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March 1, 2005

Heart of the Order

The Los Angeles Times big four. Baseball writers Tim Brown, Mike DiGiovanna, Steve Henson and Bill Shaikin.

About as good a team as the Times has had in years, covering the only sport that really matters.

It wasn’t always that way. Bill Plaschke is an anchor now, but years ago he couldn’t write a game story to save his life.

Jason Reid involved himself in a story one time too many, and from what I understand, he’d already been assigned to college basketball before the Milton Bradley mess last fall.

But whatever part of the section Reid’s in, he’s sure to insert some form of the verb “stir” in every piece he submits.

“Stir,” “stirred” or “stirring.” Every game story, every team report, each and every article, always. I’m anal; I keep track of these things.

Ross Newhan is a Hall of Famer for sure, but Tim Brown adds a fresh approach to the section. He covers the serious issues without the gloom and doom of his predecessor, and he’s a great writer. Read his Sunday columns and see for yourself.

Admittedly, I don’t spend much time with the Angels, but when I do I enjoy reading Mike DiGiovanna.

We probably talk about Bill Shaikin more than we should, and he’s blushing from the attention, but he’s a fine reporter and writer. My personal favorite. Too bad he’s been relegated to the Anaheim legal beat.

But since we have Steve Henson in L.A. county, we’re set here. Henson gets the right stories and the stories right, has the appropriate perspective, and again, a great writer. Just a beautiful piece on Dodgers minor league pitcher, Ryan Ketchner, who is deaf (“He’s Making Some Noise, February 27, 2005).

The Times sports team produces baseball books too, and Paul Gutierrez’ just published volume, “Tommy Davis’ Tales from the Dodger Dugout,” is worth owning. Get it at www.sportspublishingllc.com.

Virgil Hilts




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