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Ranking Sports Executives in L.A. Is a Funny Business

The Los Angeles Business Journal has released its list of Southern California’s Most Influential Executives in Sports, and upon first glance there’s no argument here with the placing of Guerrero at No. 8 and Dwyre at No. 13.

But I didn’t need a comprehensive study by David Carter’s Sports Business Group on behalf of the L.A. Business Journal to tell me Lisa Guerrero has a lot more going for her than Bill Dwyre, The Times’ old sports editor.

I was interested, though, in the poor, pathetic names that followed at Nos. 14-25, who apparently lacked the influence to finish higher than Dwyre.

“I’m sure when those people [following Dwyre] saw the rankings, they scurried off to Home Depot to buy some rope,” Carter said.

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TIM LEIWEKE (and it took me the longest time to learn how to spell his name) topped the list, which makes it pretty clear his attempt to put together a winning hockey team wasn’t taken into account.

Leiweke is the mouthpiece for Denver recluse and billionaire Philip Anschutz, and apparently the King of L.A.

“Anyone who doubts or fails to acknowledge Leiweke’s omnipotence, does so at great risk,” Carter told the Business Journal, which explains why Carter picked the omnipotent Leiweke over everyone else.

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Fox Sports’ David Hill, known best for being the brains behind the “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” which I would think you would want to keep a secret, finished second. Now for those keeping track, that’s Leiweke, in charge of a losing hockey team, and Hill, the only one I know who thinks Tom Arnold is funny, finishing one-two in this cream-of-the-crop L.A. sports executive poll.

Who’s next? Donald Sterling?

No, he finished 12th and in a tie with Dwyre. Now who do you think feels worse this morning? Sterling or Dwyre? The editors at the Business Journal broke the tie, and placed Dwyre 13th. I wonder whether Sterling does any advertising in the Business Journal.

Now what does it say for sports in L.A. when a group of sports experts takes a look at six areas of impact and comes to the conclusion that Sterling, a man who runs a miserable franchise that has missed the playoffs 17 of the last 20 years, is the 12th-most influential sports executive in town?

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Ed Roski, who failed to bring an NFL team to L.A., is No. 3, ahead of Jerry Buss, who has no more room to display all the championship trophies his team has won. Arte Moreno, owner of the Angels, sits at No. 5, and I know what you’re thinking, how far down the list do we have to go before we get to the Spanos Goofs?

USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett comes next, followed by Frank and Jamie McCourt, so you would think we’d have to be getting close to the Goofs. The McCourts have done nothing since coming here, but it was good enough to make them No. 7.

“With the McCourts, it’s like the Clintons -- you get both of them,” Carter said, and I’m pretty sure there’s a cheap impeachment joke in there somewhere, but I’m already pressing my luck with the old sports editor.

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COACHES AND players were not eligible for poll consideration, and “only the most influential person could be chosen from any one organization,” which still doesn’t explain why Dwyre got the nod over Larry Stewart.

Guerrero was No. 8, of course. Oh -- sorry, Dan Guerrero, the UCLA athletic director. For some reason I just had Lisa Guerrero on my mind. Guerrero ranks highly because he’s been perfect to date -- hiring coaches who can’t win.

Anita DeFrantz, the Olympic muck-a-muck, is the only woman on the list at No. 9 -- if you don’t count Lady McCourt, and I certainly don’t. The guy who heads the company that makes aluminum bats, and the guy who owns the Pond, follow.

Then come the Sterling and Dwyre twosome with this excerpt from Dwyre’s bio in the Business Journal (with some added remarks for clarification):

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“Joined the Times in 1981 (which really makes him ancient).... Shapes public opinion on player trades and negotiations (not if you’ve read anything he’s written).... Shows no signs of stepping aside, though that doesn’t stop newsroom speculation (mostly by deputy Athan Atsales) on a successor -- the department is loaded with deputies (who can’t wait for the chance to play golf all the time once they become sports editor). As a Notre Dame alumnus, Dwyre covers Trojan-Fighting Irish games with particular gusto (although he hasn’t said much about Notre Dame ever since Pete Carroll came to town).”

The folks who follow Sterling and Dwyre, of course, would prefer not to have their names mentioned, although it was interesting to see Magic Johnson at No. 21 and agent Scott Boras at No. 25 with Eli Broad sandwiched between at No. 22.

Obviously, Johnson has influence, or why would they have put up a statue of him in front of a building in which he never played? And you have to credit Boras’ influence on the Dodgers in making them the overpriced, mediocre team they are today.

But as far as I know, Broad has done nothing more in sports here than get splashy headlines in The Times when he said he’d bring an NFL team to town, and splashy headlines again when he said he’d buy the Dodgers. I guess getting flashy headlines in The Times is enough to make you No. 22 on the list of the 25 most influential sports executives in these parts.

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TODAY’S LAST word comes from TV and radio host Roger Lodge:

“Thanks so much for the recent mention in your column. I feel like I finally arrived in show business. By the way, if your kid needs a date, I may be able to help [with a Blind Date].”

But are you sure he’s blind?

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.


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