So I run into Dodger Manager Jim Tracy on Saturday night and he tells me, "I want to meet the Zen Master."
That wouldn't be my first choice, but I guess he figures he's got no shot with Jeanie Buss or some of the Laker Girls that I hang with, or maybe like everyone else in L.A. right now, Tracy's just enamored with the coach and players.
I ask him what he thinks of the Lakers, and Tracy tells me, "They're pretty good." With lines like that, let me tell you, he's got no shot.
BUT TRACY had a message for the Lakers, and I could tell by the demanding tone in his voice that he wanted me to leave Edison Field right away--he's not the first Dodger manager to suggest that--and deliver it to the guys: "How 'bout a three-peat!"
I think I muttered something ridiculous like, "How 'bout a bunt from Tom Goodwin every three years!" because this whole business about wanting even more from the Lakers, talking dynasty and comparing them to the great teams of all time 24 hours into their second year as World Champions is irritating.
The Lakers are the very best team the NBA has to offer right now, Phil Jackson is tops as head coach and no one is more dominant than Shaquille O'Neal. Let the parade begin.
That should be enough said, but less than 24 minutes after beating Philadelphia, reporters were asking Kobe Bryant if he and Shaq were going to have problems next year.
The media asked Derek Fisher if this was the beginning of a dynasty, and he was still trying to catch his breath from chasing Allen Iverson.
Another reporter asked Tyronn Lue, "Where does this team compare with some of the great teams in history?" as if Lue is even old enough to know Bill Walton wasn't always a broadcaster.
A story in the New York Times revisited the Red Auerbach harangue about Jackson lacking the credentials to be mentioned in the same sentence as Boston's former head coach. Another former Boston coach, Tom Heinsohn, went on the radio and laughed at the suggestion of these Lakers being one of the all-time great teams.
You talk dynasty, three-peat or history comparisons, and there's going to be an argument, which is going to take something away from the Lakers' grueling accomplishment of winning a division title and then posting a 15-1 playoff record to win the title. What an amazing feat.
As the Zen Master has taught us, just live in the moment, and get used to a catcher batting leadoff for the Dodgers.
IF YOU missed Friday's Southern California Living section in The Times, you missed a doozy. In a Perspective column, Lynn Smith wrote about her infatuation with Iverson, calling him the "ultimate summer romance."
I was thinking at best--"a one-night stand" given the 76ers' staying power in the NBA Finals--but Smith seemed more smitten.
Smith said watching Iverson play, she was mesmerized. She said she has never cared who won when watching sports before, but born and raised in L.A., she was rooting now for the 76ers and Iverson.
And she concluded, she was not alone. "Almost everyone, women especially, seems to be captivated by the energetic scrapper."
She didn't come out and actually ask for a date, but who knows what the editors took out of her story?
Now I've had women tell me they like men who are considered bad boys, which of course leaves a good guy like myself out, but I've never read such a blatant pitch for one when she wrote: "There are plenty of great ballplayers, solid Boy Scouts, without his sexy joie de vivre, vulnerability, unpredictability and excitement."
I can't wait to try that joie de vivre line on Anna Kournikova when she comes to town. By then maybe somebody will tell me what it means.
IN THE 10th race at the Stockton Fair on Saturday, the announcer told the crowd the winning mule was a "3-year-old daughter of Bill Clinton."
From all reports--no one in the crowd seemed surprised.
FYI: Remy's Runner was sired by a beast named, "Bill Clinton."
DURING THE Lakers' final victory over the 76ers, NBC flashed a promotional ad for the U.S. Open on the TV screen--with a picture of David Duval.
I just don't see David Duval as must-see TV.
I KNOW I've caught myself yelling at the TV on more than one occasion while watching the Southern California Sports Report on Fox: "Are those people drunk?" Friday night, however, was the first time reporter Lisa Guerrero appeared on air with a microphone in one hand and a champagne bottle in the other while covering the Lakers' victory.
ANGEL MANAGER Mike Scioscia knew Friday night that Wally Joyner was playing his final game before retiring, and asked Joyner if he'd like one last at-bat. But Joyner said, if he wasn't needed, he'd prefer to end his career with the memory of Thursday's pinch-hit, RBI single against the Giants.
WITHOUT TIGER Woods in contention, the U.S. Open is the St. Jude Classic.
LAST WEEK'S St. Jude Classic did not have Tiger, and what does that say about the Angels-Dodgers' rivalry when Sunday's golf tourney had 3.9 rating, while the baseball game had a 3.2?
OF THE 18 players, including a designated hitter for each team, who started for the Dodgers and Angels on Friday night, none of them had a batting average of .300 or better. That's what happens when you give Paul Lo Duca the night off.
TODAY'S LAST Word comes in a heartfelt e-mail from me to the people of Philadelphia:
Thanks for the memories . . . brief as they were.
T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org