Goin’, Goin’, Back, Back, to Cali, Cali: Assessing the Sporting Landscape of Los Angeles
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for asking. Minor highlights include: using my new Weber grill for the first time, barbequing some stank ass pre-marinated steak from Trader Joe’s (as I do), running/biking for the first time in 6 weeks, then negating every positive effect this would have on my body composition by oinking out on fried foods and getting hammered drunk, because I’m a grown ass man.
The big highlight, though, was that I got to go home for the first time in a couple of weeks, and graced the greater Los Angeles area with my presence. If you’ve perused the About Me section of this blog, you know I’m married, and thus anytime I can return to my lovely wifey, that’s a good thing. Working 1,000 miles away from my better half is no picnic, amigos, and when I’m away it leads to a bunch of down time & the need to distract myself. Hence the blog.
As for the city of LA, when I was paying enough attention one thing was very clear: the sporting landscape is in a tizzy. Let’s assess, shall we?
Thought #1: The city suddenly recognizes hockey as a sport, and everyone is now a Kings fan.
For quite some time now I have remained steadfast in one opinion of the Los Angeles sports scene: Kings games are above and beyond the best events to attend live. Strangely enough, them making the Stanley Cup Finals could potentially throw a wrench into my opinion. Contrary to popular opinion, every Los Angeles club has a diehard following. It’s just that the Lakers (and now the Clippers) have been ahead of the curve in pricing out the diehards, and catering to indifferent yuppies that cheer cautiously, lest they wish to turn into a GIF for actually showing emotion.
With the success of the Kings, I fear that the club may head in that direction starting next season. Whether they win or lose the Cup, let’s hope the bandwagoners jump ship quickly. It’s also important to note that the diehards don’t particularly care for the reputation that the yuppies have bestowed upon them, and any opinionated out-of-Staters (like me) are subject to ridicule for poking fun. After living in the area for so long, I’m due for a confrontation with the diehards, in which they sit me down and speak their collective minds. I know how it’ll go. I’ve accepted it.
Thought #2: The Lakers being ousted from the playoffs is all Pau Gasol’s fault.
Hey everyone! It’s Los Angeles’ fave scapegoat! I’m not gonna defend Pau’s play or anything, but every year the Lakers don’t win the championship, the same thing happens: everyone blames all players not named Kobe, and start yapping about franchise altering trades that have to be done. Last year on a post game studio broadcast Lisa Leslie and Michael Cooper discussed the need for acquiring Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. In their scenarios they gave up “one of their stars” (Pau Gasol), dumped salary (Ron Artest), and added a throw-in (Steve Blake). (IMPORTANT NOTE: they believed this would net them both CP3 and D12). So they would end up with a top 4 of CP3, Kobe, Howard and Bynum. They really mean this when they say it. They don’t pay attention to nit-picky things like “trade value” or “salary cap implications”. Get ready for more trade “rumors” to be leaked from LA. They’ll somehow have themselves trading for Dwight Howard and signing Deron Williams, while only giving up Gasol and a handful of backups. Guaranteed.
Thought #3: Vinny Del Negro had his option picked up for next season, which means the sky is falling.
In fairness, the sky should be falling. We’re talking about the Clippers, bozos. They had a good season this past year, which means they’re due for several seasons of disappointments. That’s just how the universe works. All I have to say about Vinny is that I don’t care. Maybe he’s a lousy coach, maybe he’s not the right man for the job, but none of that matters. I’ve spent the past several months wondering who he looks like. Sometimes I think Luke Wilson. Other times I think Daniel Baldwin. I could never pinpoint it. It was infuriating. Twenty years ago, we’d never have a definitive answer. But now, I can just take to the internet and see what a Luke Wilson/Daniel Baldwin baby would look like. Thank goodness for the internet.
Final thoughts: On tap for the week – more playoff games and even more importantly, the NBA Draft Lottery. I’ve gone over this in my head several times, and with the Blazers poised to get two potential lottery picks, I can’t think of a scenario in which I’m NOT screaming and/or crying. But will it be out of dismay or exhilaration? Time will tell amigos. Time will tell.