Los Angeles has had the worst sports year of any city in the nation outside of Cleveland. We reflect on the year that was and give you what could be.
I knew Los Angeles was going to have a tough year but there is no way anyone could have predicted the mess L.A. is currently in. Nobody, not Nostradamus, Walter Mercado or Miss Cleo could have predicted the tsunami of horrific sports news that has hit this once proud city. It was only a few years ago USC was winning BCS Championships and UCLA was a yearly Final Four contender as the Lakers were stacking trophies. Not long ago the news surrounding the Dodgers had to do with baseball talk and who they were going to acquire at the trade deadline. Even the Angels, Ducks and Galaxy got in on the winning as each won a championship last decade. So how did Los Angeles get in this rut?
I know it’s fashionable to blame Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Frank McCourt and Donald Sterling for everything that has ever gone wrong in this city. If you were to do so you would probably be right a majority of the time. The mayor’s first priority is to see what he can get for free while chasing news camera‘s like a lawyer would chase an ambulance. But the mess the city of Los Angeles isn’t his fault, at least not yet. McCourt has been nothing but a cancer on the Dodgers and the city but he is only part of the larger mess all sports teams have themselves in. Sterling? He has always been cheap and prejudice so there is no breaking news on his front. Regardless of him the city has been successful. So what is the problem?
The last time the city was in a rut similar to this actually wasn’t that long ago? Do you remember the 90’s? I’ll give you a refresher; Gangsta Rap, Grunge Music, Recession, Riots, Crooked Cop’s and NO CHAMPIONSHIPS. The 90’s were horrible to Los Angeles as the whole city dealt with major turmoil beyond the sports world. The nation viewed L.A. as a dangerous city where you had to toe the racial line, but this was all due to a few bad cops and riot. Nevermind the fact riots happened before all over the nation, LA was tagged with the stigma of being a dangerous city. As the city was engulfed in O.J. Simpson and LAPD drama the local sports teams took a nose dive. Then the Dodgers were sold ending the most classiest era of sports ownership that was the O’Malley’s. The city didn’t fully recover till Kobe Bryant lobed a pass to Shaquille O’Neal for a slam dunk to close out the Portland Trail Blazers in 2000.
When Shaq slammed that ball home it released the negative energy that was stuck in our veins for the previous decade. The city celebrated as if we won the NBA Championship, but we didn’t as it was only the Western Conference Finals. It didn’t matter though because everyone knew in L.A. that we were back, and we were. The Lakers won 5 of the next Championships, USC went on a winning tirade, the Angels won the World Series, the Ducks won the Stanley Cup and the Dodgers made 2 NLCS appearances. L.A. was on top of the sports world…… then boom.
In 2011 the Lakers were swept in record breaking fashion and the Dodgers are the laughing stock of sports. The Angels appear to have lost their luster and the Ducks are on the downside. No one has heard from the Kings or Clippers in the last two decades. USC is under sanctions as UCLA is in a horrendous rut. This all combined with the fact the city still doesn’t have an NFL team. Seem un-fixable? True, it does appear the dark days are here to stay but it doesn’t have to be that way as there is a way out!
The way out is complicated but simple. Hard but easy. Slow but quick. The first thing that needs to happen is Farmers Field. The proposed downtown stadium has been kicked around in city hall for too long now. Farmers Field, just like anything else is a way for no name politicians to make a name for themselves by opposing the project. Which is absurd because AEG is fronting a majority of the money and the stadium will generate jobs and positive interest in the city that is well needed. As for Villaraigosa? This whole mess isn’t his fault but if he doesn’t get his fellow politicians to approve this deal his head will be on the chopping board come Election Day. Build the stadium and give this city a shot in the arm.
As for the Lakers? Push Jim Buss to the back of the room and trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard. Sounds logical doesn’t it? The only reason why it hasn’t been done is because Buss has an ego bigger than the Staples Center and he will not admit he was wrong about Bynum. If the Lakers acquire Howard they will win at least 2 more Championships placing them on top of the NBA World with Bryant as the 8 time champ king. Please for the sake of L.A. trade Bynum!
The Dodgers mess is a bit more complicated than the Lakers mess because Frank McCourt is not only egocentric but he is deranged and mentally unstable. Any person with half a mind would have sold the team for a profit and moved on by now. Not Frankie! He is fixed on keeping the Dodgers at all cost and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt. He doesn’t care the Dodgers are bankrupt and he doesn’t care the team is losing. All he cares is that he can still sit in the owner’s box with his receding hairline and $3,000.00 suits. And why shouldn’t he? 20,000 fans still show up every night to support this crook and tell him he is right. If there is no shows it will but a dent in his pocket that he will not be able to borrow his way out of. SO BOBBLEHEAD GROUPIES stay home please for the love of LA and the Dodgers. Once he is gone the Dodgers Nation can start the healing process and get back to baseball talk.
If Farmers Field is built, the Lakers acquire Howard and McCourt leaves the city, we will recover. L.A. will have a football team, USC will be done with sanctions and UCLA and the Angels will follow the positive vibes and become the dominate forces they once were. Above all everyone in the city needs to be positive and focused to see everything through. After all, you can’t accomplish great things being negative. But this is all in the crazy mind of an Angelino anyways. Just another sunny day, I love LA.
Tags: bankruptcy, bud selig, dodgers boycott, frank mccourt, kobe bryant, los angeles dodgers, los angeles lakers, major league baseball, mark cuban, mlb, nba, nfl, shaquille oneal, super bowl contdenders, world series