hates Me!
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:31 AM
What's his e-mail address?!

Berlin_Calling
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:32 AM
another name change nwan? ;) And the guys email address is on the bottom of the article :)

Gonzo Hates Me!
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:35 AM
Yes and Thanks!

Iconoclast
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:41 AM
He is not a tennis reporter. He is a sports columnist. This is feature, not news. It's supposed to have an edge, a tint, some spice, a bit of humor, perhaps a slice of sarcasm, or a dosis of irony. And I think he did a fairly good job of relaying how the Championships in the Staples Center come across to an outsider.

He doesn't strive to protect future sources and collaborators inside tennis, and is not afraid of direct confrontation with the players or the officials. I don't think that's a problem. Why should they be sheltered like small children? They are professionals.

It's not impolite to ask why a player wears a wristwatch, even if he probably did know, or should have known, the answer beforehand. Sure, it's an unusal question, but even the Clippers manager wondered about the same thing. Maybe Mr Simers could have uncovered a peculiar Henin ritual and shared it with his readers.

He didn't - but his query proved interesting nonetheless, as it revealed some of the inner workings of the WTA PR machine. Like that silly person who told him not to write his column. I sincerely hope that this individual is not advicing any of the players about how to deal with the press. That's one of the biggest no-no's.

Informing the readers about the precise number of people in attendance by actually counting them wasn't a bad idea either.

And he's right, of course. If the tournament is marketed as a gathering of the Top 16 in the world, what is the 19th-ranked player doing there? The answer is obvious - and he probably ought to have included it - but he still makes a valid point by highlighting this discrepancy.

No, he's not a tennis fan and probably never will be. But I don't think he can be lambasted for this article on any reasonable basis.

This is how Justine Henin should have responded to the question: "I like Rolex watches, and the company is sponsoring me. So I guess the answer is obvious. Next?"

It would have been honest and it would have taken the sting out of his "angle". To the point that he may not even have included it in his column and perhaps focused exclusively on the dismal crowd.

[Edited cause I misspelled the writer's name].

tia clara
Nov 8th, 2002, 02:49 AM
First of all, T. J. Simers is not a reporter, he is a columnist. Believe me, there is a difference. Reporters report, columnists write their views and opinions on whatever subject is their special interest.
Simers has opinions that infuriate a lot of people. The whole state of Nebraska is after his scalp after last year's Rose Bowl game, Sacramento basketball fans would like to hang, draw and quarter him. Now the WTA fans want to tar and feather him. He really is doing his job well!

BTW Fingon, his name is Simers, not Simmers.

I have been reading his column for a year and a half now, and I enjoy it very much. He either infuriates me with his male chauvinism or makes me laugh out loud at his send-ups of sports of all sorts. But he's a lot like sushi, either you love it or it makes you gag.

I am working hard on getting him to admit that the WNBA is much better than the NBA.

Fingon
Nov 8th, 2002, 03:32 AM
Well, call me boring, but I don't want a sports columnist to amuse me (that Simers what whatever his name is does a very poor job amusing me btw) but to inform me.

I like basketball, but I am not a fan, and obviously not an expert, if I read a column about a basketball game, I want to know about the game, I want someone to explain me what I don't understand or I couldn't see, I want someone to give me a qualified opinion, I couldn't care less what colour of underpant Shaquille O'Neal is wearing, of if Vince Carter is showing his ass because he is sponsoring toilette paper brand. That's the typical rubbish journalism, away from the fact, away from what is important, concentrate is stupid details.

If I want to laugh, I read a joke, if I read a sports column in a newspaper, I want information, reliable and qualified information, not stupid gossip. Having that asshole in their payroll tells me a lot about LA Times, I thought I was reading the National Enquirer

Freefall
Nov 8th, 2002, 04:17 AM
If that many people really wanted to kill him, tia, he'd be dead right now. He's obviously not doing his job as well as you say. :p


Guys, this typically overweight sports "columnist" (columnist being fancy talk for fluff) is like the selesrules of reporters. Just put him on ignore.

Unless his style of bitchy humor makes you wet yourself, then don't. It's a "free" country. *shrug*

Freefall
Nov 8th, 2002, 04:20 AM
Sorry selesrules, I didn't mean to compare you to someone so below you, I just couldn't think of anyone who could be on more ignore lists lol :p

Tratree
Nov 8th, 2002, 04:38 AM
My first impression of the article was that he was dead-on about the press being in the press room watching "Days". That is so spot on....they don't even watch the matches. They send like one reporter to watch it and follow an electronic scoreboard. That might explain some of the stupid questions they ask.

As far as the whole scenario about Henin and the watch, I had to laugh at the whole brouhaha he caused by asking Justine a question and then (GASP!) approaching her personally to follow up on it. The WTA coddles those players so much it is hilarious. They treat them like little time bombs that could go off if the wrong thing is said. They often have officials taking reporters off to the side and chastizing them for questions they asked or whatever. What a joke...they're big girls. Let them handle it.

Overall, the guy was a bit of an ass. If he didn't want to be there, don't go ;)

Greenout
Nov 8th, 2002, 04:44 AM
Gee. It's "Watchgate". :)

tia clara
Nov 8th, 2002, 11:51 AM
Hey, people, it's just his opinion...and as I have far too often read on this board, "Everyone has a right to their opinion." :)

2284
Nov 8th, 2002, 11:56 AM
If Justine can get a sponsorship deal from Rolex, that's great. I'd take it too (even if I only got a free watch through it).
The Rolex makes up for the poor clothing choices

bee
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:12 PM
What I heard is that... Reporters covering tennis events don't even need to watch the matches.. full reports/scores are given to them later on... :)
I guessed tennis is a boring sport to write about... :) There is not much to say to make it more interesting aside from writing the scores... :)

2284
Nov 8th, 2002, 12:15 PM
Originally posted by bee
What I heard is that... Reporters covering tennis events don't even need to watch the matches.. full reports/scores are given to them later on... :)
I guessed tennis is a boring sport to write about... :) There is not much to say to make it more interesting aside from writing the scores... :)

That's crap!!

MarcusRock
Nov 8th, 2002, 04:08 PM
I think the real winner of this "controversy" is Rolex. Who would have known that Justine had an endorsement deal from them if this guy didn't ask her and follow up on it? Sure Justine didn't have to lie about it and I bet Rolex wasn't happy that she tried to cover up the endorsement, but overall it worked out well for them. Now they've got more publicity than they ever would have had this guy not been so curious. He just didn't have to be such an ass in the process. I know I personally will be looking at Justine's wrist to take a look at the watch in her match this afternoon. I'm not going to go out and buy one but you know that a few trendy, keep-up-with-the-times shopaholic will.

Advantage-Rolex.