He leaves the diplomacy to China-bound Dodgers

When this year is over, I can see the Dodgers being honored, maybe even one of those presidential Medal of Freedom awards for the Parking Lot Attendant and Frank’s Old Lady.

The Olympics are in China later this summer, and it’s really important that people who ride on horses in suits as well as our best badminton and handball athletes win gold.

In China, it’s probably even more important than that, a mega chance to show everyone across the world on its own turf just how dominant it can be.

So you have to give the Dodgers tremendous credit, putting a manager of Joe Torre’s stature in charge of a group of stiffs who will play there later this week, everyone in China thinking this is the best America has to offer in baseball if Joe’s in charge.


What a diabolical scheme to promote overconfidence in Chinese athletes.

The following pitchers are going to China for the Dodgers: Eric Hull, Mike Koplove, Hong-Chih Kuo, Greg Miller, Justin Orenduff, Chan Ho Park, Matt Riley, Brian Shackelford, Eric Stults, Ramon Troncoso and Tanyon Sturtze. When they get done throwing, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chinese athletes just stop training for the Games.

Personally, I believe the same thing could’ve been accomplished by sending the Dodgers’ regulars.

You put Juan Pierre in left field and have him throw the ball to home, and you’ll have a billion people in China suddenly caring about the poor little guy who plays for the Dodgers, while thinking, this is the best they can do over there?


By the time our really good athletes get over there in August for the Olympics, we’ll take them by surprise, and mop up.

I’M OFF to Vero Beach with the intention of telling the boys about Carl Edwards, the Ducks and horse trainer Doug O’Neill.

The Ducks promised if they won the Stanley Cup, they would take it to Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. They won the Stanley Cup, and a few days later the Cup was lying in the bed beside a beaming kid.

O’Neill delivered a bag of horseshoes last year, and while the nurses had to spend hours scrubbing off the dirt and whatever before the kids could have them, O’Neill became the most successful trainer in Southern California in 2007 -- his horses winning more than $10 million, and without shoes.

No one around here ever heard of Edwards, but he said if he won NASCAR’s Auto Club 500 in Fontana, he’d send the trophy to the kids. He won, kept his promise, and won again the following week.

Now I figure the first team -- be it the Dodgers or the Angels -- to promise to show up as a team on the pediatric cancer ward with the World Series trophy come October, has a very good chance of doing so. Can’t see it happening otherwise.

TRIED TO get to the bottom of who came up with the nickname Machine for the Lakers’ Sasha Vujacic.

Checked with Lakers TV guy, Joel Meyers, who did a lot of hemming and hawing, well, more than usual. He said both he and his partner Stu Lantz came up with it together. Never took them for Siamese twins before.


Apparently, neither did Lantz. “I came up with it,” Lantz said. “And then Joel ran with it. I used it once, and never again.”

As for Vujacic, he said Machine is just fine with him, but then Ronny Turiaf interrupted to say Vujacic is also known as Alexander.

“That’s my first name,” Vujacic said, but he isn’t happy with it.

But I like it, Alexander the So-So, and before this season began, it certainly fit.

“So what do you think of the Machine?” I asked, and Phil Jackson said something about a “washing machine” and he had no idea who I was talking about until The Times’ Mark Heisler set him straight. But then that’s just what Heisler does for a living.

“Sasha has a ways to go before I start calling him a machine,” Jackson said. “but this certainly has been a breakout season for him.”

IN THE “how cool is that” department, we have a new entry from Phil, an e-mailer, reacting to Willie Forge’s efforts to help young golfers and honor the memory of his son, who died a few years ago.

“I have been teaching myself golf club repair for the last 5-6 years,” wrote Phil. “I now have 25-30 clubs that I have built that are perfectly useful but are stacked in a corner of my garage. If you thought Willie Forge could use them in his program for kids in Compton, let me know and I’ll ship them.”


I checked, and they are on their way.

THE DAUGHTER’S favorite coach is USC’s Tim Floyd, so you can imagine how many arguments we have.

USC started the season 0-3 in the Pac-10, and I didn’t hear a word out of the kid, and let me tell you how peaceful that can be.

But then USC started winning, and the way a wise-cracking Floyd tells it, the season turned on that loss to Fresno Pacific when he played only his reserves.

He says that, of course, because Page 2 made fun of him playing only his reserves in that game. And whether it’s true that it affected the Trojans’ season, he’s no different than the daughter, who always gets the last word.

I asked Floyd if he knew who the Trojans were going to play in the second round of the Pac-10 tournament, and he said, “No.” I told him I didn’t believe him, but he said he had no idea.

I mentioned UCLA, and he said he had heard of the Bruins, and then included them with Stanford and Washington State as the three teams in the conference with a real shot to do well in the NCAA tournament.

What about USC?

“Not yet,” he said, and I can’t wait to tell the daughter.

He had some more things to say, on occasion bordering on the optimistic, but UCLA should take care of the Trojans in the Pac-10 tournament.

And then seeded anywhere from fourth to seventh in the NCAA tournament, the Trojans should find the competition a little tougher than Fresno Pacific.

Around here -- Page 2 always gets the last word.


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