Monday, March 28, 2011

6 comments T.J. Simers Catches Back Up With Marcus Thames, Still Begs To Be Punched In The Face

I am sure everyone has heard now about T.J. Simers absolute suspension-worthy harassment of Marcus Thames by now. See, Thames had the audacity to sign a free agent contract with the Dodgers. This is a sin which apparently is punishable by T.J. Simers harassing and questioning your ability to play defense without exchanging any pleasantries before hand. Funny, I don't remember Simers harassing Jim Thome after he got traded to the Dodgers about why he only DH'd in the American League. So here is Simers original article. I am sure many have read or heard about the comments, but I will do a quick re-cap in case you haven't...then we can find out Simers caught up with Thames and acted like an ass AGAIN the day after he wrote the original article. Simers refuses to let the question of whether Thames knows he sucks at defense drop.

Here's what we know about Marcus Thames:

-Great home run hitter. Despite this, he hasn't really stuck with a team and been seen as important to keep around. This is mostly because he doesn't get on-base a lot and his defense isn't great.

-Overall seems like a good guy. His mom is paralyzed, and has been since he was five years old. He has helped take care of her. She hasn't gotten to see him play baseball very often.

-He served in the National Guard from 1994-1998.

Clearly, this is the kind of guy that needs to be accosted by a middle-aged sportswriter with an axe to grind. Here is the original article recap for some background when Simers catches back up with Thames after writing this.

Warning: This will make you want to hit T.J. Simers in the leg with a metal bat.

According to Dodgers' propaganda, this no-name thumper hits a home run every 15.58 at-bats — ranking him 27th in baseball history. Yowza!

Now you would think anyone ranked 27th in baseball history in anything would be a household name,

Not true. T.J. Simers has been ranked (by me) as the 27th biggest asshole in baseball history and we barely know his name. It must be the East Coast Bias.

I just know this: It's hard to believe such a monster with the bat would be available as a free agent and so cheaply the Dodgers could afford to sign him.

He's 33 and he didn't start last year. Just be happy the Dodgers got an affordable powerful bat like Thames has. He may not be a regular starter, but at least he is not expensive.

So I thought I might talk to Tims/Tems on Monday. Ordinarily I don't like to start off a week talking to stiffs, but that leaves so few Dodgers to interview these days.

He called Thames a stiff. Mind you, T.J. Simers has never met Marcus Thames in this life or another life. In fact, it is quite clear Simers had never heard of Thames until he joined the Dodgers. Knowing he's never met Thames, think about the appropriate way to introduce yourself to someone you have never met and throw it out the window. Simers doesn't play by those rules.

And besides, the Dodgers have assured me this stiff is different from all the others they have lined up to play left field.

Why is he calling Thames a "stiff?" Please tell me how T.J. Simers isn't suspended for his following actions as well.

Maybe it's because he's averaged only 44 games a season on defense, prompting an obvious question.

Why is T.J. Simers such a douchebag? Why doesn't Simers do research to find out Brett Gardner played LF for the Yankees and he is a good defensive player so that's why he didn't play much LF for the Yankees last year?

"Are you that horrible on defense that teams don't think it's worth playing such a home run threat?'' I asked by way of introduction.

This is how real sports journalists cover athletes. They don't introduce themselves, instead they walk up to a player with powdered donut remnants still hanging on their front lip and start insulting a player through the guise of asking a question.

If a blogger walked up to David Eckstein and asked him if he was such a valuable player why has he bounced around so much, the mainstream media would go apeshit on this blogger. Mike Lupica would write an article about how this is what is wrong with bloggers and the Internet in general. This would be a black mark against bloggers and there would be several hundred "basement-dwelling" jokes made.

Maybe somebody else wastes time schmoozing with Tims/Tems, but he's a one-year rental who has some explaining to do. How bad are you on defense that teams don't dare risk playing you?

Tims/Tems just smiled.

What an ass. Call the guy what he wants to be called, which is "Tems."

When I came back on Tims/Tems, he sat silent. I can see one problem he might have on defense if everyone is relying on him to yell "I got it."

This is just cheap writing. Marcus Thames is being a grown man and not yelling or cussing T.J. Simers out right now, no matter how hard Simers is baiting him. So that's why he is silent.

He said he wasn't going to talk to me because I hadn't introduced myself.

It's very possible Thames had no clue who Simers was. After all, Simers had no idea who Thames was until he accosted him for his failings in the field.

Unable to answer, he just stood and walked away.

All he would have had to say was, "It's now a Dodgers tradition to play left fielders who can't play defense," and everyone would have gotten one last laugh at Manny's expense.

Oh that's right, you hackjob of a writer, it is Thames' responsibility when you randomly approach him and start asking him insults disguised as questions to make a joke at the expense of another player. Simers was just setting Thames up for a great punchline!

I wonder how T.J. Simers would like it if Marcus Thames asked him the following question:

"Hey, T.J...why are you so ugly? Is it possible you are a print journalist and not on television talking about baseball because your face would make babies cringe in fear and cause them years of therapy?"

T.J. probably wouldn't like it, but see, all T.J. would have to do is laugh and say, "I'm not sure how Plaschke got on television either!"

It is just natural for an insult designed as a question to cause the person being asked the question to squeal with glee and fire off a punchline while taking a cheap shot at another person.

Instead he curled up into a ball, and I didn't even ask him about his anemic .248 lifetime batting average.

He goes on to say Tims/Tems' problems go way beyond criticism of his defense. "Maybe it's because he doesn't hit righties as good as lefties," Mattingly says.

Mattingly NEVER said that Thames has defensive problems, Simers is just assuming this to be a jerk. Mattingly said Thames not a Gold Glove player.

Mattingly is explaining why Thames hasn't stuck somewhere and saying INSTEAD of it being defensive problems, Mattingly is saying Thames problems starting in the field are that he doesn't hit righties well...not that he sucks defensively AND can't hit righties. Of course, Thames does hit righties well (at least in regard to for power), so it is his defense that is the problem. Still, this doesn't excuse Simers behavior.

So now we understand the Dodgers have a guy in left who can't catch, can't hit right-handed pitchers and can't answer questions about his obvious shortcomings.

And folks considered Manny a mess.

All credit to Marcus Thames for not popping T.J. Simers in the face.

Tony Paul for the Detroit News takes Simers to task in a great way. Well done, sir. It is good to see a mainstream media member correctly calling out poor writing.

Of course, this one incident wasn't enough for Simers. His inability to see what an ass he acted like caused him to go see Thames again the next day. Simers wrote about his next meeting with Thames right after a fluff piece he did on Clayton Kershaw and how mature he was. I think Thames was more mature both times T.J. Simers approached then Clayton Kershaw ever could have been. So Simers randomly approaches Thames again. Oh, and Simers still acts like an asshole.

MARCUS THAMES, pronounced "Tims/Tems," ran past me carrying a first baseman's glove. I guess the Dodgers don't want him to hurt himself, so they took away his outfield glove.

So even if I am going to ignore the overt dickishness of this comment, why would it logically make sense to put a player who may get hurt in the field at first base? I am not sure if T.J. Simers watches baseball or just taunts baseball players, but first base is a position that has a lot of defensive activity attached to it. It's not a place you can hide a poor defensive player.

"Come on and help me out," he says with a laugh.

Or as I would translate what Thames said to what I would say, "Stay away from me until you can apologize. It is seriously in your best interests to not be near me right now."

He caught the first eight out of 10 ground balls at first, the next 11 straight and I guess the Dodgers will be moving James Loney to left field.

So now when Thames actually plays well in the field in front of Simers, he meets this with a healthy dose of sarcasm. This leads me back to ask three questions:

1. Why does T.J. Simers hate Marcus Thames? If he doesn't like the signing shouldn't he at least take it out on the Dodgers' front office? Is he an angry fan or a journalist?

2. After his article from yesterday, how did the LA Times let Simers go back out and speak with Thames again? Weren't they afraid perhaps Thames would confront Simers or is that what they wanted?

3. Why did Marcus Thames speak to Simers? He even made a joke, like Simers wanted him to make the day before when Simers originally insulted Thames, and that still wasn't good enough for ol' T.J....he had to be a sarcastic asshole about it.

"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.

"Before walking off in a snit?"

You walked up to the man, without introducing yourself or saying anything else, and confronted him about why his career hasn't been as successful as you, T.J. Simers, seem to think his career should have been. You, as T.J. Simers, had this thought of why Thames didn't get a lot of playing time despite not knowing anything about him and then confronted him in the manner pedophiles used to get confronted on NBC by Chris Hansen.

"Are you that horrible on defense that teams don't think it's worth playing such a home run threat?"

He can't even preface it with, "I should have introduced myself first. I'm T.J. Simers and I am sorry for why I confronted you like that. I do have a question for you."

"No, I'm not that bad of a defensive player," he says, and that wasn't so tough, now was it?

What a jerk. What wasn't so hard? Answering a question from a guy who the previous day didn't introduce himself or say anything else other than criticize the way Thames played baseball? It isn't so tough to just ask a simple question AFTER giving an introduction and explaining who you are, is it? Yet, Simers STILL can't do this.

"They're not getting a DH," he says. "If I can get out there on a more consistent basis, I can prove myself."

"Certain righties," he says. "I'm a better hitter against right-handers than people think."

.236/.296/.480 with 68 home runs and 175 RBI's in 1011 at-bats. Over an entire season of 500 at-bats if he hit this way he would have around 34 home runs and 87 RBIs. His batting average and OBP would be terrible, but old school writers like T.J. Simers don't care about OBP anyway.

That brings up an entire other point...when did old school writers like T.J. Simers start caring about defensive metrics? Isn't it about how a player hits for his team and how his team does in their mind? Thames has been on some successful teams and has hit a ton of home runs. If his name was David Eckstein that would be great. Thames isn't a great hitter against righties, but I am not sure his performance is worthy of as much scorn as Simers gives him.

Now as for running away from the obvious question a day earlier, Thames says, "I didn't handle it well because I've never been approached the way I was approached. It shocked the hell out of me."

Because it was an asshole way of asking a question. How would T.J. Simers like it if someone who didn't know him walked up to him and started asking him questions about why his articles were written so terribly? I doubt he would make a joke and then ask the person to go out for a beer later.

I found it odd that over the last nine years that no one had asked him about his poor defense keeping him from becoming an everyday player.

Somebody probably has asked him that. Before they asked him that they probably took the following polite and professional steps:

1. Introduce themselves.

2. Ask them the tough question in a less confrontational manner to where the purpose is to get an actual answer and not an angry response. The purpose of asking the question is to get an answer, I would assume, so why ask the question in a manner that won't get a response?

"I heard talk, but no one had ever said it directly to me," he says, understandably thrilled now to have it said to his face rather than behind his back.

T.J. Simers is a fucking hero in his own mind. He just awarded himself the Presidential Medal of Honor in Simers-world and he is now giving a 10-minute speech about true heroes who ask the tough questions to athletes.

I can't help but wonder what goes on in T.J. Simers' mind. Does he really believe himself to be noble for asking the question to Thames face about his defense? Has he changed Thames life in some manner? More importantly, what caused him to believe Thames needed to be asked in this manner, like it was an intervention or something?

Just took him 24 hours to be thrilled. That's all.

Thames never said he was thrilled and there are very few baseball players that would have been thrilled to get asked a blunt insulting question like the one T.J. Simers asked. There are even fewer baseball players who would have given a question like that any type of response, especially when the person asking the question hasn't even taken the time or courtesy to introduce himself to the player.


rich said...

I honestly don't understand how in the world Simers thought what he did was acceptable behavior. To then turn around and act surprised and indignant when the person at the end doesn't act like nothing is wrong.

What is it with sportswriters these days acting like childish assholes and then bitching that players aren't treating them the same way they used to?

Gee, why won't this guy answer my questions? I've been perfectly reasonable to him!

It's absolutely clear that Simers was pissed off at Thames for some reason and refused to let anything get in the way of that. The first time, Thames wasn't witty enough to come up with the Manny joke; the second time, Thames actually makes a joke and attempts, defying all odds, to be nice to Simers. In neither case did Thames act the way Simers wanted.

Simers wanted Thames to come out and say "You're absolutely right, I suck at baseball," which is absolutely pathetic.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I don't get it either. What kills me is two things:

1. Why did he have to question Thames like that? Is he such an important acquisition at such a high cost this question needed answering?

2. Why ask him in such a confrontational manner? He had to know he wouldn't get an answer AT BEST. At worst, he'd get punched.

I don't get it at all. I read somewhere Simers said he asked the question like a fan, no you didn't. Fans would be more respectful.

What is also interesting is Simers claims to know nothing about Thames, so what could he be angry about? Why would he logically expect Thames to answer an insult with a joke at another player's expense? I would not have been nice the next day. I would have probably refused to speak at all.

Why did Simers want Thames to say that though? That's what I don't get. He doesn't on-base a lot and he isn't a great defender, is that worth a confrontation?

rich said...


What is also interesting is Simers claims to know nothing about Thames, so what could he be angry about?

I think that's actually what made him angry. He's TJ fucking Simers and by god he should only be interview good players!

So you have a guy who is interviewing someone he doesn't want to be interviewing. Combine that with the fact that Simers seems to be kind of a dick and must've thought "hey, no one is going to read an article about Marcus Thames, but they'll read an article where I get him to say negative stuff about himself or if he won't then he'll do something stupid that I can write about."

IMO that's the best case scenario for Simmers and he still comes out smelling like cow shit.

If he was asking this like a fan would have, what kind of fan is emulating? I mean even people who bash players on internet forums would have the decency to, at the very least, sugar coat the question. Had he come out and said "Marcus, your HR rate is incredible, but yet you've been kind of a utility journeyman type of player. What do you think is the reason for this and do you feel as if the negative sentiments regarding your defense are part of the reason?"

Why did Simers want Thames to say that though? That's what I don't get. He doesn't on-base a lot and he isn't a great defender, is that worth a confrontation?

Beyond even the "people would read the article if Thames reacted the way Simers expected him too," I honestly don't think Simers feels as if he did anything wrong. He, like you said, feels like he's a hero and so it's not out of the question to think that Simers thinks that this is a proper way to talk to people.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, that's what I don't get even more. Fine, Simers is wanting to interview a player like a fan would. But he didn't know anything about Thames, including how to pronounce his name, other than the fact he hit home runs and probably isn't a good fielder. I don't believe a fan would be that irate over Thames' signing before he actually played that he would take it out on Thames and not ownership.

For example, I'm not going to go batshit crazy and start asking Dan Uggla why he is such a terrible fielder because he hasn't played a game for the Braves yet, and I haven't worked myself up in a lather over how bad he is.

So I don't think a fan would be that angry over a player in left field in spring training he would take it out on the player.

What annoys me is he wanted to piss of Thames, and good job to Thames for not letting him do it. He didn't want an answer. He wanted to piss Thames off and then make him look like an ass...for whatever reason, he seems to have wanted to do this.

Simers could have asked the question in a manner to get a response and get his readers information, but he chose not to.

Apparently Simers has done this before...the called Andruw Jones The Tubbo or something like that.

ivn said...

BGF: to answer your first question, the LA media and most Dodgers fans have been unhappy with the fact that the Dodgers didn't make any big moves this offseason (I'd imagine especially because their rivals just won the World Series)--as you've seen with some of the Plaschke columns you've covered. Simers is apparently too big of a coward to take shots at the Dodgers' front office, so he used Thames (one of their acquisitions) as a sacrificial lamb/whipping boy instead. That's bad enough, but this column is downright heinous to anyone familiar with Thames's life and upbringing.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, I do understand that frustration, but to another extent what are the expectations among Dodgers fans? Clearly, the team wasn't going to be spending more money due to the McCourt divorce. I know it is frustrating, but if I were a Dodgers fan I would probably be upset, yet have expected this to happen. As a Braves fan, I am used to Liberty Media giving the team a similar budget for the last 5-6 years and claiming they can't give anymore, when we know that isn't true. My expectation is the team is going to spend money to a point.

It probably does suck that the Giants won the WS and the Dodgers are being cheap.

So as a journalist, Simers feels like he needs to get to the bottom of the Dodgers' money problems and reflect the fan's frustrations, I can get this. Still, like you said, it was a coward thing to do. Why go after Thames and not the front office or someone who actually makes decisions?