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He’s Right, Making Him the Right Man for the Job

The Dodgers elected not to take my advice, went ahead Tuesday night and started the big stiff, otherwise known as Mark The Big Stiff Hendrickson to family and friends, and forfeited, 9-0, to Milwaukee.

The Angels never did listen, choosing to begin the season and then play on through every trade deadline without adding another big bat to the lineup.

“You’re always right,” said Angels’ GM Bill Stoneman before Tuesday night’s game, and while I see no reason to disagree, if Page 2 is always right -- then how come our heroes are so reluctant to pay attention?

The Dodgers are now one game ahead of San Diego, and with 23 games left, the Angels are a miracle and half behind the A’s.

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“Don’t bury us yet,” said Angels’ owner Arte Moreno, and I might’ve taken his words to heart had I not read the morning newspaper and realized how prone he is at this time of year to saying silly things.

“Am I satisfied with the job [Stoneman] has done? Yes, very much,” Moreno had told Times reporter Bill Shaikin a day earlier.

“Are you nuts?” I asked when I met with Moreno on Tuesday night. “The guy had one job beginning with the end of last season, and that was to find more offensive punch, and he failed. And you’re very much satisfied with his job?”

“OK, you be the GM for a day,” Moreno said, and wait until I tell Mike Scioscia I’ll be his boss.

“Which bat do we get?” Moreno asked. “Who are we going to trade and what are we going to get?”

“If Ned Colletti, a former newspaper hockey writer, can engineer trade after trade, it can’t be that difficult of a task,” I said, and speaking of free agents, how good would Nomar Garciaparra have looked in an Angels uniform at first base right now?

“People want instant satisfaction,” Moreno said, and I agreed that that’s all I want, while he went on to talk about the team’s long-range plans -- as if any of us who pay attention to baseball to be entertained could care what happens a year or two from now. That’s why there is free agency.

If Moreno insists that Stoneman did a good job, in effect he’s saying he did a good job since Stoneman takes his marching orders from Moreno.

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Together, though, they haven’t gotten it done, although they will tell you how close they came to landing that big deal, which always seemed to just get away. The A’s magic number to clinch now is 19, and every inning for the Angels, who play in a league that includes a DH in the lineup, remains a scoring struggle.

“We could have taken a step backward in regards to pitching for the step forward hitting-wise,” Stoneman said, and I would’ve been all for that -- especially with the unexpected emergence of Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver.

Pitching or hitting? Would the Angels be better off today with Ervin Santana pitching once every five days and supported by his anemic offense, or without him and someone with authority hitting behind Vladimir Guerrero every day?

I’ll have an answer for you once I firm it up with Moreno, and find out what day I will be taking command as GM.

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THE TEARFUL Andre Agassi saga, bravely fighting through pain before finally coming to the end of his tennis career, is one more reason why so many people are out of whack when it comes to sports.

Thanks for the memories, I’ll remember to tune into ESPN Sports Classic, now let’s get on with it.

The world is full of folks who work hard all their lives -- in some cases 40 and 50 years -- without much fanfare or the promise of a huge payday, only to retire or get bought out. They don’t get many newspaper stories written about their gritty effort.

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SALMA HAYEK celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday, which was also my birthday, and while I turned 39, I’ve already had some experience dealing with an older woman, so I don’t see it as any kind of turnoff.

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GO AHEAD and make your case what a great game it is, how exciting and interesting the WNBA has become as it completes its 10th year in business.

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The Sacramento Bee this week reported the WNBA’s 14 teams, playing 34-game schedules, averaged 7,476 fans a game.

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BY NOW you’ve probably heard about the Chargers linebacker who got shot by an off-duty police officer in front of the football player’s house Sunday morning a little after 3.

There wasn’t much information available on the incident, and there were even conflicting reports on how many times linebacker Steve Foley had been shot, but the Chargers wasted no time in concluding that Foley would have to forfeit his $775,000 salary for the season because his injuries were non-football related.

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As for Los Angeles area football fans, we’re probably three years away from having NFL players move into our neighborhoods, so there’s no rush to start buying bulletproof windows in our homes.

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THE DODGER website is asking the question, “Who will start more games in September?” while submitting for consideration the likes of Elmer Dessens, Mark Hendrickson, Hong-Chih Kuo, Aaron Sele and “other.”

“Other” would seem to be the most attractive option, but the top vote-getter so far has been Kuo, who has never made a major league start.

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TODAY’S LAST word comes in an e-mail from U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield’s office:

“Four members of Congress on Tuesday called on their colleagues to pass (a bill) to prohibit the commercial slaughter of horses.”

Does that mean there will be no more horse racing at Del Mar?

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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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