He Reaches Out, Makes Contact With Garrett
I had my USC cap on, and my Trojan aloha shirt when I walked into USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s suite in the Coliseum before Saturday’s game with Notre Dame and suggested it was time we embrace.
For the record, he did not immediately recoil, which was nice, because I get that a lot at home.
In fact, Garrett took a step forward, and while I thought he was taking a closer look at my Trojan garb, in hindsight I think he was trying to catch a whiff to determine whether I had been drinking at one of the tailgate parties.
The truth is I spent a couple of hours at the Donn Carper Tailgate Shindig with my fellow Trojan supporters talking about how we rule the football world, and it was the daughter, the Notre Dame grad who has become Miss Radio Personality, who left snookered, screaming something about Carper’s son Scott and how he was the hottest man she had ever seen.
I recall her mother doing the same thing, only she was yelling Jimmy Stewart’s name and he was something like 60 or 65 years old, and the wife wasn’t drinking at the time.
Anyway, I reached out to shake Garrett’s hand and he didn’t slug me. Instead, he introduced me to two other men in his suite, and as luck would have it, neither one was Steven Sample.
I congratulated Garrett on the birth of his twins, and I thought it was kind of cool that he got the message, what with everyone always waving two fingers in his face.
Ordinarily this is the time when he expects me to disappear, a few seconds after saying hello and then goodbye, but I’m used to dealing with people who expect me to disappear. I kept right on talking and told him about the father-daughter Sunday morning radio show, and how we would like to chat with him after our blowout win over UCLA.
Garrett said, “Maybe we could talk next spring,” and I guess he hasn’t listened to the show, because it’ll be canceled by then.
I told him this would be our chance to embrace -- over the telephone line -- and he seemed to like that a lot. Or maybe the babies had kept him up all night, and he was just too tired to argue, but whatever, he surrendered.
“OK, I’ll do it,” he said. “These two guys here will be witnesses. I’ll do it.”
It’ll be great, although I just hope we’re not talking about UCLA’s stirring win over USC next Sunday morning, because that could make our chat a little awkward.
WE ACCEPTED the invitation to the Carper Tailgate Shindig after receiving repeated e-mails from Donn Carper, feeling sorry for the guy and figuring no one ever comes to his tailgate parties, or why else would he invite us?
We arrived, however, to find a crowd and Scott, the hottest guy the daughter has ever seen. This could have presented a problem, because the daughter came to the game with her friend John, but he seemed to gracefully accept his plight in life, runner-up, at best, to Scott.
Carper, who paid the freight to send three kids through USC -- Scott, Kellee and Todd -- surprisingly wasn’t charging folks to attend the party. But then he’s married to Meg -- with one “g” -- so the guy’s a little unconventional.
The Carper family, which has had the same seats in the Coliseum for 70 years and which have been tailgating together in the same spot for 30 years, shares the space with Mary and Taylor Richardson.
Mary’s chili was the highlight of the night, especially if you were a Notre Dame fan, or John.
THE TROJANS had Notre Dame beaten, and Matt Leinart could have started making plans to display his Heisman Trophy, but apparently that wasn’t enough for Uncle Pete.
Uncle Pete has been about class, refusing to run up the score or lobbying for BCS or No. 1 attention, but when he called for a fake punt in a game already won and later told the media he’s been looking for a chance to run that play, he damaged his immediate chances for canonization.
You look for an opportunity to run that play when you need something big to swing momentum, or rally from behind or grab a first down in the hopes of hanging on for victory.
None of that applied, and running up the score one play later probably did more harm than good in bolstering USC’s No. 1 status and Leinart’s bid for the Heisman.
Was the fake punt inappropriate? “No way,” said Notre Dame Coach Ty Willingham in offering a classy response. “We play the game of football, and that is part of it.”
LEINART LOCKED up the Heisman, but Reggie Bush still remains the team’s MVP as far as I’m concerned.
LOS ANGELES ANGEL owner Arte Moreno, like Clipper owner Donald Sterling two weeks ago, will be making his radio debut today on the father-daughter gabfest at 9 a.m. on XTRA Sports (690/1150). There’s one question that I think everyone would obviously like to ask Moreno: Is he a regular viewer of “The O.C.”?
LAST WEEK Times columnist Bill Plaschke snapped his fingers and demanded a new contract for Manager Jim Tracy, and the Dodgers complied. I would have been more impressed had Plaschke snapped his fingers and the Dodgers had signed Carlos Beltran.
TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Joan Madison:
“Target stores have the kitchen towels with the cherry motif. I bought six of them, made curtains and a valance -- your wife will tell you what that is. I’m surprised your wife [shops in such places]. I guess you were a discount choice too.”
Well, she is always looking for a good deal.
T.J. Simers can be reached at email@example.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.