In L.A., it comes down to fiscal consciousness

We are so lucky in these difficult economic times to have sports teams in Los Angeles that aren’t very good, and certainly not good enough to win championships.

I just returned from Dodger Stadium, and I’m happy to report that even though they have a manager who has won the World Series, the Dodgers are just as crummy as ever.

I wasn’t paying that much attention after the Dodgers lost in extra innings to the Indians, but I believe the Hollywood Stars, a who’s who celebrity group of nobodies, were also beating the Dodgers as part of a Saturday doubleheader.

That Camryn Manheim sure can hit, especially when Scott Proctor is pitching.

NOW AS you know, the Celtics are better than any team we have here, and they threw a parade for their heroes in Boston the other day and according to the Boston Herald, officials figure it will cost taxpayers more than $300,000.


They know this because they are always having parades in Boston for their championship teams -- six, in fact, in the last eight years.

The taxpayers were hit with a $366,000 bill when the Red Sox were given a parade, and that doesn’t count the estimated $2 million spent on police overtime and security.

The Patriots have also been treated to a parade, and several of them, and so you can see we’re so much better off without an NFL team, although I guess that means we could’ve still held on to the Raiders.

We do have the Sparks, and they won a title a few years back, but I happened to drive by City Hall the day they were honored, and it appeared only the homeless turned out. They did seem appreciative though.

As for the Kings, they are so good for the community, laughter the best medicine in these tough times.

WE KNOW now the Dodgers should have asked for a break in the playoff schedule and had a parade after Jose Lima won their only postseason game the last two decades.

Now you would think things would be looking up these days with Joe Torre as manager, the Parking Lot Attendant as owner and Ned Colletti in charge of hiring the talent. Hard to believe any other team in baseball could put three baseball minds like this together.

But for some odd reason, the Dodgers are six games below .500; a year ago at this time with the same owner and GM, but Grady Little as manager, the Dodgers were 10 games above .500.

Tell me it ain’t so, Joe.

“In this division we can win five games in a row and rearrange the furniture,” Torre said, and I don’t know why it is, but the Titanic comes to mind.

Every time Torre writes in the name of Angel Berroa at shortstop, I wonder how often he thinks about Derek Jeter. You want to be known as a really great manager, win with Berroa at short.

Now as horrible as the teams are in the West, the Dodgers still can win it. Brad Penny might come back throwing pitches no one can hit, and Andruw Jones could hit a lot of home runs or just eat all the other teams in the West.

The Dodgers could still win the division, all right, but given their 1-7 record against American League teams this season, I worry it might be an indication they aren’t up to winning the World Series.

That’s good news, though, none of us right now in position to take time off from work and sit in a parade traffic jam burning gas.

So when you think about it, we’re very lucky to have the losing teams that we have here.

LET ME just say I have nothing against pygmies -- just youngsters who go out of their way to grow no bigger than pygmies.

I’m speaking of gymnasts, and those disgusting pictures in the newspaper from the U.S. Olympic trials of the little darlings, who in many ways are victims of child abuse.

Nothing speaks to misguided and dreadful parenting like a U.S. Olympic-hopeful gymnast.

I would have no problem pressing charges against any parent who does not allow their kid to be a kid, the world a far better place without so many gymnasts and figure skaters.

I understand the opposition, of course, because what would the Olympics be without child labor hard at work carrying the night for NBC?

What’s the difference between 4- and 5-year-olds performing in beauty pageants and 16-year-old pixies performing for everyone’s delight. Both are freak shows, but then we do love freak shows.

Makes you proud to be an American, too, a little cutie landing on two feet, all the training, family sacrifices and missed meals worth it if landing a Wheaties box.

The top American gymnast is 16, and we’re told she has been the country’s best performer the last two years, and just imagine your own 14-year-old being the very best at anything in this country -- other than sleeping in.

Holy Karolyi, we’re losing it. Whatever the sport, now it’s all about camps, traveling teams and kids being told they must dedicate themselves to only one sport, and year round, or get passed by those who do so.

Now the first thing a parent of a gymnast will tell you, of course, is that their little darling is the one who really wanted this -- maybe leaving school to move closer to a gymnastics guru, maybe contending with menstrual-cycle irregularities, maybe doing whatever it takes to make their parents happy.

Kids are kids, though, because they’re not supposed to be making big decisions yet -- parents charged instead with the job of doing what’s best for their kids.

What possesses a 10- or 12-year-old to set her sights on winning Olympic gold someday rather than go shopping?

The powers-that-be in this sport changed the age minimum from 15 to 16 after the 1996 Olympics because they could not rely on parents doing what is best for their little darlings.

But why stop there? Tennis, swimming, Michelle Wie, whatever the sport, what’s wrong with waiting a few more years, kids being kids, and while maybe a billion people in China might care, the Olympics could disappear for all I care.


T.J. Simers can be reached at To read previous columns by Simers, go to