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As Tribute Columns Go, This Is No Award Winner

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

The Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission has decided to give Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre an award because he’s old.

When I heard about it, I thought this might be a good time to break Page 2 tradition and write something nice about the old codger. Of course, I had no idea how difficult an assignment this would be.

I asked Dwyre’s executive assistant, Kelly Burgess, when Dwyre became sports editor of The Times, and she said, “I wasn’t there when Dwyre started; I was still in high school.”

Dwyre’s probably best known around here for pumping up his alma mater, Notre Dame, but in doing homework to find something nice to say about the guy, I was surprised to learn he has a B.A. from Notre Dame rather than a B.S.

He’s always claimed that he worked hard, but he was Jim Murray’s boss, which means he read Murray’s column every day and said, “Great job, Jim, great job.”

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Dwyre likes to say of Murray: “He was the best writer because he kept doing it at an incredibly high level. Second place isn’t even close.” He’s always been inspiring like that, his staff of writers all competing as hard as they can now to maybe finish a distant second to Murray.

I thought it would be a good idea to write down all the good things, or thing, that Dwyre has done over the years, but I was interrupted. I got a tip from someone who would like to remain anonymous -- and obviously Deputy Sports Editor Dave Morgan knows better than to suggest such a thing -- that Dwyre was going to appear tonight on Fox’s “Best Damn Sports Show, Period.”

Morgan told me because he knew I’d want to make fun of Dwyre, and Morgan wants Dwyre’s job, so if there’s a chance Morgan is going to be my new boss then I better make fun of Dwyre. Obviously, I’m just doing what I’m told.

Now for those of you who don’t know Dwyre, he once told an interviewer, “If you love to write, then doing it -- doing it well and on deadline -- is better than sex. There’s nothing like it.”

So you can see it’s pretty easy to make fun of the guy. (Thanks to Morgan for finding me that quote.)

Dwyre also told the interviewer he was 36 once -- as if anyone believes that -- and the LASEC says Dwyre will be getting the same Ambassador Award of Excellence that John Wooden, Pat Haden, Al Michaels and Pam Shriver received previously -- as if anyone believes that. (I argued with Morgan that some people might think of him as worthy as the others on that list, but he seemed convinced no one would.)

*

NOW, AS you know, The Times likes to run stupid pictures across the top of Page 2 most days. It’s called “1,000 Words’ Worth,” and usually shows elephants playing baseball or a donkey sitting at a typewriter, which brings me to Dwyre.

A limo is scheduled to pick up Dwyre today at Pebble Beach, and talk about a picture of a pampered sports editor that’s 1,000 Words’ Worth. I’d like to see Vern the Limo Driver holding the door open for Journalist Bill, and get one more opportunity to hear what Jim Healy might have said.

Vern the Limo Driver has instructions to take Journalist Bill to the Palace Gaming Center in Lemoore, Calif., wait while he joins the “talent” from the BDSSP, which will be broadcasting some boxing match, and then drive Journalist Bill to Los Angeles. Hope Vern isn’t counting on much of a tip.

“Andre Ward, the gold medal winner from Athens, is fighting, and Healy used to also call Dwyre, ‘Olympic Bill,’ ” boxing promoter Bill Caplan said. “The idea was to get Bill’s insight on the fight since he’s the foremost journalist with expertise on the Olympics.”

Dwyre, of course, has been to every Olympics, which raised an interesting question to the folks at Fox: Have you ever seen what this guy looks like on camera?

I called George Greenberg, the executive something or other for FSN, and he said, “I’ve never seen Dwyre, but John Clayton is on [ESPN]. How much worse can it get?”

I explained, and he said they would have plenty of makeup available.

Greenberg said the boxing show that BDSSP did in September drew the highest prime-time ratings of the 750 BDSSP shows they have done, and that Dwyre could be going into the homes of millions and millions of people.

Instead of fight night, that might make it fright night.

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DWYRE, WHO gets upset when one of his sportswriters appears on TV or radio -- and now we know why, taking away his own opportunity -- is going to receive the LASEC Ambassador’s Award following the organization’s annual golf and tennis tournament at Riviera on May 16.

There are still some corporate sponsor, foursome and individual golf openings for the tournament (213-236-2361), which was won by Joe Pesci’s team a year ago. As you can see, the tournament attracts only Goodfellas.

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EAGLE QUARTERBACK Donovan McNabb now denies it, but a teammate said McNabb was so sick late in the Super Bowl that teammate Freddie Mitchell had to call one play in the huddle. Mitchell, of course, had said before the Super Bowl that he was going to have something for Patriot defender Rodney Harrison. I wonder whether he called the play that resulted in one of Harrison’s two interceptions and McNabb’s now trying to take the heat off him.

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ESPN’S IVAN MAISEL writes, "[Norm] Chow is a singular talent, and [USC] Coach Pete Carroll decided, for reasons so far unknown, not to work to keep him.”

It has been reported that Chow was already one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football, earning closer to $400,000 than the $500,000 that has been widely accepted as fact, and he will now earn between $900,000 and $1 million in Tennessee. Hard to blame Carroll for Chow’s making the money grab.

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LARRY BROWN told radio host Jim Rome on Wednesday that the Detroit Pistons’ job is the last pro job he will ever have. He said, “I’ve said that before, but nobody wants to report it.” So much for the Lakers; they’re still a pro team, aren’t they?

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THE NEWSPAPER recently noted there have been 807 total NHL games missed this season. I believe that’s a mistake. I haven’t missed any.


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