Have the Tides Changed in the Southland's Sports Landscape?
The folks at KPCC allowed me to pollute their airwaves this morning traveling at 89.3 megahertz through the Los Angeles skies this morning. In the final segment of "Take Two" the suave A. Martinez and I discussed whether what the Angels and the Clippers are doing will make a dent in the Dodgers and Lakers hegemony.
Despite it being morning, the time of day I find particularly odious and distasteful, I got out what I wanted to say:
1. The Lakers suck, and the Clippers are great. However the Clippers will have to win a lot of championships and the Lakers will need to have a period of suckage unseen in their history for it to be a Clippers Town.
2. The Angels in signing Josh Hamilton are clearly trying to compete with the Dodgers. The Dodgers with all of their high priced acquisitions are merely trying to win a championship.
Basically the Dodgers and the Lakers have the history that will make it hard to overtake them in the hearts in the Southland.
Here are some points that I couldn't fit in to that six-minute segment.
1. It's still early in the NBA season. I did say that it was too soon for Clipper fans to celebrate their number-two seed. After all, being number two in December has all the relevancy of a Walkman (RIP). Ditto for the Lakers.
Back in the 2002-03 season, the Lakers started a ghastly 11-19. Shaquille O'Neal decided to get toe surgery right before training camp giving us this infamous quote: "I got hurt on company time, so I'll heal on company time." The Lakers won 50 games that season and was the five-seed in the Western Conference. (The Lakers would lose to the Spurs in the second round breaking their streak of three championships, but let's just keep this fact very quiet since it doesn't help this argument.)
With their 101-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats the Lakers are now 12-14, ahead of that 2002-03 pace. Pau Gasol made his triumphant return to the lineup with 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks after missing eight games with tendinitis.
This game was amazing in the fact that the Bobcats got out to an 18-point lead in the third quarter. The Lakers then went on a 28-4 to regain the lead early in the fourth quarter. The two teams went back and forth until the Bobcats had the game in their hands with the final shot of the game down by one point. They took several shots that flirted with the net but each rimmed out giving the Lakers the win.
So not all hope is lost for the Lakers right now. There was a period of time when they were playing really bad basketball which has been widely documented. With three straight wins, the Lakers have done what they desperately needed to do stopping the bleeding.
It will be interesting to see how the team adjusts to having Gasol and Steve Nash (who is due back on Saturday in Oakland) back and see if they can make up the ground to avoid the lottery.
2. What the fuck are the Angels doing? I really am confused by this team. When you close your eyes and picture their games in 2012, what comes to your mind?
The first thing that comes to my mind is their shitty pitching. After Jered Weaver, there was a whole lot of nothing going on with the Angels. There were many games I remember that the Angels had a commanding lead only to pitch it away into the ether.
The Angels let go of Jordan Walden, Zack Greinke and Ervin Santana and added Joe Blanton, Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson. I hardly think this solves all the problems with the pitching.
After the Dodgers made their moves with Greinke and Ryu Hyun-Jin, the Angels decided to break the bank for Josh Hamilton. Because just what the Angels needed was to bolster their outfield of Peter Bourjos, Vernon Wells, Mike Trout, a streaky player who can't be counted on playing a full season.
There is one good justfication for the acquisition: it further weakens the Texas Rangers. Beyond that, I'm hard pressed to see how this will make the Angels better.
But here is the kicker. LA Times Mike DiGiovanna reported that the Angels are going to kick out the press from the press box and set them up down the right field line. Angels VP of communications Tim Mead told DiGiovanna that the move was made so the Angels could find "revenue streams."
This is a team that just got a $3 billion television contract from Fox Sports West for 20 years which comes out to $150 million per year. The Angels need to find additional "revenue streams?" Hence the question, what the fuck are the Angels doing?
I know that owner Arte Moreno is a notorious cheapskate. In 2011 around 400 stadium employees authorized a strike when management attempted to freeze wages. Maybe that's why Angel Stadium was noted in 2007 as a dirty fucking cesspool. I've heard plenty of off-the-record anecdotes that detailed the level of Moreno's stinginess.
But are the Angels that hard up for cash to pull this move? I just don't get it.
3. The Kings and the Ducks actually have a rivalry. Martinez didn't mention these two teams in the segment. Both teams have been competitive and have each won a Stanley Cup in the last five years. They play in the same division and have developed good animosity between each other.
The problem is it's the NHL and no one gives a shit. And with the lockout dragging on and on, even less people are giving a shit about this sport.
It will take a lot for the Clippers and Angels to overtake the Lakers and Dodgers in the hearts of fans. But with these rivalries starting to emerge, it should be fun to watch for years to come.