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At Least the New Dodger Isn’t Completely Hopeless

I thought it would be nice if I came to the Bob Hope Classic and welcomed the newest Dodger, Derek Lowe, who was competing as a celebrity because he pitched the World Series clincher for the Red Sox.

(Once he becomes a full-fledged Dodger, I would imagine he will lose celebrity status here, as well as a lot of ballgames.)

The first thing Lowe tells me is that the Boston media are really tough, as tough as they can get for anyone, while delivering this challenge: “There’s nothing you can do to get a rise out of me.”

A few hours later, after Lowe completed his round with Corey Pavin, I chatted with Pavin, who said, “I hope he pitches better for the Dodgers than he played golf today.”

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I passed this on to Lowe, of course, who reacted as if he had just heard for the first time that Hee-Seop Choi would be playing first base for his new team. “No way,” he yelped. “No way he said that,” which then prompted his wife to say of Pavin, “He should talk!”

Welcome to Los Angeles; we do love a good challenge.

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I TOLD Lowe I’d do him a favor and not mention his wife’s ripping Pavin but then realized the Boston papers wouldn’t cut him a break, so I wanted him to feel at home.

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Lowe was wearing a North Carolina-blue shirt and Titleist baseball cap. His caddie wore a Red Sox cap. I was the one wearing the L.A. cap, which means I support both of our L.A. teams, the Angels and Dodgers.

Later I asked Lowe why he wasn’t wearing a Dodger cap. He said they didn’t give him one, and knowing the Boston Parking Lot Attendant’s financial state, I wasn’t surprised.

A radio reporter told Lowe he was in Fenway Park when Lowe tossed a no-hitter against Tampa Bay.

“Tampa Bay,” I said, “Wow, impressive.”

“No one else has done it,” his wife exclaimed.

“Don’t you read USA Today?” Lowe said. “Don’t you read the L.A. Times? Have you ever seen a Tampa box score where they’ve been no-hit another time?”

Come on, I have to work harder to get a rise out of Milton Bradley.

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THE TRUTH be told, Lowe rolled great with the Page 2 onslaught -- certainly much better than Kevin Brown fared on his first test, and that was after I wondered out loud how a pitcher such as Lowe, who allowed the opposition to hit .299 off him last season, could help the Choking Dogs this year.

“It wasn’t .300,” he said, and usually it takes almost a full season for a Dodger to develop a sense of humor. “I think it was .2994; I just checked.”

George Kaenel was the only spectator I spotted wearing a Dodger cap while spending nine hours at the PGA West Arnold Palmer Private Course. There were almost two dozen fans wearing Red Sox caps, and while I’m sure that would have warmed the heart of the Parking Lot Attendant to see everyone supporting his favorite team, it got a little tiresome to hear people telling Lowe, “The Red Sox nation is going to miss you.”

Lowe responded to them all, waving and making his way to the ropes to chat with them. He signed autographs, hugged three girls who held up a sign welcoming him to California, and faked that he was crying every time he hit a bad shot. Now that I think about it, he faked that he was crying a lot.

Lowe was also paired with Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) from the Scooby Doo movies obviously to better prepare him to play with Choi. (As you know, the Hope Classic attracts only the biggest names in Hollywood.)

On the second hole, after I found Lowe’s ball for him in the rough, he took a mighty swing and told the ball, “Hey, bally, wally-wally, go,” and that’s when I knew he’d fit right into the Dodger clubhouse.

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I MENTIONED Barry Bonds’ name after Lowe went for broke -- trying to hit a 370-yard drive to clear the water on No. 4. The ball got wet, which is what you might expect if you made the decision to go for broke and pitch to Bonds.

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“I’ve faced him three times,” Lowe said. “I walked him once. He hit a ball over the fence, but our outfielder went over the wall to bring it back. I also faced him in the All-Star game, and Torii Hunter went over the wall to bring it back. So he’s hit two home runs off me, but both have been caught.”

Upon reflection, he said, “Why wouldn’t you walk the guy?” and what more do you need to know about facing National League hitters?

Now if you watched Lowe hit a golf ball, you’d come away impressed, thinking the Dodgers just signed a power hitter. A six-handicapper, he drove the ball over the eighth green, a 360-yard poke, and according to witnesses hit some of the biggest bombs in the tournament. At times he almost looked like a golfer.

But then Mr. Chilly Dip also has one of the worst short games you will ever see, bringing every man, woman and child in the gallery into play. “What are you talking about?” he said, while taking off his cap and putting it on backward like an exasperated Ryan Leaf.

I guess the Boston newspapers never got around to making fun of his finesse-deprived golf game. Here in L.A., we don’t miss a thing.

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COMEDIAN AND celebrity competitor George Lopez was asked by the Desert News: “On your Showtime special, ‘Why You Crying?’ you had a funny bit about your aunts eating ribs. Who would you pay money to watch eat ribs?”

Lopez’s reply: “Salma Hayek.”

I might have to invite him out with me some time, as long as it’s OK with Salma, and allow him to fulfill his fantasy, since he’d also be picking up the check.

“The end of the world,” Lopez said. “I have to go through you to meet Salma.”

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TIMES REPORTER Larry Stewart wrote about new Dodger broadcaster Steve Lyons’ previous Fox suspension for joking about Shawn Green’s decision to take a day off for Yom Kippur.

Stewart quoted Lon Rosen, the mascot guy and Dodger executive who hired Lyons, as saying, “The Shawn Green comment was an unfortunate mistake. We addressed that issue and everything else before Steve was hired.”

Yeah, they traded Green so Lyons wouldn’t make the mistake again.

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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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