While the Dodgers have a busy off-season ahead of them, another Los Angeles institution also sits in turmoil: the Los Angeles Times. The recent ousting of the LA Times publisher and subsequent firing of the editor, complicated by the Tribune Company’s failed attempts to sell the company and/or asset pieces, threaten the stability of the best source of information about our favorite team. What’s worse, the cost-cutting efforts to the LA Times staff have already manifested itself in tabloid-like layout changes, particularly on the front page, and interior pages filled by recycled Chicago Tribune feature stories and Associated Press wire reports. It’s a severe pendulum swing away from the old LA Times, which had a penchant of running news articles that jumped to seven different interior pages—and perilously closer to a rag like the New York Post.
The changes haven’t been too abrupt yet in the LA Times sports section, one of the highlights of the entire paper (those of you that know the San Francisco Comical know how much a quality sport section matters to a newspaper). I was secretly hoping that the job cutbacks would help Bill Plaschke or TJ Simers consider an early retirement. But now I fear that the beat writing on the Dodgers, which was excellent last season, might suffer next year. Those of you who live in LA should keep a watchful eye on the sports section over the next two to three months. Banner ads across the bottom of the page (like we had today), shrinking the available room for copy, worry the hell out of me.
It would be sad if the Trib writers started picking up all the Dodgers' beat writing responsibilities east of Chicago. But given the chaos at the Tribune Company, I wouldn't put it past them.