T.J. Simers (left) at a children's charity benefit in 2008 with L.A. legends John Wooden and Vin Scully (right). …
As a sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers fears little, if anything. He treats most of his subjects with a heavy dose of circumspection and sarcasm, and several of them with contempt. He can be brutal at times. A lot of people don't like him, actually. Jim McMahon once blew his nose on Simers' face. That T.J. Simers.
And yet, during a medical emergency recently, the training staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers set aside the big-time writer's image and focused on the human, helping Simers get from his hotel room to a Phoenix-area emergency room after he had suffered a mini-stroke.
In a column published Tuesday, Simers wrote that, one morning last week, he fell several times trying to get from bed to the bathroom in his hotel. After trying to get his bearings, Simers says he "rode the wall" back to bed and telephoned ... beat reporter Dylan Hernandez, to say that he wouldn't be coming to Camelback Ranch to cover the Dodgers. Word got to Dodgers media relations that Simers was ill and they told Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone, who instructed Simers on how to check for symptoms of a stoke. Go smile in a mirror, for example, and tell us what you see.
Falsone went above and beyond. She sent trainer Aaron Schumacher to get me to the emergency room.
Simers says it turns out he did not have a full-blown stroke but instead a Transient Ischemic Attack. In the case of a full stroke, Simers says, he would have had three hours to get the proper medication before "bigger problems" set in. That's why, Simers rationalizes, he was deliberate in asking for medical help. But the entire process got him thinking:
As I lay there contemplating life, I thought about the last question I might have asked as a journalist.
"Yes," said Scioscia.
I contemplated the last thing I might have said as a journalist: "I thought you were trying to win this season."
Like Capt. Ahab in "Mody-Dick," Simers was being a professional curmudgeon 'til the end:
…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
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Except, he's not dead. Thanks in part, perhaps, to the Dodgers trainers. Good for them. Right? Right.
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